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VOL. I. 
1848-1861. - 








Copyright, 1881, by 


Copyright, 1886, by SUSAN B. ANTHONY. 




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Politidkl %i$(t$ iof Won\ei|, 

in tl^e Pfepkfktioi) of t^e^e 





IN preparing this work, our object has been to put into perma- 
nent shape the few scattered reports of the Woman Suffrage Move- 
ment still to be found, and to make it an arsenal of facts for those 
who are beginning to inquire into the demands and arguments of 
the leaders of this reform. Although the continued discussion of 
the political rights of woman during the last thirty years, forms a 
most important link in the chain of influences tending to her eman- 
cipation, no attempt at its history has been made. In giving the 
inception and progress of this agitation, we who have undertaken 
the task have been moved by the consideration that many of our 
co-workers have already fallen asleep, and that in a few years all 
who could tell the story will have passed away. 

In collecting material for these volumes, most of those of whom 
we solicited facts have expressed themselves deeply interested in 
our undertaking, and have gladly contributed all they could, feeling 
that those identified with this reform were better qualified to pre- 
pare a faithful history with greater patience and pleasure, than those 
of another generation possibly could. 

A few have replied, "It is too early to write the history of this 
movement ; wait until our object is attained ; the actors themselves 
can not write an impartial history ; they have had their discords, 
divisions, personal hostilities, that unfit them for the work." View- 
ing the enfranchisement of woman as the most important demand 
of the century, we have felt no temptation to linger over individual 
differences. These occur in all associations, and may be regarded 
in this case as an evidence of the growing self-assertion and indi- 
vidualism in woman. 

Woven with the threads of this history, we have given some per- 


8 Preface. 

sonal reminiscences and brief biographical sketches. To the few 
who, through ill-timed humility, have refused to contribute any of 
their early experiences we would suggest, that as each brick in a 
magnificent structure might have had no special value alone on the 
road- side, yet, in combination with many others, its size, position, 
quality, becomes of vital consequence ; so with the actors in any 
great reform, though they may be of little value in themselves ; as a 
part of a great movement they may be worthy of mention even 
important to the completion of an historical record. 

To be historians of a reform in which we have been among the 
chief actors, has its points of embarrassment as well as advantage. 
Those who tight the battle can best give what all readers like to 
know the impelling motives to action ; the struggle in the face 
of opposition ; the vexation under ridicule ; and the despair in 
success too long deferred. Moreover, there is an interest in history 
written from a subjective point of view, that may compensate the 
reader in this case for any seeming egotism or partiality he may 
discover. As an autobiography is more interesting than a sketch 
by another, so is a history written by its actors, as in both cases we 
get nearer the soul of the subject. 

We have finished our task, and we hope the contribution we 
have made may enable some other hand in the future to write a 
more complete history of " the most momentous reform that has yet 
been launched on the world the first organized protest against the 
injustice which has brooded over the character and destiny of one- 
half the human race." 


VOL. I. 

FRANCES WRIGHT Frontispiece. 



















Individualism rather than Authority Personal appearance of Abolitionists At- 
tempt to silence Woman Double battle against the tyranny of sex and color 
Bigoted Abolitionists James G. Birney likes freedom on a Southern plantation, 
but not at his own fireside John Bull never dreamt that Woman would answer 
his call The venerable Thomas Clarkson received by the Convention standing 
Lengthy debate on "Female " delegates The " Females " rejected William 
Lloyd Garrison refusing to sit in the Convention 50 



The First Woman's Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, July 19-20, 1848 Propert; 
Rights of Women secured Judge Fine, George Geddes, and Mr. Hadley pushing 
the Bill through Danger of meddling with well-settled conditions of domestic 
happiness Mrs. Barbara Hertell's will Richard Hunt's tea-table The eventful 
day James Mott President Declaration of sentiments Convention in Roches- 
terOpposition with Bible arguments 63 



The first Suffrage Society Methodist class-leader whips his wife Theology en- 
chains the soul The status of women and slaves the same The first medical 
college opened to women Petitions to the Legislature laughed at, and laid on 
the table Dependence woman's best protection; her weakness her sweetest charm 
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell's letter Sketch of Ernestine L. Rose .... 88 


10 Contents. 



The promised land of fugitives" Uncle Tom's Cabin "Salem Convention, 1850 
Akron, 18-51 Massilon, 1853 The address to the women of Ohio The Moham- 
medan law forbidding pigs, dogs, women, and other impure animals to enter a 
Mosque The Few York Tribune Cleveland Convention, 1853 Hon. Joshua R. 
Giddings Letter from Horace Greeley A glowing eulogy to Mary Wollstone- 
craft William Henry Channing's Declaration The pulpit and public sen- 
timentPresident Asa Mahau debates The Rev. Dr. Nevin pulls Mr. Garri- 
son's nose Antoinette L. Brown describes her exit from the World's Temper- 
ance Convention Cincinnati Convention, 1855 Jane Elizabeth Jones' Report, 
1861 101 



VERMONT: Editor Windham County Democrat Property Laws, 1847 and 1849 
Address to the Legislature on school suffrage, 1852. 

WISCONSIN : Woman's State Temperance Society Lydia F. Fowler in company- 
Opposition of Clergy " Woman's Rights " wouldn't do Advertised " Men's 

KANSAS : Free State Emigration, 1854 Gov. Robinson and Senator Pomeroy 
Woman's Rights speeches on Steamboat, and at Lawrence Constitutional Con- 
vention, 1859 State Woman Suffrage Association John O. Wattles, President 
Aid from the Francis Jackson Fund Canvassing the State School Suffrage 

MISSOURI : Lecturing at St. Joseph, 1858, on Col. Scott's invitation Westport and 
the John "Brown raid, 1859 St. Louis, 1854 Frances D. Gage, Rev. Wm. G. 
Eliot, and Rev. Mr. Weaver .171 



Women in th Revolution Anti-Tea Leagues Phillis Wheatley Mistress Anne 
Uutchinson Heroines in the Slavery Conflict Women Voting under the Colo- 
nial Charter Mary Upton Ferrin Petitions the Legislature in 1848 Woman's 
Rights Convention in 1850, '51 Letter of Harriet Martineau from England Let- 
ter of Jeannie Deroine from a Prison Cell in Paris Editorial from The Christian 
Enquirer The Una, edited by Paulina Wright Davis Constitutional Convention 
in 1858- Before the Legislature in 1857 Harriot K. Hunt's Protest against Taxa- 
tionLucy Stone's Protest against the Marriage Laws Boston Conventions- 
Theodore Parker on Woman's Position . 801 



Indiana Missionary Station Gen. Arthur 8k Clair Indian surprises The terrible 

WAT-whoop One hundred women join the army, and are killed fighting bravely 

I'nirie schooners Manufactures in the hands of women Admitted to the 

i in 181ft Robert Dale Owen Woman Suffrage Conventions Wisconsin 

C. L. 8hole' report .290 

Contents. 11 



William Penn Independence Hall British troops Heroism of women Lydia Dar- 
ran Who designed the Flag Anti-slavery movements in Philadelphia Pennsyl- 
vania Hall destroyed by a mob David Paul Brown Fugitives Millard Fillmore 
John Brown Angelina Grimke' Abby Kelly Mary Grew Temperance in 1848 
Hannah Darlington and Ann Preston before the Legislature Medical College 
for Women in 1850 Westchester Woman's Rights Convention, 1852 Philadel- 
phia Convention, 1854 Lucretia Mott answers Richard H. Dana Jane Grey 
Swisshelm Sarah Josepha Hale Anna McDowell Rachel Foster searching 
the records Sketch of Angelina Grimke' 320 



Eulogy at the Memorial Services held at Washington by the National Woman Suf- 
frage Association, January 19, 1881. By Elizabeth Cady Stanton .... 407 



Tory feeling in New Jersey Hannah Arnett rebuked the traitor spirit Mrs. Dissos- 
way rejects all proposals to disloyalty Triumphal arch erected by the ladies of 
Trenton in honor of Washington His letter to the ladies The origin of Woman 
Suffrage in New Jersey A paper read by William A. Whitehead before the His- 
torical Society Defects in the Constitution of New Jersey A singular pamphlet 
called "Eumenes" Opinion of Hon. Charles James Fox Mr. Whitehead 
reviewed . 441 



Mrs. Stanton's and Miss Anthony's first meeting An objective view of these ladies 
from a friend's standpoint A glimpse at their private life The pronuncia- 
mentos they issued from the fireside Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Seward, Mrs. Worden, 
Mrs. Mott, in council How Mrs. Worden voted Ladies at Newport dancing 
with low necks and short sleeves, and objecting to the publicity of the plat- 
form Senator Seward discussing Woman's Rights at a dinner-party Mrs. Sew- 
ard declares herself a friend to the reform A magnetic circle in Central New 
York Matilda Joslyn Gage : her early education and ancestors A series of 
Anti-Slavery Conventions from Buffalo to Albany Mobbed at every point 
Mayor Thatcher maintains order in the Convention at the Capital Great excite- 
ment over a fugitive wife from the insane asylum The Bloomer costume Ger- 
rit Smith's home . . 456 



First Steps in New York Woman's Temperance Convention, Albany, January, 
1853 New York Woman's State Temperance Society, Rochester, April, 1852 
Women before the Legislature pleading for a Maine Law Women rejected 
as Delegates to Men's State Conventions at Albany and Syracuse, 1852 ; at the 

12 Content*. 

Brick Church Meeting and World's Temperance Convention in New York, 1853 
Horace Greeley defends the Rights of Women in The New York Tribune The 
Teachers' State Conventions The Syracuse National Woman's Rights Conven- 
tion, 1853 Mob in the Broadway Tabernacle Woman's Rights Convention 
through two days, 1853 State Woman's Rights Convention at Rochester, De- 
cember, 1853 Albany Convention, February, 1854, and Hearing before the Leg- 
islature demanding the Right of Suffrage A State Committee appointed Susan 
B. Anthony General Agent Conventions at Saratoga Springs, 1854, '55, '59 
Annual State Conventions with Legislative Hearings and Reports of Commit- 
tee*, until the War Married Women's Property Law, 1860 Bill before the Legis- 
lature Granting Divorce for Drunkenness Horace Greeley and Thurlow Weed 
oppose itr Ernestine L. Rose, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Ad- 
dress the Legislature in favor of the Bill Robert Dale Owen defends the Meas- 
ure in The New York Tribune National Woman's Rights Conventions in New 
York City, 1856, '58, '59, '60 Status of the Woman's Rights Movement at the 
Opening of the War, 1861 . . 47S 



Woman under old religions Woman took part in offices of early Christian Church 
Councils Original sin Celibacy of the clergy Their degrading sensuality 
Feudalism Marriage Debasing externals and daring ideas Witchcraft Three 
striking points for consideration Burning of Witches Witchcraft in New En- 
glandMarriage with devils Rights of property not recognized in woman Wife, 
ownership Women legislated for as slaves Marriage under the Greek Church 
The Salic and Cromwellian eras -The Reformation Woman under monastic rules 
in the home The Mormon doctrine regarding woman ; its logical result Milton 
responsible for many existing views in regard to woman Woman's subordination 
taught to-day The See trial Right Rev. Coxe-Bev. Knox-Little Pan-Presbyte- 
rians Quakers not as liberal as they have been considered Restrictive action of 
the Methodist Church Offensive debate upon ordaining Miss Oliver The Epis- 
copal Church and its restrictions Sunday-school teachings Week-day school 
teachings Sermon upon woman's subordination by the President of a Baptist 
Theological Seminary Professor Christlieb of Germany " Dear, will you bring 
me my shawl?" Female sex looked upon as a degradation A sacrilegious 
child Secretary Evarts, in the Beecher-Tilton trial, upon woman's subordination 
Women degraded In science and education Large-hearted men upon woman's 
: adation Wives still sold in the market-place as " mares," by a halter around 
their necks Degrading servile labor performed by woman in Christian countries 
A lower degradation " Queen's women " " Government women " Interpola- 
tions in the Bible Letter from Howard Crosby, D.D., LL.D 753 

APPENDIX, . 801 


THE prolonged slavery of woman is the darkest page in human 
history. A survey of the condition of the race through those bar- 
barous periods, when physical force governed the world, when the 
motto, " might makes right," was the law, enables one to account 
for the origin of woman's subjection to man without referring the 
fact to the general inferiority of the sex, or Nature's law. 

Writers on this question differ as to the cause of the universal 
degradation of woman in all periods and nations. 

One of the greatest minds of the century has thrown a ray of light 
on this gloomy picture by tracing the origin of woman's slavery to 
the same principle of selfishness and love of power in man that has 
thus far dominated all weaker nations and classes. This brings 
hope of final emancipation, for as all nations and classes are grad- 
ually, one after another, asserting and maintaining their independ- 
ence, the path is clear for woman to follow. The slavish instinct of 
an oppressed class has led her to toil patiently through the ages, 
giving all and asking little, cheerfully sharing with man all perils 
and privations by land and sea, that husband and sons might attain 
honor and success. Justice and freedom for herself is her latest and 
highest demand. 

Another writer asserts that the tyranny of man over woman has 
its roots, after all, in his nobler feelings ; his love, his chivalry, and 
his desire to protect woman in the barbarous periods of pillage, lust, 
and war. But wherever the roots may be traced, the results at this 
hour are equally disastrous to woman. Her best interests and hap- 
piness do not seem to have been consulted in the arrangements 
made for her protection. She has been bought and sold, caressed 
and crucified at the will and pleasure of her master. But if a chival- 
rous desire to protect woman has always been the mainspring of man's 
dominion over her, it should have prompted him to place in her 
hands the same weapons of defense he has found to be most effective 
against wrong and oppression. 


14 Introduction. 

It i* often asserted that as woman has always been man's slave- 
subject inferior dependent, under all forms of government and 
religion, slavery must be her normal condition. This mie>ht have 
some weight had not the vast majority of men also been enslaved 
for centuries to kings and popes, and orders of nobility, who, in the 
progress of civilization, have reached complete equality. And did 
u v not also see the great changes in woman's condition, the marvel- 
ous transformation in her character, from a toy in the Turkish harem, 
or a drudge in the German fields, to a leader of thought in the 
literary circles of France, England, and America ! 

In an age when the wrongs of society are adjusted in the courts 
and at the ballot-box, material force yields to reason and majorities. 

Woman's steady march onward, and her growing desire for a 
broader outlook, prove that she has not reached her normal condi- 
tion, and that society has not yet conceded all that is necessary for 

Moreover, woman's discontent increases in exact proportion to her 
development. Instead of a feeling of gratitude for rights accorded, 
the wisest are indignant at the assumption of any legal disability 
based on sex, and their feelings in this matter are a surer test of 
what her nature demands, than the feelings and prejudices of the sex 
claiming to be superior. American men may quiet their consciences 
with the delusion that no such injustice exists in this country as in 
Eastern nations, though with the general improvement in our insti- 
tutions, woman's condition must inevitably have improved also, yet 
the same principle that degrades her in Turkey, insults her in this 
republic. Custom forbids a woman there to enter a mosque, or call 
the hour for prayers ; here it forbids her a voice in Church Councils 
or State Legislatures. The same taint of her primitive state of 
slavery affects both latitudes. 

The condition of married women, under the laws of all countries, 
has been essentially that of slaves, until modified, in some respects, 
within the last quarter of a century in the United States. The 
change from the old Common Law of England, in regard to the 
civil rights of women, from 1848 to the advance legislation in most 
of the Northern States in 1880, marks an era both in the status of 
woman as a citizen and in our American system of jurisprudence. 
Wl id) the State of New York gave married women certain rights 
of property, the individual existence of the wife was recognized, and 
old idea that " husband and wife are one, and that one the hus- 
band," received its death-blow. From that hour the statutes of the 
several States have been steadily diverging from the old English 

Introduction. 1 5 

codes. Most of the Western States copied the advance legislation 
of New York, and some are now even more liberal. 

The broader demand for political rights has not commanded the 
thought its merits and dignity should have secured. While com- 
plaining of many wrongs and oppressions, women themselves did 
not see that the political disability of sex was the cause of all their 
special grievances, and that to secure equality anywhere, it must 
be recognized everywhere. Like all disfranchised classes, they 
begun by asking to have certain wrongs redressed, and not by 
asserting their own right to make laws for themselves. 

Overburdened with cares in the isolated home, women had not 
the time, education, opportunity, and pecuniary independence to 
put their thoughts clearly and concisely into propositions, nor the 
courage to compare their opinions with one another, nor to publish 
them, to any great extent, to the world. 

It requires philosophy and heroism to rise above the opinion of 
the wise men of all nations and races, that to be unknown, is the 
highest testimonial woman can have to her virtue, delicacy and 

A certain odium has ever rested on those who have risen above 
the conventional level and sought new spheres for thought and ac- 
tion, and especially on the few who demand complete equality in 
political rights. The leaders in this movement have been women of 
superior mental and physical organization, of good social standing 
and education, remarkable alike for their domestic virtues, knowl- 
edge of public affairs, and rare executive ability ; good speakers and 
writers, inspiring and conducting the genuine reforms of the day ; 
everywhere exerting themselves to promote the best interests of so- 
ciety ; yet they have been uniformly ridiculed, misrepresented, and 
denounced in public and private by all classes of society. 

Woman's political equality with man is the legitimate outgrowth 
of the fundamental principles of our Government, clearly set forth 
in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, in the United States 
Constitution adopted in 1784, in the prolonged debates on the origin 
of human rights in the anti-slavery conflict in 1840, and in the more 
recent discussions of the party in power since 1865, on the 13th, 
14th, and 15th Amendments to the National Constitution ; and the 
majority of our leading statesmen have taken the ground that suf- 
frage is a natural right that may be regulated, but can not be abol- 
ished by State law. 

Under the influence of these liberal principles of republicanism 
that pervades all classes of American minds, however vaguely, if 

16 Introduction. 

suddenly called out, they might be stated, woman readily perceives 
the anomalous position she occupies in a republic, where the govern- 
ment and religion alike are based on individual conscience and judg- 
ment where the natural rights of all citizens have been exhaustively 
discussed, and repeatedly declared equal. 

From the inauguration of the government, representative women 
have expostulated against the inconsistencies between our principles 
and practices as a nation. Beginning with special grievances, 
woman's protests soon took a larger scope. Having petitioned State 
legislatures to change the statutes that robbed her of children, 
wa^es, and property, she demanded that the Constitutions State 
and National be so amended as to give her a voice in the laws, a 
choice in the rulers, and protection in the exercise of her rights as a 
citizen of the United States. 

While the laws affecting woman's civil rights have been greatly 
improved during the past thirty years, the political demand has 
made but a questionable progress, though it must be counted as the 
chief influence in modifying the laws. The selfishness of man was 
readily enlisted in securing woman's civil rights, while the same ele- 
ment in his character antagonized her demand for political equality. 

Fathers who had estates to bequeath to their daughters could see 
the advantage of securing to woman certain property rights that 
might limit the legal power of profligate husbands. 

Husbands in extensive business operations could see the advantage 
of allowing the wife the right to hold separate property, settled on 
her in time of prosperity, that might not be seized for his debt$. 
Hence in the several States able men championed these early meas- 
ures. But political rights, involving in their last results equality 
everywhere, roused all the antagonism of a dominant power, against 
the self-assertion of a class hitherto subservient. Men saw that 
with political equality for woman, they could no longer keep her in 
social subordination, and " the majority of the male sex," says John 
Stuart Mill, " can not yet tolerate the idea of living with an equal." 
fear of a social revolution thus complicated the discussion. The 
. too, took alarm, knowing that with the freedom and educa- 
acquired in becoming a component part of the Government, 
woman would not only outgrow the power of the priesthood, and 
religious superstitions, but would also invade the pulpit, interpret 
Uible anew from her own stand-point, and claim an equal voice 
iaatical councils. With fierce warnings and denuncia- 
s from the pulpit, and false interpretations of Scripture, women 
have Keen intimidated and misled, and their religious feelings have 

Introduction. 17 

been played upon for their more complete subjugation. While the 
general principles of the Bible are in favor of the most enlarged 
freedom and equality of the race, isolated texts have been used to 
block the wheels of progress in all periods; thus bigots have de- 
fended capital punishment, intemperance, slavery, polygamy, and 
the subjection of woman. The creeds of all nations make obedience 
to man the corner-stone of her religious character. Fortunately, 
however, more liberal minds arc now giving us higher and purer 
expositions of the Scriptures. 

As the social and religious objections appeared against the de- 
mand for political rights, the discussion became many-sided, con- 
tradictory, and as varied as the idiosyncrasies of individual character. 
Some said, " Man is woman's natural protector, and she can safely 
trust him to make laws for her." She might with fairness reply, as. 
he uniformly robbed her of all property rights to 1848, he can not 
safely be trusted with her personal rights in 1880, though the fact 
that he did make some restitution at last, might modify her distrust 
in the future. However, the calendars of our courts still show that 
fathers deal unjustly with daughters, husbands with wives, brothers 
with sisters, and sons with their own mothers. Though woman 
needs the protection of one man against his whole sex, in pioneer 
life, in threading her way through a lonely forest, on the highway, 
or in the streets of the metropolis on a dark night, she sometimes 
needs, too, the protection of all men against this one. But even if 
she could be sure, as she is not, of the ever-present, all -protecting 
power of one strong arm, that would be weak indeed compared with 
the subtle, all-pervading influence of just and equal laws for all 
women. Hence woman's need of the ballot, that she may hold in 
her own right hand the weapon of self-protection and self-defense. 

Again it is said : " The women who make the demand are few in 
number, and their feelings and opinions are abnormal, and therefore 
of no weight in considering the aggregate judgment on the ques- 
tion." The number is larger than appears on the surface, for the 
fear of public ridicule, and the loss of private favors from those 
who shelter, feed, and clothe them, withhold many from declaring 
their opinions and demanding their rights. /The ignorance and in- 
difference of the majority of women, as to their status as citizens of 
a republic, is not remarkable, for history shows that the masses of 
all oppressed classes, in the most degraded conditions, have been 
stolid and apathetic until partial success had crowned the faith and 
enthusiasm of the few. 

The insurrections on Southern plantations were always defeated 


by the doubt ami duplicity of the slaves themselves. That little 

IK. precipitated the American Revolution in 1776 

d that they walked the streets with bowed heads, 

from a - loneliness and apprehension. "Woman's apathy to 

\. in-tead of being a plea for her remaining in 

-lit condition, is the strongest argument against it. How 

.letdv demoralized by her subjection must she be, who does 

not feel her personal dignity assailed when all women are ranked in 

onstitution with idiots, lunatics, criminals, and minors; 

when in the name of Justice, man holds one scale for woman, an- 

: f>r himself ; when by the spirit and letter of the laws she is 

mad. -ible for crimes committed against her, while the male 

criminal <;oes free ; when from altars where she worhips no woman 

mav : when in the courts, where girls of tender age may be 

arraigned for the crime of infanticide, she may not plead for the 

>le of her sex ; when colleges she is taxed to build and 

\v. deny her the right to share in their advantages; when she 

finds that which should be her glory her possible motherhood 

treated everywhere by man as a disability and a crime ! A woman 

.sible to such indignities needs some transformation into nobler 

thought, some purer atmosphere to breathe, some higher stand-point 

from which to study human rights. 

It is said. u the difference between the sexes indicates different 
spheres." It would be nearer the truth to say the difference indi- 


t duties in the same sphere, seeing that man and woman 
'dently made for each other, and have shown equal capacity 
in the ordinary range of human duties. In governing nations, lead- 
ings across the sea, rowing life-boats in terrific 
i art, science, invention, literature, woman has proved her- 
self the complement of man in the world of thought and action. 

:npel us to spread our tables with different 

man and wuman. nor to provide in our common schools a 

nurse of study for boys and girls. Sex pervades all nat- 

ihe male and female tree and vine and shrub rejoice in the 

6 Min-hine md >li:ide. The earth and air are free to all the 

fruits and ll< - t each ab>orbs what l.e>t ensures its growth. 

: it i-. il iv|iiiivs no special watchfulness on <>nr part 

If i- maintained. This plea, when closely analyzed, is 

.ud to mean woman's inferiority. 

>' man, however, does not enter into the demand 

:n thi- country all men vote; and as the lower or- 

ior, either by nature or grace, to the higher 

Introduction. 19 

orders of women, they must hold and exercise the right of self-gov- 
ernment on some other ground than superiority to women. 

Agziiii it is said, " Woman when independent and self -assert ing 
will lose her influence over man." In the happiest conditions in life, 
men and women will ever be mutually dependent on each other. " 
The complete development of all woman's powers will not make her 
less capable of steadfast love and friendship, but give her new 
strength to meet the emergencies of life, to aid those who look to 
her for counsel and support. Men are uniformly more attentive to 
women of rank, family, and fortune, who least need their care, than 
to any other class. We do not see their protecting love generally 
extending to the helpless and unfortunate ones of earth. Wherever 
the skilled hands and cultured brain of woman have made the battle 
of life easier for man, he has readily pardoned her sound judgment 
and proper self-assertion. But the prejudices and preferences of 
man should be a secondary consideration, in presence of the indi- 
vidual happiness and freedom of woman. The formation of her 
character and its influence on the human race, is a larger question 
than man's personal liking. There is no fear, however, that when 
a superior order of women shall grace the earth, there will not be 
an order of men to match them, and influence over such minds will 
atone for the loss of it elsewhere. 

An honest fear is sometimes expressed " that woman would de- 
grade politics, and politics would degrade woman." As the influence 
of woman has been uniformly elevating in new civilizations, in mis- 
sionary work in heathen nations, in schools, colleges, literature, and 
in general society, it is fair to suppose that politics would prove no 
exception. On the other hand, as the art of government is the most 
exalted of all sciences, and statesmanship requires the highest order 
of mind, the ennob ] ing and refining influence of such pursuits must 
elevate rather than degrade woman. When politics degenerate into 
"bitter persecutions and vulgar court-gossip, they are degrading to 
man, and his honor, virtue, dignity, and refinement are as valuable to 
woman as her virtues are to him. 

Again, it is said, " Those who make laws must execute them ; gov- 
ernment needs force behind it, a woman could not be sheriff or a 
policeman." She might not fill these offices in the way men do, >- 
hut she might far more effectively guard the morals of society, and 
the sanitary conditions of our cities. It might with equal force be 
said that a woman of culture and artistic taste can not keep house, 
because she can not wash and iron with her own hands, and clean 
the range and furnace. At the head of the police, a woman could 

2Q Introduction. 

direct her forces and keep order without ever using a baton or a 
!>i>tol in her own hands. "The elements of sovereignty," says 
Ula. - are three : wisdom, goodness, and power." Conceding 

:M wisdom and goodness, as they are not strictly masculine 
virtues, and substituting moral power for physical force, we have 
tli,- \ elements of government for most of life's emergen- 

cies. Women manage families, mixed schools, charitable institu- 
tions, large boarding-houses and hotels, farms and steam-engines, 
drunken and disorderly men and women, and stop street fights, as well 
:ien d<>. The queens in history compare favorably with the kings. 

But, " in the settlement of national difficulties," it is said, " the 
la<t ivsort is war; shall we summon our wives and mothers to the 
battle-field "( " Women have led armies in all ages, have held po- 
>ns in the army and navy for years in disguise. Some fought, 
bled, and died on the battle-field in our late war. They performed 
severe labors in the hospitals and sanitary department. Wisdom 
would dictate a division of labor in war as well as in peace, assigning 
each their appropriate department. 

Numerous classes of men who enjoy their political rights are ex- 
empt from military duty. All men over forty-five, all who suffer 
mental or physical disability, such as the loss of an eye or a fore- 
finger; clergymen, physicians, Quakers, school-teachers, professors, 
and presidents of colleges, judges, legislators, congressmen, State 
prison officials, and all county, State and National officers; fathers, 
brothers, or sons having certain relatives dependent on them for sup- 
port, all of these summed up in every State in the Union make 
millions of voters thus exempted. 

In view of this fact there is no force in the plea, that u if women 
vote they must fight." Moreover, war is not the normal state of 
the human family in its higher development, but merely a feature 
of barbarism lasting on through the transition of the race, from the 
savage to the scholar. When England and America settled the 
Alabama Claims by the Geneva Arbitration, they pointed the way 
the future adjustment of all national difficulties. 

Some fear, " If women assume all the duties political equality 
implies, that the time and attention necessary to the duties of home 
life will be absorbed in the affairs of State." The actof voting oc- 
cupies but little time in itself, and the vast majority of women will 
attend to their family and social aifairs to the neglect of the State, 
ju.-t as men do to their individual interests. The virtue of patriot- 
is subordinate in most souls to individual and family aggran- 
dizement. As to offices, it is not to be supposed that the class of 

Introduction. 21 

men now elected will resign to women their chances, and if they 
should to any extent, the necessary number of women to fill the 
offices would make no apparent change in our social circles. If, 
for example, the Senate of the United States should be entirely 
composed of women, but two in each State would be withdrawn 
from the pursuit of domestic happiness. For many reasons, under 
all circumstances, a comparatively smaller proportion of women than 
men would actively engage in politics. 

As the power to extend or limit the suffrage rests now wholly 
in the hands of man, he can commence the experiment with as small 
a number as he sees fit, by requiring any lawful qualification. Men 
were admitted on property and educational qualifications in most of 
the States, at one time, and still are in some so hard has it been for 
man to understand the theory of self-government. Three- fourths 
of the women would be thus disqualified, and the remaining fourth 
would be too small a minority to precipitate a social revolution or 
defeat masculine measures in the halls of legislation, even if women 
were a unit on all questions and invariably voted* together, which 
they would not. In this view, the path of duty is plain for the 
prompt action of those gentlemen who fear universal suffrage for 
women, but are willing to grant it on property and educational 
qualifications. While those who are governed by the law of ex- 
pediency should give the measure of justice they deem safe, let 
those who trust the absolute right proclaim the. higher principle in 
government, " equal rights to all." 

Many seeming obstacles in the way of woman's enfranchisement 
will be surmounted by reforms in many directions. Co-operative 
labor and co operative homes will remove many difficulties in the 
way of woman's success as artisan and housekeeper, when admitted 
to the governing power. The varied forms of progress, like paral- 
lel lines, move forward simultaneously in the same direction. Each 
reform, at its inception, seems out of joint with all its surroundings ; 
but the discussion changes the conditions, and brings them in line 
with the new idea. 

The isolated household is responsible for a large share of woman's 
ignorance and degradation. A mind always in contact with chil- 
dren and servants, whose aspirations arid ambitions rise no higher 
than the roof that shelters it, is necessarily dwarfed in its propor- 
tions. The advantages to the few whose fortunes enable them to 
make the isolated household a more successful experiment, can not 
outweigh the difficulties of the many who are wholly sacrificed to 
its maintenance. 

22 Introduction. 

Quite as many false ideas prevail as to woman's true position in 
tin.- In mil 1 a> to her status elsewhere. Womanhood is the great fact 
in her life; wifehood and motherhood are but incidental relations. 
legislate for men ; we do not have one code for bach- 
3, another for husbands and fathers; neither have the social re- 
lations of women any significance in their demands for civil and 
political rights. Custom and philosophy, in regard to woman's 
happiness, are alike based on the idea that her strongest social senti- 
ment is love of children; that in this relation her soul finds com- 
plete .satisfaction. But the love of offspring, common to all orders 
men and all forms of animal life, tender and beautiful as it is, 
-eiitiinent rank with conjugal love. The one calls out 
only the negative virtues that belong to apathetic classes, such as 
patience, endurance, self-sacrifice, exhausting the brain-forces, ever 
giving, asking nothing in return; the other, the outgrowth of the 
two >upreme powers in nature, the positive and negative magnet- 
the centrifugal and centripetal forces, the masculine and femi- 
nine elements, possessing the divine power of creation, in the 
universe of thought and action. Two pure souls fused into one by 

--ioued love friends, counselors a mutual support and / 
in>piration to each other amid life's .struggles, must know the high- 
iiman happiness; this is marriage; and this is the only corner- 
of an enduring home. Neither does ordinary motherhood, as- 
sumed without any high purpose or preparation, compare in senti- 
ment with the lofty ambition and conscientious devotion of the 
artist whose pure children of the brain in poetry, painting, music, 
""d :v ever beckoning her upward into an ideal world of 

y. They who give the world a true philosophy, a grand poem, 
iiitiful painting or statue, or can tell the story of every wau- 
'b-rii. ." Kliot. a Rosa Bonheur, an Elizabeth Bar- 

llruwning, a Maria Mitchell whose blood has flowed to the 
f the brain, have lived to a holier purpose than they 
.ildren are of the flesh alone, into whose minds they have 
iie.l no dear perceptions of great principles, no moral a.>pira- 
MO >piritual life. 

Her right.- are a> completely ignored in what is adjudged to be 

tfi out of it; the woman is uniformly sacrificed to 

>nd mother. NYith.-r law, go>pel, public sentiment, nor 

<!t>111 ' 1( i her fi-niii e ami enforced maternitv, 

mother and child ; all opportunity for mental 

im !' : -1th, happiness yea, life itself, being ruthlessly 

:i '- tl( l. T weary, withered, narrow-minded wife 

Introduction. 23 

mother of half a dozen children her interests all centering at her 
fireside, forms a painful contrast in many a household to the liberal, 
genial, brilliant, cultured husband in the zenith of his power, who 

never given one thought to the higher life, liberty, and hap- 
piness of the woman by his side ; believing her self-abnegation to 
l*>e Nature's law. 

It is often asked, " if political equality would not rouse antago- 
nisms between the sexes?" If it could be proved that men and 
women had been harmonious in all ages and countries, and that 
women were happy and satisfied in their slavery, one might hesi- 
tate in proposing any change whatever. But the apathy, the help- 
less, hopeless resignation of a subjected class can not be called happi- 
The more complete the despotism, the more smoothly all 
things move on the surface. " Order reigns in Warsaw."' In right 
conditions, the interests of man and woman are essentially one ; but 
in false conditions, they must ever be opposed. The principle of 
equality of rights underlies all human sentiments, and its assertion 
by any individual or class must rouse antagonism, unless conceded. 
This has been the battle of the ages, and will be until all forms of 
slavery are banished from the earth. Philosophers, historians, poets, 
novelists, alike paint woman the victim ever of man's power and 
selfishness. And now all writers on Eastern civilization tell us, the 
one insurmountable obstacle to the improvement of society in those 
countries, is the ignorance and superstition of the women. Stronger 
than the trammels of custom and law, is her religion, which teaches 
that her condition is Heaven-ordained. As the most ignorant- minds 
cling with the greatest tenacity to the dogmas and traditions of their 
faith, a reform that involves an attack on that stronghold can only 
be carried by the education of another generation. Hence the self- 
assertion, the antagonism, the rebellion of woman, so much deplored 
in England and the United States, is the hope of our higher civiliza- 
tion. A woman growing up under American ideas of liberty in gov- 
ernment and religion, having never blushed behind a Turkish mask, 
nor pressed her feet in Chinese shoes, can not brook any disabili- 

based on sex alone, without a deep feeling of antagonism with 
the power that creates it. The change needed to restore good feel- 
ing can not be reached by remanding w r oman to the spinning-wheel, 
and the contentment of her grandmother, but by conceding to her 
every right which the spirit of the age demands. Modern inven- 
tions have banished the spinning-wheel, and the same law of 
progress makes the woman of to-day a different woman from her 

2 4 In troduction. 

With those brief replies to the oft-repeated objections made by 

tin- opposition, we hope to rouse new thoughts in minds prepared to 

ive thorn. That equal rights for woman have not long ago been 

vd, is duo to ociiisi-s beyond the control of the actors in this 

reform. * The success of a movement," says Lecky, " depends much 

'i])on the force of its arguments, or upon the ability of its advo- 

. than the predisposition of society to receive it." 



As civilization advances there is a continual change in the stand- 
ard of human rights. In barbarous ages the right of the strongest 
was the only one recognized ; but as mankind progressed in the arts 
and sciences intellect began to triumph over brute force. Change is 
a law of life, and the development of society a natural growth. Al- 
though to this law we owe the discoveries of unknown worlds, the 
inventions of machinery, swifter modes of travel, and clearer ideas 
as to the value of human life and thought, yet each successive 
change has met with the most determined opposition. Fortunately, 
progress is not the result of pre-arranged plans of individuals, but is 
born of a fortuitous combination of circumstances that compel cer- 
tain results, overcoming the natural inertia of mankind. There is a 
certain enjoyment in habitual sluggishness ; in rising each morning 
with the same ideas as the night before ; in retiring each night with 
the thoughts of the morning. This inertia of mind and body has 
ever held the multitude in chains. Thousands have thus surren- 
dered their most sacred rights of conscience. In all periods of hu- 
man development, thinking has been punished as a crime, which is 
reason sufficient to account for the general passive resignation of the 
masses to their conditions and evironmeuts. 

Again, " subjection to the powers that be '' has been the lesson of 
both Church and State, throttling science, checking invention, crush- 
ing free thought, persecuting and torturing those who have dared 
to speak or act outside of established authority. Anathemas and the 
stake have upheld the Church, banishment and the scaffold the throne, 
and the freedom of mankind has ever been sacrificed to the idea of 
protection. So entirely has the human will been enslaved in all 
classes of society in the past, that monarchs have humbled them- 
selves to popes, nations have knelt at the feet of monarchs, and in- 
dividuals have sold themselves to others under the subtle prom- 
ise of " protection " a word that simply means release from all re- 
sponsibility, all use of one's own faculties a word that has ever 
blinded people to its true significance. Under authority and 


History <>f Woman Suffrage. 

tliis fal>e promise of "protection," self-reliance, the first incentive 
t> freedom, has not only been lo>1. hut the aversion of mankind 
for responsibility has been fostered hy the few, whose greater bodily 
:-th. superior intellect, or the inherent law of self-development 
has impelled to active exertion. Obedience and self-sacrifice the 
virtues prescribed for subordinate classes, and which naturally grow 
<.ut of their condition are alike opposed to the theory of individual 
rights and self-government. But as even the inertia of mankind is 
not proof ;iptin>t the internal law of progress, certain beliefs have 
i inculcated, certain crimes invented, in order to intimidate the 
masses. Hence, the ( liurch made free thought the worst of sins, 
and the spirit of inquiry the worst of blasphemies ; while the State 
proclaimed her temporal power of divine origin, and all rebellion 
high treason alike to (iod and the king, to be speedily and severely 
punished. In this union of Church and State mankind touched the 
lo\ve-t depth of degradation. As late as the time of Bunyan the 
chief doctrine inculcated from the pulpit was obedience to the tem- 
poral p<>\ver. 

All these influences fell with crushing weight on woman; 

more sensitive, helpless, and imaginative, she suffered a thousand 

- and wrongs where man did one. Lecky, in his " History of 

"iialism in Europe," shows that the vast majority of the victims 

of fanatiri.Mii and witchcraft, burned, drowned, and tortured, were 

women. Guizot, in his " History of Civilization," while decrying 

the influence of caste in India, and deploring it as the result of bar- 

barism, thanks God there is no system of caste in Europe; ignoring 

'act that in all its dire and baneful effects, the caste of sex every- 

ating diveise codes of morals for men and women, 

diver-r penalties for crime, diverse industries, diverse religions and 

educational rights, ami diverse relations to the Government. ^len 

Brahmins, women the Pariahs, under our existing civiliza- 

tion. Herbert Spencer's "Descriptive Sociology of England," an 

Knglish hi>tory, says : "Our laws are based on the all- 

tt'a rights, ami >oci<-ty exists to-day for woman only 

L8 in the keeping of .-Mine man." Thus society, in- 

cluding our of jurisprudence, civil and political theories, 

ti'.-tdc, COmmi lucation, religion, fri.-ndships, and family life, 

li" Vl Wl framed on the Bole idea of Mian's rights. Hence, he 

himself tin- responsibility of directing and controlling 

Iwrr> ,n. under that all-suHicieiit excuse of lyrannv, 

"divine right." Tlii- TV of divine authority rivaled the 

India; 1 paratcd its people into bodies, with dif- 

Preceding Causes. 27 

fereut industrial, educational, civil, religious, and political rights ; has 
maintained this separation for the benefit of the superior class, and 
sedulously taught the doctrine that any change in existing conditions 
would be a sin of most direful magnitude. 

The opposition of theologians, though first to be exhibited when 
any change is proposed, for reason that change not only takes power 
from them, but lessens the reverence of mankind for them, is riot in 
its final result so much to be feared as the opposition of those hold- 
ing political power. The Church, knowing this, has in all ages aimed 
to connect itself with the State. Political freedom guarantees re- 
ligious liberty, freedom to worship God according to the dictates of 
one's own conscience, fosters* a spirit of inquiry, creates self-reliance, 
induces a feeling of responsibility. 

The people who demand authority for every thought and action, 
who look to others for wisdom and protection, are those who perpetu- 
ate tyranny. The thinkers and actors who find their authority within, 
are those who inaugurate freedom. Obedience to outside author- 
ity to which woman has everywhere been trained, has not only 
dwarfed her capacity, but made her a retarding force in civilization, 
recognized at last by statesmen as a dangerous element to free insti- 
tutions. A recent writer, speaking of Turkey, says : " All attempts 
for the improvement of that nation must prove futile, owing to the 
degradation of its women ; and their elevation is hopeless so long as 
they are taught by their religion that their condition is ordained of 
heaven." Gladstone, in one of his pamphlets on the revival of 
( 'atholicism in England, says : " The spread of this religion is due, 
as might be expected, to woman ; " thus conceding in both cases 
her power to block the wheels of progress. Hence, in the scientific 
education of woman, in the training of her faculties to independent 
thought and logical reasoning, lies the hope of the future. 

The two great sources of progress are intellect and wealth. Both 
represent power, and are the elements of success in life. Education 
frees the mind from the bondage of authority and makes the indi- 
vidual self-asserting. Remunerative industry is the means of 
securing to its possessor wealth and education, transforming the 
laborer to the capitalist. Work in itself is not power; it is but the 
means to an end. The slave is not benefited by his industry ; he 
does not receive the results of his toil ; his labor enriches another 
adds to the power of his master to bind his chains still closer. Al- 
though woman has performed much of the labor of the world, her 
industry and economy have been the very means of increasing her 
degradation. Xot being free, the results of her labor have gone to 

28 History of Woman Suffrage. 

build up and sustain the very class that has perpetuated this injus- 
. Even in the family, where we should naturally look for the 
truest conditions, woman has always been robbed of the fruits of her 
own toil. The influence the Catholic Church has had on religious 
free thought, that monarchies have had on political free thought, 
that serfdom has had upon free labor, have all been cumulative 
in the family upon woman. Taught that father and husband 
stood to her in the place of God, she has been denied liberty of 
conscience, and held in obedience to masculine will. Taught that 
the fruits of her industry belonged to others, she has seen man enter 
into every avocation most suitable to her, while she, the uncom- 
plaining drudge of the household, condemned to the severest labor, 
has been systematically robbed of her earnings, which have gone to 
build up her master's power, and she has found herself in the 
condition of the slave, deprived of the results of her own labor. 
Taught that education for her was indelicate and irreligious, she has 
been kept in such gross ignorance as to fall a prey to superstition, 
and to glory in her own degradation. Taught that a low voice is an 
excellent thing in woman, she has been trained to a subjugation of 
the vocal organs, and thus lost the benefit of loud tones and their 
well-known invigoration of the system. Forbidden to run, climb, 
or jump, her muscles have been weakened, and her strength de- 
teriorated. Confined most of the time to the house, she has neither 
as strong lungs nor as vigorous a digestion as her brother. Forbid- 
den to enter the pulpit, she has been trained to an unquestioning 
reverence for theological authority and false belief upon the most 
vital interests of religion. Forbidden the medical profession, she 
lias at the most sacred times of her life been left to the ignorant 
supervision of male physicians, and seen her young children die 
by thousands. Forbidden to enter the courts, she has seen her sex 
unjustly tried and condemned for crimes men were incapable of 

Woman has been the great unpaid laborer of the world, and al- 
though within the last two decades a vast number of new employ- 
ment have heeii opened to her, statistics prove that in the great 
majority of these, she is not paid according to the value of the work 
done, hut According to sex. The opening of all industries to woman, 
and tin* ware i|ii- connected with her, are most subtle and 

I"'"*"" 1 " 1 'l !i i political economy, closely interwoven with 

the rights of eminent 

.al of leaminir had its influence upon woman, and we 
find in the early part of the fourteenth century a decided tendency 

Preceding Causes. 29 

toward a recognition of her equality. Christine of Pisa, the most 
eminent woman of this period, supported a family of six persons by 
her pen, taking high ground on the conservation of morals in oppo- 
sition to the general licentious spirit of the age. Margaret of An- 
goulerne, the brilliant Queen of Navarre, was a voluminous writer, 
her Heptameron rising to the dignity of a French classic. A paper 
in the Revue des Deux Mondes, a few years since, by M. Henri 
Baudrillart, upon the " Emancipation of Woman," recalls the fact 
that for nearly four hundred years, men, too, have been ardent be- 
lievers in equal rights for woman. 

In 1509, Cornelius Agrippa, a great literary authority of his time, 
published a work of this character. Agrippa was not content with 
claiming woman's equality, but in a work of thirty chapters devoted 
himself to proving " the superiority of woman." In less than fifty 
years (1552) Ruscelli brought out a similar work based on the Pla- 
tonic Philosophy. In 1599, Anthony Gibson wrote a book which in 
the prolix phraseology of the times was called, "A Woman's 
Worth defended against all the Men in the World, proving to be 
more Perfect, Excellent, and Absolute, in all Virtuous Actions, 
than any man of What Quality Soever." While these sturdy male 
defenders of the rights of woman met with many opponents, some 
going so far as to assert that women were beings not endowed with 
reason, they were sustained by many vigorous writers among 
women. Italy, then the foremost literary country of Europe, pos- 
sessed many women of learning, one of whom, Lucrezia Morinella, 
a Venetian lady, wrote a work entitled, " The Nobleness and Excel- 
lence of Women, together with the Faults and Imperfections of 

The seventeenth century gave birth to many essays and books of 
a like character, not confined to the laity, as several friars wrote 
upon the same subject. In 1696, Daniel De Foe wished to have an 
institute founded for the better education of young women. He 
said : " We reproach the sex every day for folly and impertinence, 
while I am confident had they the advantages of education equal to 
us, they would be guilty of less than ourselves." Alexander's His- 
tory of Women, John Paul Ribera's work upon Women, the two 
huge quartos of De Costa upon the same subject, Count Segur's 
" Women : Their Condition and Influence," and many other works 
showed the drift of the new age. 

The Reformation, that great revolution in religious thought, 
loosened the grasp of the Church upon woman, and is to be looked 
upon as one of the most important steps in this reform. In the 

30 History of Woman Suffrage. 

n of Elizabeth, England was called the Paradise of Women 
When Elizabeth ascended the throne, it was not only as queen, but 
eded her father as the head of the newly-formed rebellious 
rimivh. and she held firm grasp on both Church and State during 
the lonir years of her reign, bending alike priest and prelate to her 
tierv will. The reign of Queen Anne, called the Golden Age of 
English Literature, is especially noticeable on account of Mary 
11 and Elizabeth Elstob. The latter, speaking nine languages, 
mo-t famous for her skill in the Saxon tongue. She also re- 
plied to current objections made to woman's learning. Mary Astell 
elaborated a plan for a Woman's College, which was favorably re- 
d bv Queen Anne, and would have been carried out, but for the 
opposition of Bishop Burnett. 

During the latter part of the eighteenth century, there were public 
discussions by women in England, under the general head of Female 
Parliament. These discussions took wide range, touching upon the 
entrance of men into those industries usually assigned to women, and 
demanding for themselves higher educational advantages, and the 
right to vote at elections, and to be returned members of Parliament. 
The American Revolution, that great political rebellion of the 
. was based upon the inherent rights of the individual. Perhaps 
in none but English Colonies, by descendants of English parents, 
could such a revolution have been consummated. England had never 
felt the bonds of feudalism to the extent of many countries ; its peo- 
ple had defied its monarchs and wrested from- them many civil 
rights, rights which protected women as well as men, and although 
'iiiniDn law, warped by ecclesiasticism, expended its chief rigors 
upon women, yet at an early day they enjoyed certain ecclesiastical 
and political powers unknown to women elsewhere. Before the Con- 
368 sat in councils of the Church and signed its decrees ; 
while kings were even dependent upon their consent in granting cer- 
tain charters. The synod of Whitby, in the ninth century, was held 
in the convent of the Abbess Hilda, she herself presiding over its 
deliberations. The famous prophetess of Kent at one period com- 
municated the orders of Heaven to the Pope himself. Ladies of 
birth and Duality sat in council with the Saxon Witas i. e., wise 
idng part in the Witenageinot, the great ^National Council 
;\on ancestors in Kngland. In the seventh century this !Na- 
1 Council met at BaghamsJead to enact a new code of laws, the 
nid many ladies of quality taking part and signing 
by other similar instances, we Hud in the reign 
"i Eenrj III. that four women took seats in Parliament, and in the 

Preceding Causes. 31 

reign of Edward I. ten ladies were called to Parliament, while in the 
thirteenth century, Queen Elinor became keeper of the Great Seal, 
sitting as Lord Chancellor in the Aula Regia, the highest court of 
the Kingdom. Running back two or three centuries before the Chris 
ti:ui era, we find Martia, her seat of power in London, holding the 
reins of government so wisely as to receive the surname of Proba, the 
Just. She especially devoted herself to the enactment of just laws 
for her subjects, the first principles of the common law tracing back 
to her ; the celebrated laws of Alfred, and of Edward the Confessor, 
beiiii? in great degree restorations and compilations from the laws of 
Martia, which were known as the " Martian Statutes." 

When the American coknries began their resistance to English 
tyranny, the women all this inherited tendency to freedom surging 
in their veins were as active, earnest, determined, and self-sacrificing 
as the men, and although, as Mrs. Ellet in her u Women of the Ee vo- 
lution " remarks, " political history says but little, and that vaguely 
and incidentally, of the women who bore their part in the revolution," 
yet that little shows woman to have been endowed with as lofty 
a patriotism as man, and to have as fully understood the princi- 
ples upon which the struggle was based. Among the women who 
manifested deep political insight, were Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail 
Smith Adams, and Hannah Lee Corbin ; all closely related to the 
foremost men of the Ee volution. Mrs. Warren was a sister of 
James Otis, whose fiery words did so much to arouse and intensify 
the feelings of the colonists against British aggression. This brother 
and sister were united to the end of their lives in a friendship ren- 
dered firm and enduring by the similarity of their intellects and 
political views. The home of Mrs. Warren was the resort of patri- 
otic spirits and the headquarters of the rebellion. She herself 
wrote, " By the Plymouth fireside were many political plans organ- 
ized, discussed, and digested." Her correspondence with eminent 
men of the Revolution was extensive and belongs to the history of 
the country. She was the first one who based the struggle upon 
u inherent rights," a phrase afterward made the corner-stone of po- 
lilical authority. Mrs. Warren asserted that " < inherent rights' be- 
longed to all mankind, and had been conferred on all by the God of 
nations." She numbered Jefferson among her correspondents, and 
the Declaration of Independence shows the influence of her mind. 
Among others who sought her counsel upon political matters were 
Samuel and John Adams, Dickinson, that pure patriot of Pennsylva- 
nia, Jefferson, Gerry, and Knox. She was the first person who coun 
seled separation and pressed those views upon John Adams, when 

32 History of Woman Suffrage. 

he sought her advice before the opening of the first Congress. At 
that time even Washington had no thought of the final independence 
of the colonies, emphatically denying such intention or desire on 
their part, and John Adams was shunned in the streets of Philadel- 
phia for having dared to hint such a possibility. Mrs. Warren sus- 
tained his sinking courage and urged him to bolder steps. Her ad- 
vice was not only sought in every emergency, but political parties 
found their arguments in her conversation. Mrs. Warren looked 
not to the freedom of man alone, but to that of her own sex also. 

England itself had at least one woman who watched the struggle 
of America with lively interest, and whose writings aided in the dis- 
semination of republican ideas. This was the celebrated Catharine 
Sawbridge Macaulay, one of the greatest minds England has ever 
produced a woman so noted for her republican ideas that after her 
death a statue was erected to her as the " Patroness of Liberty." 
During the whole of the Revolutionary period, Washington was in 
correspondence with Mrs. Macaulay, who did much to sustain him 
during those days of trial. She and Mrs. Warren were also corre- 
spondents at that time. She wrote several works of a republican 
character, for home influence; among these, in 1775, u An Ad- 
dress to the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland, on the present 
Important Crisis of Affairs," designed to show the justice of the 
American cause. The gratitude Americans feel toward Edmund 
Burke for his aid, might well be extended to Mrs. Macaulay. 

Abigail Smith Adams, the wife of John Adams, was an American 
woman whose political insight was worthy of remark. She early 
protested against the formation of a new government in which wom- 
an should be unrecognized, demanding for her a voice and represen- 
tation. She was the first American woman who threatened rebellion 
unless the rights of her sex were secured. In March, 1776, she 
wrote to her husband, then in the Continental Congress, " I long to 
hear you have declared an independency, and, by the way, in the 
new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to 
make, I desire you would remember the ladies, and be more gener- 
uus and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such 
unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember, all men 
would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention are 
not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and 
will not hold ourselves bound to obey any laws in which we have no 
voice or representation." Again and again did Mrs. Adams urge the 
establishment of an independency and the limitation of man's power 
ever woman, declaring all arbitrary power dangerous and tending to 

Preceding Causes. 33 

revolution. Nor was she less mindful of equal advantages of education. 
u If YOU complain of education in sons, what shall I say in regard to 
daughters, who every day experience the want of it ? " She expn 
a strong wish that the new Constitution might be distinguished for 
its encouragement of learning and virtue. Nothing more fully shows 
the dependent condition of a class than the methods used to secure 
their wishes. Mrs. Adams felt herself obliged to appeal to mascu- 
line selfishness in showing the reflex action woman's education would 
have upon man. "If," said she, "we mean to have heroes, states- 
men, and philosophers, we should have learned women." Thus did 
the Revolutionary Mothers urge the recognition of equal rights 
when the Government \vas in the process of formation. Although 
the first plot of ground in the United States for a public school had 
been given by a woman (Bridget Graffort), in 1700, her sex were 
denied admission. Mrs. Adams, as well as her friend Mrs. Warren, 
had in their own persons felt the deprivations of early educational 
advantages. The boasted public school system of Massachusetts, 
created for boys only, opened at last its doors to girls, merely to 
secure its share of public money. The women of the South, too, 
early demanded political equality. The counties of Mecklenberg 
and Rowan, North Carolina, were famous for the patriotism of their 
women. Mecklenberg claims to have issued the first declaration of 
independence, and, at the centennial celebration of this event in 
Mav, 1875, proudly accepted for itself the derisive name given this 
region by Tarleton's officers, " The Hornet's Nest of America." 
This name first bestowed by British officers upon Mrs. Brevard's 
mansion, then Tarleton's headquarters, where that lady's fiery patri- 
otism and stinging wit discomfited this General in many a sally 
was at last held to include the whole county. In 1778, only two 
years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and while 
the flames of war were still spreading over the country, Hannah Lee 
Corbin, of Virginia, the sister of General Richard Henry Lee, wrote 
him, protesting against the taxation of women unless they were al- 
lowed to vote. He replied that " women were already possessed of 
that right," thus recognizing the fact of woman's enfranchisement as 
one of the results of the new government, and it is on record that wom- 
en in Virginia did at an early day exercise the right of voting. New 
Jersey also specifically secured this right to women on the 2d of July, 
1776 a right exercised by them for more than a third of a century. 
Thus our country started into governmental life freighted with the 
protests of the Revolutionary Mothers against being ruled without 
their consent. From that hour to the present, women have been con- 

34 History of Woman Suffrage. 

tinnally raising their voices against political tyranny, and demanding 
for themselves equality of opportunity in every department of life. 
In 1790, Mary Wollstonecraft's " Vindication of the Rights of 
AVomen," published in London, attracted much attention from lib- 
eral minds. She examined the position of woman in the light of 
existing civilizations, and demanded for her the widest opportunities 
of education, industry, political knowledge, and the right of repre- 
sentation. Although her work is filled with maxims of the highest 
morality and purest wisdom, it called forth such violent abuse, that 
her husband appealed for her from the judgment of her contempo- 
raries to that of mankind. So exalted were her ideas of woman, so 
comprehensive her view of life, that Margaret Fuller, in referring to 
her, said : " Mary Wollstonecraft a woman whose existence proved 
the need of some new interpretation of woman's rights, belonging 
to that class who by birth find themselves in places so narrow that, 
by breaking bonds, they become outlaws." Following her, came 
Jane Marcet, Eliza Lynn, and Harriet Martineau each of whom in 
the early part of the nineteenth century, exerted a decided influence 
upon the political thought of England. Mrs. Marcet was one of the 
most scientific and highly cultivated persons of the age. Her u Con- 
versations on Chemistry," familiarized that science both in England 
and America, and from it various male writers filched their ideas. 
It was a text-book in this country for many years. Over one hun- 
dred and sixty thousand copies were sold, though the fact that this 
work emanated from the brain of a woman was carefully withheld. 
Mrs. Marcet also wrote upon political economy, and was the first per- 
son who made the subject comprehensive to the popular mind. Her 
manner of treating it was so clear and vivid, that the public, to whom 
it had been a hidden science, were able to grasp the subject. Her 
writings were the inspiration of Harriet Martineau, who followed 
her in the same department of thought at a later period. Miss 
Martineau was a remarkable woman. Besides her numerous books 
on political economy, she was a regular contributor to the London 
l>n'ilij Xews, the second paper in circulation in England, for many 
years writing five long articles weekly, also to Dickens' Household 
*, and the Westminster Review. She saw clearly the spirit and 
of the Anti-Slavery Movement in this country, and was a 
regular contributor to the National Anti-Slavery Standard, publish- 
ed in New York. Eliza Lynn, an Irish lady, was at this time writ- 
ing leading editorials for political papers. In Russia, Catharine II., 
the absolute and irresponsible ruler of that vast nation, gave utter- 
ance to views, of which, says La Ilarpo, the revolutionists of France 

Preceding Causes. 35 

and America fondly thought themselves the originators. She caused 
her grandchildren to be educated into the most liberal ideas, and 
Russia was at one time the only country in Europe where political 
refugees could find safety. To Catharine, Russia is indebted for 
the first proposition to enfranchise the serfs, but meeting strong 
opposition she was obliged to relinquish this idea, which was carried 
to fruition by her great-grandson, Alexander. 

This period of the eighteenth century was famous for the execu- 
tions of women on account of their radical political opinions, Madame 
Roland, the leadei of the liberal party in France, going to the guillo- 
tine with the now famous words upon her lips, " Oh, Liberty, what 
crimes are committed in "thy name ! " The beautiful Charlotte Cor- 
day sealed with her life her belief in liberty, while Sophia Lapierre 
barely escaped the same fate ; though two men, Sieyes and Condorcet, 
in the midst of the French Revolution, proposed the recognition of 
woman's political rights. 

Frances Wright, a person of extraordinary powers of mind, born 
in Dundee, Scotland, in 1797, was the first woman who gave lectures 
on political subjects in America. When sixteen years of age she 
heard of the existence of a country in which freedom for the peo- 
ple had been proclaimed ; she was filled with joy and a determina- 
tion to visit the American Republic where the foundations of jus- 
tice, liberty, and equality had been so securely laid. In 1820 she 
came here, traveling extensively North and South. She was at that 
time but twenty -two years of age. Her letters gave Europeans the 
iirst true knowledge of America, and secured for her the friendship 
of LaFayette. Upon her second visit she made this country her 
home for several years. Her radical ideas on theology, slavery, and 
the social degradation of woman, now generally accepted by the best 
minds of the age, were then denounced by both press and pulpit, 
.and maintained by her at the risk of her life. Although the Gov- 
ernment of the United States was framed on the basis of entire 
separation of Church and State, yet from an early day the theologi- 
cal spirit had striven to unite the two, in order to strengthen the 
Church by its' union with the civil power. As early as 1828, the 
.standard of " The Christian Party in Politics" was openly unfurled. 
Frances Wright had long been aware of its insidious efforts, and its 
reliance upon women for its support. Ignorant, superstitious, de- 
vout, woman's general lack of education made her a fitting instru- 
ment for the work of thus undermining the republic. Having de- 
prived her of her just rights, the country was now to find in woman 
its most dangerous foe. Frances Wright lectured that winter in the 

36 History of Woman Suffrage. 

large cities of the West and Middle States, striving to rouse the 
nation to the new danger which threatened it. The clergy at once 
became her most bitter opponents. The cry of " infidel " was started 
on every side, though her work was of vital importance to the coun- 
try and undertaken from the purest philanthropy. In speaking of 
her persecutions she said : " The injury and inconvenience of every 
kind and every hour to which, in these days, a really consistent re- 
former stands exposed, none can conceive but those who experience 
them. Such become, as it were, excommunicated after the fashion of 
the old Catholic Mother Church, removed even from the protection 
of law, such as it is, and from the sympathy of society, for whose 
sake they consent to be crucified." 

Among those who were advocating the higher education of 
women, Mrs. Emma "Willard became noted at this period. Born 
with a strong desire for learning, she keenly felt the educational 
disadvantages of her sex. She began teaching at an early day, in- 
troducing new studies and new methods in her school, striving to 
secure public interest in promoting woman's education. Governor 
Clinton, of New York, impressed with the wisdom of her plans, in- 
vited her to move her school from Connecticut to New York. She 
accepted, and in 1819 established a school in Watervleit, which soon 
moved to Troy, and in time built up a great reputation. Through 
the influence of Governor Clinton, the Legislature granted a portion 
of the educational fund to endow 7 this institution, which was the 
first instance in the United States of Government aid for the edu- 
cation of women. Amos B. Eaton, Professor of the Natural Sci- 
ences in the Rensselaer Institute, Troy, at this time, was Mrs. Wil- 
lard's faithful friend and teacher. In the early days it was her 
custom, in introducing a new branch of learning into her seminary, 
to study it herself, reciting to Professor Eaton every evening the 
lesson of the next day. Thus she went through botany, chemistry, 
mineralogy, astronomy, and the higher mathematics. As she could 
not aiford teachers for these branches, with faithful study she fitted 
herself. Mrs. Willard's w r as the first girls' school in which the higher 
mathematics formed part of the course, but such was the prejudice 
ag;iin>t a liberal education for woman, that the first public examina- 
tion of a girl in geometry (1829) created as bitter a storm of ridi- 
cule as lias siiuM- availed women who have entered the law, the pul- 
pit, or the medical profession. The derision attendant upon the 
experiment of advancing woman's education, led ( Governor Clinton 
to say in his niexaire to the Legislature: "I trust you will not be 
deterred by commonplace ridicule from extending your munificence 

Preceding Causes. 37 

to this meritorious institution." At a school convention in Syra- 
cuse, 1845, Mrs. "Willard suggested the employment of women as 
superintendents of public schools, a measure since adopted in many 
States. She also projected the system of normal schools for the 
higher education of teachers. A scientific explorer as well as stu- 
dent, she wrote a work on the " Motive Power in the Circulation 
of the Blood," in contradiction to Harvey's theory, which at once 
attracted the attention of medical men. This work was one of the 
then accumulating evidences of woman's adaptation to medical 

In Ancient Egypt the medical profession was in the hands of 
women, to which we may attribute that country's almost entire ex- 
emption from infantile diseases, a fact which recent discoveries fully 
authenticate. The enormous death-rate of young children in mod- 
ern ci\ 7 ilized countries may be traced to woman's general enforced 
ignorance of the laws of life, and to the fact that the profession of 
medicine has been too exclusively in the hands of men. Though 
through the dim past we find women still making discoveries, and 
in the feudal ages possessing knowledge of both medicine and sur- 
gery, it is but recently that they have been welcomed as practition- 
ers into the medical profession. Looking back scarcely a hundred 
years, we find science much indebted to woman for some of its most 
brilliant discoveries. In 1736, the first medical botany was given to 
the world by Elizabeth Blackwell, a woman physician, whom the 
persecutions of her male compeers had cast into jail for debt. As 
Banyan prepared his "Pilgrim's Progress 1 ' between prison walls, so 
did Elizabeth Blackwell, no-wise disheartened, prepare her valuable 
aid to medical science under the same conditions. Lady Montague's 
discovery of a check to the small-pox, Madam Boivin's discovery of 
the hidden cause of certain hemorrhages, Madam de Coud ray's in- 
vention of the manikin, are among the notable steps which opened 
the way to the modern Elizabeth Blackwell, Harriot K. Hunt, Clem- 
ence S. Lozier, Ann Preston, Hannah Longshore, Marie Jackson, 
Laura Ross Wolcott, Marie Zakrzewska, and Mary Putnam Jacobi, 
who are some of the earlier distinguished American examples of 
woman's skill in the healing art. 

Mary Gove Nichols gave public lectures upon anatomy in the 
United States in 1838. Paulina "Wright (Davis) followed her upon 
physiology in 1844, using a manikin in her illustrations.* Mari- 

* As showing woman's ignorance and prejudice, Mrs. Davis used to relate that when 
she uncovered her manikin some ladies would drop their veils because of its indelicacy, 
and others would run from the room ; sometimes ladies even fainted. 

38 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ana Johnson followed Mrs. Davis, but it was 1848 before Elizabeth 
Blackwell the first woman to pass through the regular course of 
medical study received her diploma at Geneva.* In 1845-6, pre- 
ceding Miss iilackwell's course of study, Dr. Samuel Gregory and his 
brother George issued pamphlets advocating the education and em- 
ployment of women-physicians, and, in 1847, Dr. Gregory delivered 
a series of lectures in Boston upon that subject, followed in 1848 by a 
school numbering twelve ladies, and an association entitled the "Amer- 
ican Female Medical Education Society." In 1832, Lydia Maria Child 
published her " History of Woman," which was the first American 
storehouse of information upon the whole question, and undoubtedly 
increased the agitation. In 1836, Ernestine L. Kose, a Polish lady 
banished from her native country by the Austrian tyrant, Francis 
Joseph, for her love of liberty came to America, lecturing in the 
large cities North and South upon the " Science of Government." 
She advocated the enfranchisement of woman. Her beauty, wit, and 
eloquence drew crowded houses. About this period Judge Hurlbut, 
of Xew York, a leading member of the Bar, wrote a vigorous work 
on u Human Rights,"f in which he advocated political equality for 
women. This work attracted the attention of many legal minds 
throughout that State. In the winter of 1836, a bill was introduced 
into the New York Legislature by Judge Hertell, to secure to mar- 
ried women their rights of property. This bill was drawn up under 
the direction of Hon. John Savage, Chief-Justice of the Supreme 
Court, and lion. John C. Spencer, one of the revisers of the statutes 
of New York. It was in furtherance of this bill that Ernestine L. 
Hose and Paulina Wright at that early day circulated petitions. The 
very few names they secured show the hopeless apathy and igno- 
rance of the women as to their own rights. As similar bills $ were 
pending in Xew York until finally passed in 1848, a great educa- 
tional work was accomplished in the constant discussion of the topics 
involved. During the winters of 1844-5-6, Elizabeth Cady Stan- 

* The writer's father, a physician, as early as 1843-4, canvassed the subject of giv- 
ing his daughter (Matilda Jo.-lyn (iage) a medical education, looking to Geneva then 
I.n >ided over by his old instructor -to open its doors to her. But this bold idea was 
dropped, and Miss Blaekwdl was the lir-t. and only lady who was graduated from that 
institution until its incorporat'on with the Syracuse University and the removal of the 
college to thiit city. 

t Judge Hnrlbnt, with a lawyer's prejudice, first pivparrd a paper against the rights of 
woman. Looking it ,v r. h> MISV himself able to answer every argument, which he pro- 
ceeded to do the result being bis " Unman Rights." 

Jin the N. -w York chapter a fuller account of the discussion and action upon these 
bills will be given. 

Preceding Causes. 39 

ton, living in Albany, made the acquaintance of Judge Hurlbut and 
a large circle of lawyers and legislators, and, while exerting herself 
to strengthen their convictions in favor of the pending bill, she re- 
solved at no distant day to call a convention for a full and free 
discussion of woman's rights and wrongs. 

In 1828, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, daughters of a wealthy 
planter of Charleston, South Carolina, emancipated their slaves and 
came North to lecture on the evils of slavery, leaving their home 
and native place forever because of their hatred of this wrong. An- 
gelina was a natural orator. Fresh from the land of bondage, there 
was a fervor in her speech that electrified her hearers and drew 
crowds wherever she went. Sarah published a book reviewing the 
Bible arguments the clergy were then making in their pulpits to 
prove that the degradation of the slave and woman were alike in har- 
mony with the expressed will of God. Thus women from the be- 
ginning took an active part in the Anti-Slavery struggle. They circu- 
lated petitions, raised large sums of money by fairs, held prayer- 
meetings and conventions. In 1835, Angelina wrote an able letter 
to William Lloyd Garrison, immediately after the Boston mob. These 
letters and appeals were considered very effective abolition docu- 

In May, 1837, a National Woman's Anti-Slavery Convention was 
held in New York, in which eight States were represented by seventy- 
one delegates. The meetings were ably sustained through two days. 
The different sessions were opened by prayer and reading of the 
Scriptures by the women themselves. A devout, earnest spirit pre- 
vailed. The debates, resolutions, speeches, and appeals were fully 
equal to those in any Convention held by men of that period. An- 
gelina Grimke was appointed by this Convention to prepare an 
appeal for the slaves to the people of the free States, and a letter to 
John Quincy Adams thanking him for his services in defending the 
right of petition for women and slaves, qualified with the regret that 
by expressing himself " adverse to the abolition of slavery in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia," he did not sustain the cause of freedom and of 
God. She wrote a stirring appeal to the Christian women of the 
South, urging them to use their influence against slavery. Sarah 
also wrote an appeal to the clergy of the South, conjuring them to 
use their power for freedom. 

Among those who took part in these conventions we find the 
names of Lydia Maria Child, Mary Grove, Henrietta Sargent, Sarah 
Pugh, Abby Kelley, Mary S. Parker, of Boston, who was president 
of the Convention ; Anne Webster, Deborah Shaw, Martha Storrs, 

40 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Mrs. A. L. Cox, Rebecca B. Spring, and Abigail Hopper Gibbons, a 
da lighter of that noble Quaker philanthropist, Isaac T. Hopper. 

Abby Kelley was the most untiring and the most persecuted of 
all the women who labored throughout the Anti-Slavery struggle. 
She traveled up and down, alike in winter's cold and summer's heat, 
with scorn, ridicule, violence, and mobs accompanying her, suffering 
all kinds of persecutions, still speaking whenever and wherever she 
gained an audience; in the open air, in school-house, barn, depot, 
church, or public hall; on week-day or Sunday, as she found oppor- 
tunity. For listening to her, on Sunday, many men and women 
were expelled from their churches. Thus through continued perse- 
cution was woman's self-assertion and self-respect sufficiently de- 
veloped to prompt her at last to demand justice, liberty, and equality 
for herself. 

In 1840, Margaret Fuller published an essay in the Dial, entitled 
" The Great Lawsuit, or Man vs. Woman : Woman vs. Man." In 
this essay she demanded perfect equality for woman, in education, 
industry, and politics. It attracted great attention and was afterward 
expanded into a work entitled " Woman in the Nineteenth Cent- 
ury." This, with her parlor conversations, on art, science, religion, 
politics, philosophy, and social life, gave a new impulse to woman's 
education as a thinker.* 

" Woman and her Era," by Eliza Woodson Farnham, was another 
work that called out a general discussion on the status of the sexes, 
Mrs. Farnham taking the ground of woman's superiority. The great 
social and educational work done by her in California, when society 
there was chiefly male, and rapidly tending to savagism, and her 
humane experiment in the Sing Sing (N. Y.), State Prison, as- 
sisted by Georgiana Bruce Kirby and Mariana Johnson, are worthy 
of mention. 

In the State of New York, in 1845, Rev. Samuel J". May preach- 
i sermon at Syracuse, upon " The Rights and Conditions of 
WomcMi," in which he sustained their right to take part in political 
life, saying women need not expect u to have their wrongs fully re- 
dresa 1, until they themselves have a voice and a hand in the enact- 
ment and administration of the laws." 

In 1847, Clarina Howard Nichols, in her husband's paper, ad- 
aed to the voters of the State of Vermont a series of editorials, 
setting forth the injustice of the property disabilities of married 

In 1840, Lurn-tia Mott published a .!' ..n woman, delivered 

* See A]>i'iidix 

Preceding Causes. 41 

in the Assembly Building, Philadelphia, in answer to a Lyceum 
lecture which Richard II. Dana, of Boston, was giving in many of 
the chief cities, ridiculing the idea of political equality for woman. 
Elizabeth Wilson, of Ohio, published a scriptural view of woman's 
rights and duties far in advance of the generally received opinions. 
At even an earlier day, Martha Bradstreet, of Utica, plead her own 
case in the courts of New York, continuing her contest for many 
years. The temperance reform and the deep interest taken in it by 
women ; the effective appeals they made, setting forth their wrongs 
as mother, wife, sister, and daughter of the drunkard, with a power 
K'vond that of man, early gave them a local place on this platform 
as a favor, though denied as a right. Delegates from woman's so- 
cieties to State and National conventions invariably found themselves 
rejected. It was her early labors in the temperance cause that first 
roused Susan B. Anthony to a realizing sense of woman's social, 
civil, and political degradation, and thus secured her life-long labors 
for the enfranchisement of woman. In 1847 she made her first 
speech at a public meeting of the Daughters of Temperance in 
Canajoharie, K. Y. The same year Antoinette L. Brown, then a 
student at Oberlin College, Ohio, the first institution that made the 
experiment of co-education, delivered her first speech on temperance 
in several places in Ohio, and on Woman's Rights, in the Baptist 
church at Henrietta, ]ST. Y. Lucy Stone, a graduate of Oberlin, 
made her first speech on Woman's Rights the same year in her 
brother's church at Brookfield, Mass. 

Xor were the women of Europe inactive during these years. In 
1824 Elizabeth Heyrick, a Quaker woman, cut the gordian knot of 
difficulty in the anti-slavery struggle in England, by an able essay in 
favor of immediate, unconditional emancipation. At Leipsic, in 1844, 
Helene Marie Weber her father a Prussian officer, and her mother 
an English woman wrote a series of ten tracts on " Woman's Rights 
and Wrongs," covering the whole question and making a volume of 
over twelve hundred pages. The first of these treated of the in- 
tellectual faculties; the second, woman's rights of property; the 
third, wedlock deprecating the custom of woman merging her civil 
existence in that of her husband ; the fourth claimed woman's right 
to all political emoluments; the fifth, on ecclesiasticism, demanded 
for woman an entrance to the pulpit; the sixth, upon suffrage, de- 
clared it to be woman's right and duty to vote. These essays were 
strong, vigorous, and convincing. Miss Weber also lectured in Yi- 
enna, Berlin, and several of the large German cities. In England, 
Lady Morgan's " Woman and her Master " appeared ; a work filled 

42 History of Woman Suffrage. 

'with philosophical reflections, and of the same general bearing as 
Miss Welter's. Also an "Appeal of Women," the joint work of 
Mrs. Wheeler and William Thomson a strong and vigorous essay, 
in which woman's limitations under the law were tersely and pun- 
gently set forth and her political rights demanded. The active part 
women took in the Polish and German revolutions and in favor 
of the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, all taught 
their lessons of woman's rights. Madam Mathilde Anneke, on the 
staff of her husband, with Hon. Carl Schurz, carried messages to 
and fro in the midst of danger on the battle-fields of Germany. 

Thus over the civilized world we find the same impelling forces, 
and general development of society, without any individual concert 
of action, tending to the same general result; alike rousing the 
minds of men and women to the aggregated wrongs of centuries 
and inciting to an effort for their overthrow. 

The works of George Sancl, Frederika Bremer, Charlotte Bronte, 
George Eliot, Catharine Sedgwick, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, in 
literature; Mrs. Hemans, Mrs. Sigourney, Elizabeth Barrett Brown- 
ing, in poetry ; Angelica Kauff man, Kosa Bonheur, Harriet Hosmer, 
in art; Mary Sorrier ville, Caroline Herschell, Maria Mitchell, in 
science ; Elizabeth Fry, Dorothea Dix, Mary Carpenter, in prison 
reform ; Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton in the camp are all 
parts of the great uprising of women out of the lethargy of the 
past, and are among the forces of the complete revolution a thousand 
pens and voices herald at this hour. 



Ix newspaper literature woman made her entrance at an early pe- 
riod and in an important manner. The first daily newspaper in the 
world was established and edited by a woman, Elizabeth Mallet, in 
London, March, 1702. It was called The Daily Courant. In her 
salutatory, Mrs. Mallet declared she had established her paper to 
" spare the public at least half the impertinences which the ordinary 
papers contain." Thus the first daily paper was made reformatory 
in its character by its wise woman-founder. 

The first newspaper printed in Rhode Island was by Anna Frank- 
lin in 1732. She was printer to the colony, supplied blanks to the 
public officers, published pamphlets, etc., and in 1745 she printed for 
the colonial government an edition of the laws comprising three 
hundred and forty pages. She was aided by her two daughters, who 
were correct and quick compositors. The woman servant of the 
house usually worked the press. The third paper established in 
America was The Mercury, in Philadelphia. After the death of 
its founder, in 1742, it was suspended for a week, when his widow, 
Mrs. Cornelia Bradford, revived it and earned it on for many years, 
making it both a literary and a pecuniary success. The second news- 
paper started in the city of New York, entitled the New York 
Weekly Journal, was conducted by Mrs. Zeuger for years after the 
death of her husband. She discontinued its publication in 1748. 
The Maryland' Gazette, the first paper in that colony, and among 
the oldest in America, was established by Anna K. Greene in 1767. 
She did the colony printing and continued the business till her 
death, in 1775. Mrs. Hassebatch also established a paper in Balti- 
more in 1773. Mrs. Mary K. Goddard published the Maryland 
Journal for eight years. Her editorials were of so spirited and pro- 
nounced a character that only her sex saved her from sound flog- 
gings. She took in job work. She was the first postmaster after the 
Revolution, holding the office for eight years. Two papers were 


44 History of Woman Suffrage. 

earlv published in Virginia by women. Each was established in 
Williamsburg, and each was called The Virginia Gazette. The 
fhvt, started by Clementina Reid, in 1772, favored the Colonial 
cause, giving great offense to many royalists. To counteract its in- 
fluence, Mrs. H. Boyle, of the same place, started another paper in 
1774, in the interests of the Crown, and desirous that it should seem 
to represent the true principles of the colony, she borrowed the 
name of the colonial paper. It lived but a short time. The Co- 
lonial Virginia Gazette was the first paper in which was printed the 
Declaration of Independence. A synopsis was given July 19th, 
ami the whole document the 26th. Mrs. Elizabeth Timothee pub- 
lished a paper in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1773 to 1775, 
called The Gazette. Anna Timothee revived it after the Revolution, 
and was appointed printer to the State, holding the office till 1792. 
Mary Crouch also published a paper in Charleston, S. C., until 
1780. It was founded in special opposition to the Stamp Act. She 
afterward removed to Salem, Mass., and continued its publication 
for several years. Penelope Russell printed The Censor in Boston, 
Mass., in 17Y1. She set her own type, and was such a ready com- 
positor as to set up her editorials without written copy, while work- 
ing at her case. The most tragical and interesting events were thus 
recorded by her. The first paper published in America, living to a 
second issue, was the Massachusetts Gazette and North Boston 
News Letter. It was continued by Mrs. Margaret Draper, two years 
after the death of her husband, and was the only paper of spirit in 
the colony, all but hers suspending publication when Boston was be- 
sieged by the British. Mrs. Sarah Goddard printed a paper at New- 
port, R. I., in 1776. She was a well-educated woman, and versed 
in general literature. Eor two years she conducted her journal with 
great ability, afterward associating John Carter with her, under the 
name of Sarah Goddard & Co., retaining the partnership precedence 
so justly belonging to her. The Courant at Hartford, Ct., was edit- 
ed for two years by Mrs. Watson, after the death of her husband, 
in 1777. In 1784 Mrs. Mary Holt edited and published the New 
YrTt Journal^ continuing the business several years. She was ap- 
pointed State printer. In 1798, The Journal and Argus fell into 
the hands of Mrs. Greenleaf, who for some time published both a 
daily and semi-weekly edition. In Philadelphia, after the death of 
her father in 1802, Mrs. Jane Aitkins continued his business of 
printing. Her press-work bore high reputation. She was specially 
noted for her CO - in proof-reading. The Free Enquirer, 

edited in New York by France- Wright in 1828, "was the first pe- 

Woman in Neivspapers. 45 

riodical established in the United States for the purpose of fearless 
and unbiased inquiry on all subjects." It had already been published 
two years under the name of The New Harmony Gazette, in Indi- 
ana, by Robert Dale Owen, for which Mrs. Wright had written 
many leading editorials, and in which she published serially " A Few 
1 >ays in Athens.' 7 

!':ih Josepha Hale established a ladies' magazine in Boston in 
lM'7, which she afterward removed to Philadelphia, there associat- 
ing with herself Louis Godey, and assuming the editorship of God- 
ey's Lady's Book. This magazine was followed by many others, of 
which Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Ellet, Mrs. Sigourney, and 
women of like character were editors or contributors. These early 
magazines published many steel and colored engravings, not only of 
fashions, but reproductions of works of art, giving the first impor- 
tant impulse to the art of engraving in this country. 

Many other periodicals and papers by women now appeared over 
the country. Mrs. Anne Royal edited for a quarter of a century a 
paper called The Huntress. In 1827 Lydia Maria Child published a 
paper for children called The Juvenile Miscellany, and in 1841 as- 
sumed the editorship of The Anti-Slavery Standard, in New York, 
which she ably conducted for eight years. The Dial, in Boston, a 
transcendental quarterly, edited by Margaret Fuller, made its ap- 
pearance in 1840 ; its contributors, among whom were Ralph Waldo 
Emerson, Bron son Alcott, Theodore Parker, Win. H. Charming, and 
the nature-loving Thoreau, were some of the most profound think- 
ers of the time. Charlotte Fowler Wells, the efficient coadjutor of 
her brothers and husband for the last forty-two years in the manage- 
ment of The Phrenological Journal and Publishing House of Fow- 
ler & Wells in New York city, and since her husband's death in. 
1875 the sole proprietor and general manager, has also conducted an 
extensive correspondence and written occasional articles for the 
Journal. The Lowell Offering^ edited by the " mill girls " of that 
manufacturing town, was established in 1840, and exercised a wide 
influence. It lived till 1849. Its articles were entirely written by 
the girl operatives, among whom may be mentioned Lucy Larcom, 
Margaret Foley, the sculptor, who recently died in Rome ; Lydia S. 
Hall, who at one time filled an important clerkship in the United 
States Treasury, and Harriet J. Hansan, afterward the wife of W. 
S. Robinson (Warrington), and herself one of the present workers 
in Woman Suffrage. Harriet F. Curtis, author of two popular nov- 
els, and Harriet Farley, both " mill girls," had entire editorial charge 
during the latter part of its existence. In Yermont, Clarina How- 

46 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ard Nichols edited the Windham County Democrat from 1843 to 
1853. It was a political paper of a pronounced character; her hus- 
band was the publisher. Jane G. Swisshelm edited The Saturday 
Visitor, at Pittsbnrg, Pa., in 1848. Also the same year The True 
Kindred appeared, by Rebecca Sanford, at Akron, Ohio. The Lily, a 
temperance monthly, was started in Seneca Falls, N. Y., in 1849, by 
Amelia Bloomer, as editor and publisher. It also advocated Wom- 
an's Rights, and attained a circulation in nearly every State and 
Territory of the Union. The Sybil soon followed, Dr. Lydia Say re 
Hasbrook, editor ; also The Pledge of Honor, edited by IS". M. Ba- 
ker and E. Maria Sheldon, Adrian, Michigan. 

In 1849, Die Frauen Zeitung, edited by Mathilde Franceska An- 
neke, was published in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1850, Lydia Jane 
Pierson edited a column of the Lancaster (Pa.) Gazette ; Mrs. Prewett 
edited the Yazoo (Miss.) Whig, in Mississippi ; and Mrs. Sheldon the 
Dollar Weekly. In 1851, J ulia Ward Howe edited, with her husband, 
The Commonwealth, a newspaper dedicated to free thought, and zeal- 
ous for the liberty of the slave. In 1851, Mrs. C. C. Bentley was e.ditor 
of the Concord Free Press, in Vermont, and Elizabeth Aldrich of 
the Genius of Liberty, in Ohio. In 1852, Anna W. Spencer started 
the Pioneer and Woman's Advocate, in Providence, R. I. Its mot- 
to was, " Liberty, Truth, Temperance, Equality." It was published 
semi-monthly, and advocated a better education for woman, a higher 
price for her labor, the opening of new industries. It was the earliest 
paper established in the United States for the advocacy of Wom- 
an's Rights. In 1853, The Una, a paper devoted to the enfran- 
chisement of woman, owned and edited by Paulina Wright Davis, 
was first published in Providence, but afterward removed to Boston, 
where Caroline H. Dall became associate editor. In 1855, Anna 
McDowell founded The Woman's Advocate in Philadelphia, a paper 
in which, like that of Mrs. Anna Franklin, the owner, editor, and 
compositors were all women. About this period many well-known 
literary women filled editorial chairs. Grace Greenwood started a 
child's paper called The Little Pilgrim ; Mrs. Bailey conducted the 
/:'/<(, an anti-slavery paper, in Washington, D. C., after her hus- 
band's death. 

In 1868, The Revolution, a pronounced Woman's Rights paper, 
was started in New York city ; Susan B. Anthony, publisher and 
proprietor, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury, editors. 
Its motto, " Principles, not policy; justice, not favor; men, their 
rights and nothing more; w.nnen, their rights and nothing less." 
In isTo it p;issi-d into the hands of Laura Curtis Bullard, who edited 

Woman in Newspapers. 47 

it two years with the assistance of Phebe Carey and Augusta Larned, 
and in 1872 it found consecrated burial in The Liberal Christian, 
the leading Unitarian paper in New York. From the advent of The 
Revolution can be dated a new era in the woman suffrage movement. 
Its brilliant, aggressive columns attracted the comments of the press, 
and drew the attention of the country to the reform so ably advo- 
cated. Many other papers devoted to the discussion of woman's en- 
franchisement soon arose. In 1869, The Pioneer, in San Francisco, 
Cal., Emily Pitts Stevens, editor and proprietor. The Woman's 
Ail cocate, at Dayton, O., A. J. Boyer and Miriam M. Cqle, editors, 
started the same year. The Sorosis and The Agitator, in Chicago, 
111., the latter owned and edited by Mary A. Livermore, and The 
Woman's Advocate, in New York, were all alike short-lived. 
L'Amerique, a semi-weekly French paper published in Chicago, 111., 
by Madam Jennie d'Hericourt, and Die NeueZeit, a German paper, 
in New York, by Mathilde F. Wendt, this same year, show the in- 
terest of our foreign women citizens in the cause of their sex. In 
1870, The Woman's Journal was founded in Boston, Lucy Stone, 
Julia Ward Howe, and Henry B. Blackwell, editors. Woodhull and 
CLaJltn's Weekly, an erratic paper, advocating many new ideas, was 
established in New York by Victoria "Woodhull and Tennie C. 
Claflin, editors and proprietors. The New Northviest, in Portland, 
Oregon, in 1871, Abigail Scott Duniway, editor and proprietor. The 
Golden Dawn, at San Francisco, Cal., in 1876, Mrs. Boyer, editor. 

The Ballot-Box was started in 1876, at Toledo, O., Sarah Lang- 
don Williams, editor, under the auspices of the city Woman's Suf- 
frage Association. It was moved to Syracuse in 1878, and is now ed- 
ited by Matilda Joslyn Gage, under the name of The National Citizen 
and Ballot-Box, as an exponent of the views of the National Woman 
Suffrage Association. Its motto, " Self-government is a natural right, 
and the ballot is the method of exercising that right." Laura de 
Force Gordon for some years edited a daily democratic paper in Cal- 
if ornia. In opposition to this large array of papers demanding equal- 
ity for woman, a solitary little monthly was started a few years since, 
in Baltimore, Md., under the auspices of Mrs. General Sherman and 
Mrs. Admiral Dahlgren. It was called The True Woman, but soon 
died of inanition and inherent weakness of constitution. 

In the Exposition of 1876, in Philadelphia, the New Century, 
edited and published under the auspices of the Woman's Centen- 
nial Committee, was made-up and printed by women on a press of 
their own, in the Woman's Pavilion. In 1877 Mrs. Theresa Lewis 
started Woman's Words in Philadelphia. For some time, Pentield, 

48 History of. Woman Suffrage. 

1ST. Y., boasted its thirteen-year-old girl editor, in Miss Nellie 
Williams. Her paper, the Penfield Enterprise, was for three years 
written, set up, and published by herself. It attained a circulation 
of three thousand. 

Many foreign papers devoted to woman's interests have been 
established within the last few years. The Women's Suffrage 
Journal, in England, Lydia E. Becker, of Manchester, editor 
and proprietor ; the Englishwoman's Journal, in London, edited 
by Caroline Ashurst Biggs ; Woman and Work and the Victoria 
Magazine, by Emily Faithful, are among the number. Miss 
Faithful's magazine having attained a circulation of fifty thousand. 
Des Droits des Femmes, long the organ of the Swiss woman 
suffragists, Madame Marie Goegg, the head, was followed by the 
Solidarite. EAvenir des Femmes, edited by M. Leon Richer, has 
Mile. Maria Dairesmes, the author of a spirited reply to the work 
of ,M. Dumas, fits, on Woman, as its special contributor. UEs- 
perance, of Geneva, an Englishwoman its editor, was an early ad- 
vocate of woman's cause. La Donna, at Venice, edited by Signora 
Gualberti Alaide Beccari (a well-known Italian philanthropic 
name) ; La Cornelia, at Florence, Signora Amelia Cunino Foliero 
de Luna, editor, prove Italian advancement. Germany, Spain, and 
the Netherlands must not be omitted from the list of those coun- 
tries which have published Woman's Rights papers. In Lima, Peru, 
we find a paper edited and controlled entirely by women ; its name, 
Alborada, i. c., the Dawn, a South American prophecy and herald 
of that dawn of justice and equality now breaking upon the world. 
The Orient, likewise, shows progress. At Bukarest, in Romaine, 
a paper, the Dekebalos, upholding the elevation of woman, was 
started in 1874. The Euridike, at Constantinople, edited by Emile 
Leonzras, is of a similar character. The Bengalee Magazine, de- 
voted to the interests of Indian ladies, its editorials all from wom- 
an's pen, shows Asiatic advance. 

In the United States the list of women's fashion papers, with 
their women editors and correspondents, is numerous and important. 
For fourteen years Harper's Bazaar has been ably edited by Mary 
L. Booth ; other papers of similar character are both owned and 
edited by women. Madame Demorestfs Monthly, a paper that 
originated the vast pattern business which has extended its rami- 
fications into every part of the country and given employment to 
thousands of women. As illustrative of woman's continuity of 
purpose in newspaper work, we may mention the fact that for fifteen 
years Fanny Fern did not fail to have an article in readiness each 

Woman in Newspapers. 49 

week for the Ledger ', and for twenty years Jennie J une (Mrs. Croly) 
has edited DemoresVs Monthly and contributed to many other pa- 
pers throughout the United States. Mary Mapes Dodge has edited 
the St. Nicholas the past eight years. So important a place do 
women writers hold, Harper's Monthly asserts, that the exceptionally 
large prices are paid to women contributors. The spiciest critics, 
reporters, and correspondents to-day, are women Grace Greenwood 
Louise Chandler Moulton, Mary Clemmer. Laura C. Holloway is 
upon the editorial staff of the Brooklyn Eagle. The New York Times 
boasts a woman (Midi Morgan) cattle reporter, one of the best judges 
of stock in the country. In some papers, over their own names, 
women edit columns on special subjects, and fill important positions 
on journals owned and edited by men. Elizabeth Boynton Harbert 
edits "The Woman's Kingdom" in the Inter-Ocean, one of the 
leading dailies of Chicago. Mary Forney "Weigley edits a social 
department in her father's John W. Forney paper, the Progress, 
in Philadelphia. The political columns of many papers are prepared 
by women, men often receiving the credit. Among the best edito- 
rials in the New York Tribune, from Margaret Fuller to Lucia 
Gilbert Calhoun, have been from the pens of women. 

If the proverb that " the pen is mightier than the sword " be 
true, woman's skill and force in using this mightier weapon must 
soon change the destinies of the world. 



Individualism rather than Authority Personal appearance of Abolitionists Clerical 
attempt to silence Woman Double battle against the tyranny of sex and color- 
Bigoted Abolitionists James G. Birney likes freedom on a Southern plantation, but 
not at his own fireside John Bull never dreamt that Woman would answer his call 
The venerable Thomas Clarkson received by the Convention standing Lengthy 
debate on " Female " delegates The " Females " rejected William Lloyd Garrison 
refused to sit in the Convention. 

IN gathering up the threads of history in the last century, and 
weaving its facts and philosophy together, one can trace the liberal 
social ideas, growing out of the political and religious revolutions 
in France Germany, Italy, and America ; and their tendency to 
suostitute lor the divine right of kings, priests, and orders of nobil- 
ity, the higher and broader one of individual conscience and judg- 
ment in all matters pertaining to this life and that which is to come. 
It is not surprising that in so marked a transition period from the 
old to the new, as seen in the eighteenth century, that women, 
trained to think and write and speak, should have discovered that 
they, too, had some share in the new-bom liberties suddenly an- 
nounced to the world. That the radical political theories, propa- 
gated in different countries, made their legitimate impress on the 
minds of women of the highest culture, is clearly proved by their 
writings and conversation. While in their ignorance, women are 
usually more superstitious, more devoutly religious than men ; those 
trained to thought, have generally manifested more interest in po- 
litical questions, and have more frequently spoken and written on 
such themes, than on those merely religious. This may be attrib- 
uted, in a measure, to the fact that the tendency of woman's mind, 
at this stage of her development, is toward practical, rather than 
toward speculative science. 

Questions of political economy lie within the realm of positive 
knowledge ; those of theology belong to the world of mysteries and 
abstractions, which those minds, only, that imagine they have com- 
passed the known, are ambitious to enter and explore. And yet, the 

Individualism rather than Authority. 51 

quickening power of the Protestant 'Reformation roused woman, as 
well as man, to new and higher thought. The bold declarations 
of Luther, placing individual judgment above church authority, the 
faith of the Quaker that the inner light was a better guide than 
arbitrary law, the religious idealism of the Transcendentalists, and 
their teachings that souls had no sex, had each a marked influence in 

O 7 

developing woman's self-assertion. Such ideas making all divine 
revelations as veritable and momentous to one soul, as another, 
tended directly to equalize the members of the human family, and 
place men and women on the same plane of moral responsibility. 

The revelations of science, too, analyzing and portraying the won- 
ders and beauties of this material world, crowned with new dignity, 
man and woman, Nature's last and proudest work. Combe and 
Spurzheim, proving by their Phrenological discoveries that the 
feelings, sentiments, and affections of the soul mould and shape the 
: skull, gave new importance to woman's thought as mother of the 
race. Thus each new idea in religion, politics, science, and phi- 
losophy, tending to individualism, rather than authority, came into 
.the world freighted with new hopes of liberty for woman. 

And when in the progress of civilization the time had fully come 
for the recognition of the feminine element in humanity, women, 
in every civilized country unknown to each other, began simulta- 
neously to demand a broader sphere of action. Thus the first public 
demand for political equality by a body of women in convention 
.assembled, was a link in the chain of woman's development, binding 
the future with the past, as complete and necessary in itself, as the 
-events of any other period of her history. The ridicule of facts does 
not change their character. Many who study the past with interest, 
.and see the importance of seeming trifles in helping forward great 
events, often fail to understand some of the best pages of history 
made under their own eyes. Hence the woman suffrage move- 
.ment has not yet been accepted as the legitimate outgrowth of 
.American ideas a component part of the history of our republic 
but is falsely considered the willful outburst of a few unbalanced 
;minds, whose ideas can never be realized under any form of govern- 

Among the immediate causes that led to the demand for the equal 
political rights of women, in this country, we may note three : 

1. The discussion in several of the State Legislatures on the prop- 
erty rights of married women, which, heralded by the press with 
..comments grave and gay, became the topic of general interest 
.-around many fashionable dinner- tables, and at many humble fire- 

52 History of Woman Suffrage. 

sides. In this way all phases of the question were touched upon, 
involving the relations of the sexes, and gradually widening to all 
human interests political, religious, civil, and social. The press 
and pulpit became suddenly vigilant in marking out woman's 
sphere, while woman herself seemed equally vigilant in her efforts 
to step outside the prescribed limits. 

2. A great educational work was accomplished by the able lect- 
ures of Frances Wright, on political, religious, and social questions. 
Ernestine L. Eose, following in her wake, equally liberal in her 
religious opinions, and equally well informed on the science of 
government, helped to deepen and perpetuate the impression 
Frances Wright had made on the minds of unprejudiced hearers. 

3. And above all other causes of the " Woman Suffrage Move- 
ment," was the Anti-Slavery struggle in this country. The ranks 
of the Abolitionists were composed of the most eloquent orators,, 
the ablest logicians, men and women of the purest moral character 
and best minds in the nation. They were usually spoken of in the 
early days as " an illiterate, ill-mannered, poverty-stricken, crazy set 
of long-haired Abolitionists." While the fact is, some of the most 
splendid specimens of manhood and womanhood, in physical appear- 
ance, in culture, refinement, and knowledge of polite life, were found 
among the early Abolitionists. James G. Birney, John Pierpont, 
Gerrit Smith, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, Maria Weston 
Chapman, Helen Garrison, Ann Green Phillips, Abby Kelly, Paul- 
ina Wright Davis, Lucretia Mott, were all remarkably fine-looking. 

In the early Anti-Slavery conventions, the broad principles of 
human rights were so exhaustively discussed, justice, liberty, and 
equality, so clearly taught, that the women who crowded to listen, 
readily learned the lesson of freedom for themselves, and early began 
to take part in the debates and business affairs of all associations. 
Woman not only felt every pulsation of man's heart for freedom, 
and by her enthusiasm inspired the glowing eloquence that main- 
tained him through the struggle, but earnestly advocated with her 
own lips human freedom and equality. When Angelina and Sarah 
Grimke began to lecture in New England, their audiences were at 
first composed entirely of women, but gentlemen, hearing of their 
eloquence and power, soon began timidly to slip into the back seats, 
one by one. And before the public were aroused to the dangerous 
innovation, these women were speaking in crowded, promiscuous 
assemblies. The clergy opposed to the abolition movement first 
took alarm, and issued a pastoral letter, warning their congrega- 
tions against the influence of such women. The clergy identified 

Clerical Attempt to Silence Women. 53 

with anti-slavery associations took alarm also, and the initiative steps 
to silence the women, and to deprive them of the right to vote in 
the business meetings, were soon taken. This action culminated in 
a division in the Anti-Slavery Association. In the annual meeting 
in May, 1S0, a formal vote was taken on the appointment of Abby 
Kelly on a business committee and was sustained by over one hun- 
dred majority in favor of woman's right to take part in the proceed- 
ings of the Society. Pending the discussion, clergymen in the 
opposition went through the audience, urging every woman who 
agreed with them, to vote against the motion, thus asking them to 
do then and there, what with fervid eloquence, on that very occasion, 
they had declared a sin against God and Scripture for them to do 
anywhere. As soon as the vote was announced, and Abby Kelly's 
right on the business committee decided, the men, two of whom 
were clergymen, asked to be excused from serving on the committee. 

Thus Sarah and Angelina Grimke and Abby Kelly, in advocating 
liberty for the black race, were early compelled to defend the right 
of free speech for themselves. They had the double battle to fight 
against the tyranny of sex and color at the same time, in which, 
however, they were well sustained by the able pens of Lydia Maria 
Child and Maria Weston Chapman. Their opponents were found 
not only in the ranks of the New England clergy, but among the 
most bigoted Abolitionists in Great Britain and the United States. 
Many a man who advocated equality most eloquently for a Southern 
plantation, could not tolerate it at his own fireside. 

The question of woman's right to speak, vote, and serve on com- 
mittees, not only precipitated the division in the ranks of the Ameri- 
can Anti-Slavery Society, in 1840, but it disturbed the peace of the 
"World's Anti-Slavery Convention, held that same year in London. 
The call for that Convention invited delegates from all Anti-Slavery 
organizations. Accordingly several American societies saw fit to 
send women, as delegates, to represent them in that august assem- 
bly. But after going three thousand miles to attend a World's Con- 
vention, it was discovered that women formed no part of the constit- 
uent elements of the moral world. In summoning the friends of 
the slave from all parts of the two hemispheres to meet in London, 
John Bull never dreamed that woman, too, would answer to his call. 
Imagine then the commotion in the conservative anti-slavery circles 
in England, when it was known that half a dozen of those terrible 
women who had spoken to promiscuous assemblies, voted on men 
and measures, prayed and petitioned against slavery, women who 
had been mobbed, ridiculed by the press, and denounced by the pul- 

54 History of Woman Suffrage. 

pit, who had been the cause of setting all American Abolitionists by 
the ears, and split their ranks asunder, were on their way to En- 
gland. Their fears of these formidable and belligerent women must 
have been somewhat appeased when Lucretia Mott, Sarah Pugh T 
Abby Kimber, Elizabeth Neal, Mary Grew, of Philadelphia, in 
modest Quaker costume, Ann Green Phillips, Emily Winslow, and 
Abby Southwick, of Boston, all women of refinement and education, 
and several, still in their twenties, landed at last on the soil of Great 
Britain. Many who had awaited their coming with much trepida- 
tion, gave a sigh of relief, on being introduced to Lucretia Mott,. 
learning that she represented the most dangerous elements in the 
delegation. The American clergymen who had landed a few days- 
before, had been busily engaged in fanning the English prejudices 
into active hostility against the admission of these women to th& 
Convention. In every circle of Abolitionists this was the theme,, 
and the discussion grew more bitter, personal, and exasperating 
every hour. 

The 12th of June dawned bright and beautiful on these discordant 
elements, and at an early hour anti-slavery delegates from different 
countries wended their way through the crooked streets of London 
to Freemasons' Hall. Entering the vestibule, little groups might be 
seen gathered here and there, earnestly discussing the best disposition 
to make of those women delegates from America. The excitement 
and vehemence of protest and denunciation could not have been 
greater, if the news had come that the French were about to invade 
England. In vain those obdurate women had been conjured to with- 
hold their credentials, and not thrust a question that must produce- 
such discord on the Convention. Lucretia Mott, in her calm, firm 
manner, insisted that the delegates had no disci etionary power in 
the proposed action, and the responsibility of accepting or rejecting 
them must rest on the Convention. 

At eleven o'clock, the spacious Hall being filled, the Convention 
was called to order. The venerable Thomas Clarkson, who was to- 
be President, on entering, was received by the large audience stand- 
ing ; owing to his feeble health, the chairman requested that there 
should be no other demonstrations. As soon as Thomas Clarkson. 
withdrew, Wendell Phillips made the following motion : 

" That a Committee of five be appointed to prepare a correct list of the 
members of this Convention, with instructions to include in such list 
all persons bearing credentials from any Anti-Slavery body." 

This motion at once opened the debate on the admission of women 

Women not Invited. 55 

Mr. Phillips : "When the call reached America we found that it was an 
invitation to the friends of the slave of every nation and of every clime. 
Massachusetts has for several years acted on the principle of admitting 
women to an equal seat with men, in the deliberative bodies of anti-slav- 
ery societies. "When the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society received that 
paper, it interpreted it, as it was its duty, in its broadest and most liberal 
sense. If there be any other paper, emanating from the Committee, lim- 
iting to one sex the qualification of membership, there is no proof; and, as 
an individual, I have no knowledge that such a paper ever reached Massa- 
chusetts. We stand here in consequence of your invitation, and know- 
ing our custom, as it must be presumed you did, we had a right to inter- 
pret "friends of the slave," to include women as well as men. In such 
circumstances, we do not think it just or equitable to that State, nor to 
America in general, that, after the trouble, the sacrifice, the self-devotion 
of a part of those who leave their families and kindred and occupations 
in their own land, to come three thousand miles to attend this World's 
Convention, they should be refused a place in its deliberations. 

One of the Committee who issued the call, said : As soon as we heard the 
liberal interpretation Americans had given to our first invitation, we 
issued another as early as Feb. 15. in which the description of those who 
are to form the Convention is set forth as consisting of " gentlemen." 

Dr. Bo wring: I think the custom of excluding females is more honored 
in its breach than in its observance. In this country sovereign rule is 
placed in the hands of a female, and one who has been exercising her 
great and benignant influence in opposing slavery by sanctioning, no 
doubt, the presence of her illustrious consort at an anti-slavery meet- 
ing. We are associated with a body of Christians (Quakers) who have 
given to their women a great, honorable, and religious prominence. I 
look upon this delegation from America as one of the most interesting, 
the most encouraging, and the most delightful symptoms of the times. 
I can not believe that we shall refuse to welcome gratefully the co-opera- 
tion which is offered us. 

The -Rev. J. Burnet, an Englishman, made a most touching appeal 
to the American ladies, to conform to English prejudices and cus- 
tom, so far as to withdraw their credentials, as it never did occur to 
the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society that they w r ere inviting 
ladies. It is better, said he, that this Convention should be dissolved 
at this moment than this motion should be adopted. 

The Rev. Henry Grew, of Philadelphia: The reception of women as a 
part of this Convention would, in the view of many, be not only a vio- 
lation of the customs of England, but of the ordinance of Almighty God, 
who has a right to appoint our services to His sovereign will. 

Rev. Eben Galusha, New York : In support of the other side of this 
question, reference has been made to your Sovereign. I most cordially 
approve of her policy and sound wisdom, and commend to the con- 
sideration of our American female friends who are so deeply interested 
in the subject, the example of your noble Queen, who by sanctioning her 

56 History of Woman Suffrage. 

consort, His Royal Highness Prince Albert, in taking the chair on an 
occasion not dissimilar to this, showed her sense of propriety by putting 
her Head foremost in an assembly of gentlemen. I have no objection to 
woman's being the neck to turn the head aright, but do not wish to see 
her assume the place of the head. 

George Bradburn, of Mass.: We are told that it would be outraging the 
customs of England to allow women to sit in this Convention. I have a 
great respect for the customs of old England. But I ask, gentlemen, if 
it be right to set up the customs and habits, not to say prejudices of En- 
glishmen, as a standard for the government on this occasion of Ameri- 
cans, and of persons belonging to several other independent nations. I 
can see neither reason nor policy in so doing. Besides, I deprecate the 
principle of the objection. In America it would exclude from our conven- 
tions all persons of color, for there customs, habits, tastes, prejudices, 
would be outraged by their admission. And I do not wish to be deprived 
of the aid of those who have done so much for this cause, for the pur- 
pose of gratifying any mere custom or prejudice. Women have furnished 
most essential aid in accomplishing what has been done in the State of 
Massachusetts. If, in the Legislature of that State, I have been able to do 
anything in furtherance of that cause, by keeping on my legs eight or 
ten hours day after day, it was mainly owing to the valuable assistance 
I derived from the women. And shall such women be denied seats in 
this Convention? My friend George Thompson, yonder, can testify to 
the faithful services rendered to this cause by those same women. He 
can tell you that when "gentlemen of property and standing" in "broad 
day " and "broadcloth," undertook to drive him from Boston, putting his 
life in peril, it was our women who made their own persons a bulwark of 
protection around him. And shall such women be refused seats here in 
a Convention seeking the emancipation of slaves throughout the world ? 
What a misnomer to call this a World's Convention of Abolitionists, 
when some of the oldest and most thorough-going Abolitionists in the 
world are denied the right to be represented in it by delegates of their 
own choice. 

And thus for the space of half an hour did Mr. Bradburn, six 
feet high and well-proportioned, with vehement gesticulations and 
voice of thunder, bombard the prejudices of England and the 
hypocrisies of America. 

George Thompson : I have listened to the arguments advanced on this 
side and on that side of this vexed question. I listened with profound 
attention to the arguments of Mr. Burnet, expecting that from him, as 
I was justified, in expecting, I should hear the strongest arguments that 
could be adduced on this, or any other subject upon which he might be 
pleased to employ his talents, or which he might adorn with his elo- 
quence. What are his arguments? Let it be premised, as I speak in the 
presence of American friends, that that gentleman is one of the best con- 
troversialists in the country, and one of the best authorities upon ques- 
tions of business, points of order, and matters of principle. What are 

Mr. Burners Logic. 57 

the strongest arguments, which one of the greatest champions on any 
question which he chooses to espouse, has brought forward? They are 
these : 

1st. That English phraseology should be construed according to English usage. 
2d. That it was never contemplated by the anti-slavery committee that ladies should 
occupy a seat in this Convention. 

3d. That the ladies of England are not here as delegates. 
4th. That he has no desire to offer an affront to the ladies now present. 

Here I presume are the strongest arguments the gentleman has to 
adduce, for he never fails to use to the best advantage the resources 
within his reach. I look at these arguments, and I place on the other 
side of the question, the fact that there are in this assembly ladies who 
present themselves as delegates from the oldest societies in America. 
I expected that Mr. Burnet would, as he was bound to do, if he intended 
to offer a successful opposition to their introduction into this Conven- 
tion, grapple with the constitutionality of their credentials. I thought 
he would come to the question of title. I thought he would dispute 
the right of a convention assembled in Philadelphia, for the aboli- 
tion of slavery, consisting of delegates from different States in the 
Union, and comprised of individuals of both sexes, to send one or 
all of the ladies now in our presence. I thought he would grapple with 
the fact, that those ladies came to us who have no slavery from a coun- 
try in which they have slaves, as the representatives of two millions and 
a half of captives. Let gentlemen, when they come to vote on this ques- 
tion, remember, that in receiving or rejecting these ladies, they acknowl- 
edge or despise [loud cries of No, no]. I ask gentlemen, who shout " no," 
if they know the application I am about to make. I did not mean to 
say you would despise the ladies, but that you would, by your vote, 
acknowledge or despise the parties whose cause they espouse. It appears 
we are prepared to sanction ladies in the employment of all means, so 
long as they are confessedly unequal with ourselves. It seems that the 
grand objection to their appearance amongst us is this, that it would be 
placing them on a footing of equality, and that would be contrary to 
principle and custom. For years the women of America have carried 
their banner in the van, while the men have humbly followed in the 
rear. It is well known that the National Society solicited Angelina 
Grimke to undertake a mission through New England, to rouse the 
attention of the women to the wrongs of slavery, a,nd that that distin- 
guished woman displayed her talents not only in the drawing-room, 
but before the Senate of Massachusetts. Let us contrast our conduct 
with that of the Senators and Representatives of Massachusetts who did 
not disdain to hear her. It was in consequence of her exertions, which 
received the warmest approval of the National Society, that that interest 
sprung up which has awakened such an intense feeling throughout 
America. Then with reference to efficient management, the most vigor- 
ous anti-slavery societies are those which are managed by ladies. 

If now, after the expression of opinion on various sides, the motion 
should be withdrawn with the consent of all parties, I should be glad. 

58 History of Woman Suffrage. 

But when I look at the arguments against the title of these women to sit 
amongst us, I can not but consider them frivolous and groundless. The 
simple question before us is, whether these ladies, taking into account 
their credentials, the talent they have displayed, the sufferings they have 
endured, the journey they have undertaken, should be acknowledged by 
us, in virtue of these high titles, or should be shut out for the reasons 

Mr. Phillips, being urged on all sides to withdraw his motion, said: 
It has been hinted very respectfully by two or three speakers that 
the delegates from the State of Massachusetts should withdraw their 
credentials, or the motion before the meeting. The one appears to me 
to be equivalent to the other. If this motion be withdrawn we must 
have another. I would merely ask whether any man can suppose that the 
delegates from Massachusetts or Pennsylvania can take upon their 
shoulders the responsibility of withdrawing that list of delegates from 
your table, which their constituents told them to place there, and whom 
they sanctioned as their fit representatives, because this Convention 
tells us that it is not ready to meet the ridicule of the morning papers, 
and to stand up against the customs of England. In America we listen 
to no such arguments. If we had done so we had never been here as 
Abolitionists. It is the custom there not to admit colored men into 
respectable society, and we have been told again and again that we are 
outraging the decencies of humanity when we permit colored men to sit 
by our side. When we have submitted to brick-bats, and the tar tub 
and feathers in America, rather than yield to the custom prevalent there 
of not admitting colored brethren into our friendship, shall we yield to 
parallel custom or prejudice against women in Old England? We can 
not yield this question if we would; for it is a matter of conscience. 
But we would not yield it on the ground of expediency. In doing so we 
should feel that we were striking off the right arm of our enterprise. We 
could not go back to America to ask for any aid from the women of Mas- 
sachusetts if we had deserted them, when they chose to send out their 
own sisters as their representatives here. We could not go back to Mas- 
sachusetts and assert the unchangeableness of spirit on the question. 
We have argued it over and over again, and decided it time after time, 
in every society in the land, in favor of the women. We have not changed 
by crossing the water. We stand here the advocates of the same prin- 
ciple that we contend for in America. We think it right for women to 
sit by our side there, and we think it right for them to do the same here. 
We ask the Convention to admit them; if they do not choose to grant 
it, the responsibility rests on their shoulders. Massachusetts can not 
turn aside, or succumb to any prejudices or customs even in the land 
she looks upon with so much reverence as the land of Wilberforce, of 
Clarkson, and of O'Connell. It is a matter of conscience, and British 
virtue ought not to ask us to yield. 

Mr. Ashurst: You are convened to influence society upon a subject 
connected with the kindliest feelings of our nature; and being the first 
assembly met to shake hands with other nations, and employ your com- 
bined efforts to annihilate slavery throughout the world, are you to com 

The Ladies Entreated. 59 

mence by saying, you will take away the rights of one-half of creation ? 
This is the principle which you are putting forward. 

The Rev. A. Harvey, "of Glasgow : It was stated by a brother from Amer- 
ica, that with him it is a matter of conscience, and it is a question of 
conscience with me too. I have certain views in relation to the teaching 
of the Word of God, and of the particular sphere in which woman is to 
act. I must say, whether I am right in my interpretations of the Word 
of God or not, that my own decided convictions are, if I were to give a 
vote in favor of females, sitting and deliberating in such an assembly as 
this, that I should be acting in opposition to the plain teaching of the 
Word of God. I may be wrong, but I have a conscience on the subject, 
and I am sure there are a number present of the same mind. 

Captain Wanchope, R. N., delegate from Carlisle : I entreat the ladies 
not to push this question too far. I wish to know whether our friends 
from America are to cast off England altogether. Have we not given 
20,000,000 of our money for the purpose of doing away with the abomina- 
tions of slavery? Is not that proof that we are in earnest about it? 

James C. Fuller: One friend said that this question should have been 
settled on the other side of the Atlantic. Why, it was there decided in 
favor of woman a year ago. 

James Gillespie Birney: It has been stated that the right of women to 
sit and act in all respects as men in our anti-slavery associations, was 
decided in the affirmative at the annual meeting of the American Anti- 
Slavery Society in May, 1839. It is true the claim was so decided on that 
occasion, but not by a large majority; whilst it is also true that the major- 
ity was swelled by the votes of the women themselves. I have j ust received 
a letter from a gentleman in New York (Louis Tappan), communicating 
the fact, that the persistence of the friends of promiscuous female repre- 
sentation in pressing that practice on the America'! Anti-Slavery Society, 
at its annual meeting on the twelfth of last month, had caused such dis- 
agreement among the members present, that he and others who viewed 
the subject as he did, were then deliberating on measures for seceding 
from the old organization. 

Rev. C. Stout: My vote is that we confirm the lisc of delegates, that we 
take votes on that as an amendment, and that we henceforth entertain this 
question no more. Are we not met here pledged to sacrifice all but every- 
thing, in order that we may do something against slavery, and shall we 
be divided on this paltry question and suffer the whole tide of benevo- 
lence to be stopped by a straw ? No ! You talk of being men, then be 
men ! Consider what is worthy of your attention. 

Rev. Dr. Morrison : I feel, I believe, as our brethren from. America and 
many English friends do at this moment, that we are treading on the 
brink of a precipice; and that precipice is the awaking in our bosoms by 
this discussion, feelings that will not only be averse to the great object 
for which we have assembled, but inconsistent, perhaps, in some degree, 
with the Christian spirit which, I trust, will pervade all meetings con- 
nected with the Anti-Slavery cause. We have been unanimous against 
the common foe, but we are this day in danger of creating division among 
heartfelt friends. Will our American brethren put us in this position? 

60 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Will they keep up a discussion in which the delicacy, the honor, the re- 
spectability of those excellent females who have come from the Western 
world are concerned? I tremble at the thought 'of discussing the ques- 
tion in the presence of these ladies for whom I entertain the most pro- 
found respect and I am bold to say, that but for the introduction of 
the question of woman's rights, it would be impossible for the shrinking 
nature of woman to subject itself to the infliction of such a discussion 
as this. 

As the hour was late, and as the paltry arguments of the oppo- 
sition were unworthy much consideration as the reader will see 
from the specimens given Mr. Phillips' reply was brief, consisting 
of the correction of a few mistakes made by different speakers. The 
vote was taken, and the women excluded as delegates of the Con- 
vention, by an overwhelming majority. 

George Thompson : I hope, as the question is now decided, that Mr. 
Phillips will give us the assurance that we shall proceed with one heart 
and one mind. 

Mr. Phillips replied : I have no doubt of it. There is no unpleasant 
feeling in our minds. I have no doubt the women will sit with as much 
interest behind the bar* as though the original proposition had been 
carried in the affirmative. All we asked was . an expression of opinion, 
and, having obtained it, we shall now act with the utmost cordiality. 

"Would there have been no unpleasant feelings in Wendell Phil- 
lips' mind, had Frederick Douglass and Bobert Purvis been re- 
fused their seats in a convention of reformers under similar cir- 
cumstances ? and, had they listened one entire day to debates on 
their peculiar fitness for plantation life, and unfitness for the forum 
and public assemblies, and been rejected as delegates on the ground 
of color, could Wendell Phillips have so far mistaken their real feel- 
ings, and been so insensible to the insults offered them, as to have 
told a Convention of men who had just trampled on their most sa- 
cred rights, that " they would no doubt sit with as much interest 
behind the bar, as in the Convention " ? To stand in that august 
assembly and maintain the unpopular Jieresy of woman's equality 
was a severe ordeal for a young man to pass through, and Wen- 
dell Phillips, who accepted the odium of presenting this question to 
the Convention, and thus earned the sincere gratitude of all woman- 
kind, might be considered as above criticism, though he may 
have failed at one point to understand the feelings of woman. 
The fact is important to mention, however, to show that it is 

* The ladies of the Convention were fenced off behind a bar and curtain, similar to those 
used in churches to screen the choir from the public gaze. 

Garrison in the Gallery. * 61 

almost impossible for the most liberal of men to understand what 
liberty means for woman. This sacrifice of human rights, by men 
who had assembled from all quarters of the globe to proclaim uni- 
versal emancipation, was offered up in the presence of such women 
as Lady Byron, Anna Jameson, Amelia Opie, Mary Howitt, 
Elizabeth Fry, and our own Lucretia Mott. The clergy with 
few exceptions were bitter in their opposition. Although, as Abo- 
litionists, they had been compelled to tight both Church and Bible 
to prove the black man's right to liberty, conscience forbade them 
to stretch those sacred limits far enough to give equal liberty to 

The leading men who championed the cause of the measure 
in the Convention and voted in the affirmative, were Wendell 
Phillips, George Thompson, George Bradburn, Mr. Ashurst, Dr. 
Bowring, and Henry B. Stanton. Though Daniel O'Connell was 
not present during the discussion, having passed out with the 
President, yet in his first speech, he referred to the rejected dele- 
gates, paying a beautiful tribute to woman's influence, and saying 
he should have been happy to have added the right word in the 
right place and to have recorded his vote in favor of human equality. 

William Lloyd Garrison, having been delayed at sea, arrived 
too late to take part in the debates. Learning on his arrival 
that the women had been rejected as delegates, he declined 
to take his seat in the Convention ; and, through all those in- 
teresting discussions on a subject so near his heart, lasting ten days, 
he remained a silent spectator in the gallery. What a sacrifice for 
a principle SD dimly seen by the few, and so ignorantly ridiculed by 
the many ! Brave, noble Garrison ! May this one act keep his 
memory fresh forever in the hearts of his countrywomen ! 

The one Abolitionist who sustained Mr. Garrison's position, and sat 
with him in the gallery, was Nathaniel P. Rogers, editor of the Herald 
of Freedom, in Concord, New Hampshire, who died in the midst of 
the Anti-Slavery struggle. How r ever, the debates in the Conven- 
tion had the effect of rousing English minds to thought on the 
tyranny of sex, and American minds to the importance of some 
definite action toward woman's emancipation. 

As Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton ^wended their way 
arm in arm down Great Queen Street that night, reviewing the ex- 
citing scenes of the day, they agreed to hold a woman's rights con- 
vention on their return to America, as the men to whom they had 
just listened had manifested their great need of some education on 
that question. Thus a missionary work for the emancipation of 


62 History of Woman Suffrage. 

woman in " the land of the free and the home of the brave " was 
then and there inaugurated. As the ladies were not allowed to 
speak in the Convention, they kept up a brisk fire morning, noon, 
and night at their hotel on the unfortunate gentlemen who were 
domiciled at the same house. Mr. Birney, with his luggage, promptly 
withdrew after the first encounter, to some more congenial haven 
of rest, while the Rev. Nathaniel Colver, from Boston, who always 
fortified himself with six eggs well beaten in a large bowl at break- 
fast, to the horror of his host and a circle of aesthetic friends, stood 
his ground to the last his physical proportions being his shield and 
buckler, and his Bible (with Colver's commentaries) his weapon of 

The movement for woman's suffrage, both in England and Amer- 
ica, may be dated from this World's Anti-Slavery Convention. 

* Some of the English clergy, dancing around with Bible in hand, shaking it in the faces 
of the opposition, grew so vehement, that one would really have thought that they held 
a commission from high heaven as the possessors of all truth, and that all progress in 
human affairs was to be squared by their interpretation of Scripture. At last George 
Bradburn, exasperated with their narrowness and bigotry, sprang to the floor, and 
stretching himself to his full height, said: "Prove to me, gentlemen, that your Bible 
sanctions the slavery of woman the complete subjugation of one-half the race to the 
other and I should feel that the best work I could do for humanity would be to make a 
grand bonfire of every Bible in the Universe." 


The First Woman's Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, July 19-20, 1848 Property Rights 
of Women secured Judge Fine, George Geddes, and Mr. Hadley pushed the Bill 
through Danger of meddling with well-settled conditions of domestic happiness 
Mrs. Barbara Ucrtell's will Richard Hunt's tea-table The eventful day James 
Mott President Declaration of sentiments Convention in Rochester Clergy again 
in opposition with Bible arguments. 

YORK with its metropolis, fine harbors, great lakes and riv- 
ers ; its canals and railroads uniting the extremest limits, and con- 
trolling the commerce of the world; with its wise statesmen and 
wily politicians, long holding the same relation to the nation at large 
that Paris is said to hold to France, has been proudly called by her 
sons and daughters the Empire State. 

But the most interesting fact in her history, to woman, is that she 
was the first State to emancipate wives from the slavery of the old 
common law of England, and to secure to them equal property 
rights. This occurred in 1848. Various bills and petitions, with 
reference to the civil rights of woman, had been under discussion 
twelve years, and the final passage of the property bill was due 
in no small measure to two facts. 1st. The constitutional conven- 
tion in 1847, which compelled the thinking people of the State, and 
especially the members of the convention, to the serious considera- 
tion of the fundamental principles of government. As in the re- 
vision of a Constitution the State is for the time being resolved into 
its original elements in recognizing the equality of all the people, 
one would naturally think that a chance ray of justice might have 
fallen aslant the wrongs of woman and brought to the surface some 
champion in that convention, especially as some aggravated cases of 
cruelty in families of wealth and position had just at that time 
aroused the attention of influential men to the whole question. 
2d. Among the Dutch aristocracy of the State there was a vast 
amount of dissipation ; and as married women could hold neither 
property nor children under the common law, solid, thrifty Dutch 
fathers were daily confronted with the fact that the inheritance 


64 History of Woman Suffrage. 

of their daughters, carefully accumulated, would at marriage pass 
into the hands of dissipated, impecunious husbands, reducing them 
and their children to poverty and dependence. Hence this influen- 
tial class of citizens heartily seconded the efforts of reformers, then 
demanding equal property rights in the marriage relation. Thus a 
wise selfishness on one side, and principle on the other, pushed the 
conservatives and radicals into the same channel, and both alike 
found anchor in the statute law of 1848. This was the death-blow 
to the old Blackstone code for married women in this country, and 
ever since legislation has been slowly, but steadily, advancing toward 
their complete equality. 

Desiring to know who prompted the legislative action on the 
Property Bill in 1848, and the names of our champions who car- 
ried it successfully through after twelve years of discussion and 
petitioning, a letter of inquiry was addressed to the Hon. George 
Geddes of the twenty-second district at that time Senator and 
received the following reply : 

November 25, 1880. 


Dear Madam : I was much gratified at the receipt of your letter of the 
22d inst., making inquiries into the history of the law of 1848 in regard 
to married women holding property independently of their husbands. 
That the " truth of history " may be made plain, I have looked over the 
journals of the Senate and Assembly, and taken full notes, which I re- 
quest you to publish, if you put any part of this letter in print. 

I have very distinct recollections of the whole history of this very 
radical measure. Judge Fine, of St. Lawrence, was its originator, and 
he gave me his reasons for introducing the bill. He said that he mar- 
ried a lady who had some property of her own, which he had, all his life, 
tried to keep distinct from his, that she might have the benefit of her 
own, in the event of any disaster happening to him in pecuniary mat- 
ters. He had found much difficulty, growing out of the old laws, in this 
effort to protect his wife's interests. 

Judge Fine was a stately man, and of general conservative tendencies, 
just the one to hold on to the past, but he was a just man, and did not 
allow his practice as a lawyer, or his experience on the bench, to obscure 
his sense of right. I followed him, glad of such a leader. 

I, too, had special reasons for desiring this change in the law. I had a 
young daughter, who, in the then condition of my health, was quite 
likely to be left in tender years without a father, and I very much de- 
sired to protect her in the little property I might be able to leave. I 
had an elaborate will drawn by my old law preceptor, Vice-Chancellor 
Lewis H. Sandford, creating a trust with all the care and learning he 
could bring to my aid. But when the elaborate paper was finished, 

Judge Fine, Originator. 65 

neither he or I felt satisfied with it. When the law of 1848 was passed, 
all I had to do was to burn this will. 

In this connection I wish to say that the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. 
Hadley. gave aid in the passage of this law that was essential. Very 
near the end of the session of the Legislature he assured me that if the 
bill passed the Senate, he would see that it passed the House. By ex- 
amining my notes of the Assembly's action, you will see that the bill 
never went to a committee of the whole in that body, but was sent 
directly to a select committee to report complete. It was the power of 
the Speaker that in this summary manner overrode the usual legislative 
forms. The only reason Mr. Hadley gave me for his zeal in this matter t 
was that it was a good bill and ought to pass. 

I believe this law originated with Judge Fine, without any outside 
prompting. On the third day of the session he gave notice of his inten- 
tion to introduce it, and only one petition was presented in favor of the 
bill, and that came from Syracuse, and was due to the action of my per- 
sonal friends I presented it nearly two months after the bill had been 
introduced to the Senate. 

The reception of the bill by the Senate showed unlooked-for support 
as well as opposition. The measure was so radical, so extreme, that 
even its friends had doubts; but the moment any important amendment 
was offered, up rose the whole question of woman's proper place in society, 
in the family, and everywhere. We all felt that the laws regulating mar- 
ried women's, as well as married men's rights, demanded careful revision 
and adaptation to our times and to our civilization. But no such re- 
vision could be perfected then, nor has it been since. We meant to strike 
a hard blow, and if possible shake the old system of laws to their foun- 
dations, and leave it to other times and wiser councils to perfect a new 

We had in the Senate a man of matured years, who had never had a 
wife. He was a lawyer well-read in the old books, and versed in the 
adjudications which had determined that husband and wife were but 
one person, and the husband that person; and he expressed great fears 
in regard to meddling with this well-settled condition of domestic hap- 
piness. This champion of the past made long and very able arguments 
to show the ruin this law must work, but he voted for the bill in the 
final decision. 

The bill hung along in Committee of the Whole until March 21st, 
when its great opponent being absent, I moved its reference to a select 
Committee, with power to report it complete; that is, matured ready for 
its passage. So the bill was out of the arena of debate, and on my mo- 
tion was ordered to its third reading. 

In reply to your inquiries in regard to debates that preceded the 
action of 1848, I must say I know of none, and I am quite sure that in 
our long discussions no allusion was made to anything of the kind. 
Great measures often occupy the thoughts of men and women, long be- 
fore they take substantial form and become things of life, and I shall not 
dispute any one who says that this reform had been thought of before 
1848. But I do insist the record shows that Judge Fine is the author 

66 History of Woman Suffrage. 

of the law which opened the way to clothe woman vath full rights, in 
regard to holding, using, and enjoying in every way her own property, 
independently of any husband. 

I add the following extracts taken from the journals of the Senate arid 
Assembly of 1848, viz: 

Senate journal for 1848, p. 35. January 7th. " Mr. Fine gave notice that 
he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill for the more 
effectual protection of the property of married women." 

Jan. 8th, p. 47. "Mr. Fine introduced k the bill,' and it was referred 
to the Judiciary Committee," which consisted of Mr. Wilkin, Mr. Fine, 
and Mr. Cole. 

Feb. 7th, p. 157. Mr. Wilkin reported the bill favorably, and it was 
sent to the Committee of the Whole. 

Feb. 23d. Mr. Geddes presented the petition of three hundred citizens 
of Syracuse praying for the passage of a law to protect the rights of mar- 
ried women. 

March 1st, p. 242. " The Senate spent some time in Committee of the 
Whole " on the bill, and reported progress, and had leave to sit again. 

March 3d, p. 250. The Senate again in Committee of the Whole on 
this bill. 

March 15th, p. 314. The Senate again in Committee of the Whole on 
this bill. 

March 21st, p. 352. Mr. Lawrence, from Committee of the Whole, re- 
ported the bill with some amendments. " Thereupon ordered that said 
bill be referred to a Select Committee consisting of Mr. Fine, Mr. Geddes, 
and Mr. Hawley to report complete." 

March 21st, p. 354. "Mr. Geddes, from the Select Committee, reported 
complete, with amendments, the bill entitled ' An Act for the more 
effectual protection of the property of married women,' which report was 
laid on the table." 

March 28th, p. 420. " On motion of Mr. Geddes, the Senate then pro- 
ceeded to the consideration of the report of the Select Committee on the 
bill entitled ' (as above)', which report was agreed to, and the bill or- 
dered to a third reading." 

March 29th, p. 443. The bill entitled " (as above) " was read the third 
time, and passed ayes, 23; nays, 1, as follows: 

Ayes Messrs. Betts, Bond, Brownson, Burch, Coffin, Cole, Cook, Corn- 
well, Fine, Floyd, Fox, Fuller, Geddes, S. H. P. Hall, Hawley, Johnson, 
Lawrence, Little, Martin, Smith, Wallon, Wilkin, Williams, 23. 

Nays Clark, 1. 

April 7th, p. 541. The bill was returned from the Assembly with its 

Its history in the Assembly (see its Journal} : 

March 29th, p. 966. A message from the Senate, requesting the con 
currence of the Assembly to ' ' An Act for the more effectual protection 
of the property of married women." On motion of Mr. Campbell, the 
bill was sent to a Committee consisting of Messrs. Campbell, Brigham, 
Myers, Coe, and Crocker, to report complete (seepage 967). 

TTie First Convention. 67 

April 1st, page 1025. Mr. Campbell reported in favor of Its passage, 
p. 1026. Report agreed to by the House. 

April 6, p. 1129. Mr. Collins moved to recommit to a Select Commit- 
tee for amendment. His motion failed, and the bill passed (p. 1130). 
Ayes, 93. Nays, 9. 

The Governor put his name to the bill and thus it became a law. 

Please reply to me and let me know whether I have made this matter 
clear to you. 

Very respectfully, 


When the first bill was introduced by Judge Hertell in 1836, he 
made a very elaborate argument in its favor, covering all objections, 
and showing the incontestable justice of the measure. Being too 
voluminous for a newspaper report it was published in pamphlet 
form. His wife, Barbara Amelia Hertell, dying a few years since, 
l>y her will left a sum for the republication of this exhaustive argu- 
ment, thus keeping the memory of her husband green in the hearts 
of his countrywomen, and expressing her own high appreciation of 
its value. 

Step by step the Middle and New England States began to modify 
their laws, but the Western States, in their Constitutions, were lib- 
eral in starting. Thus the discussions in the constitutional conven 
tion and the Legislature, heralded by the press to every school dis- 
trict, culminated at last in a woman's rights convention. 

The Seneca County Courier, a semi-weekly journal, of July 14, 
1848, contained the following startling announcement : 


WOMAN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION. A Convention to discuss the social, 
-civil, and religious condition and rights of woman, will be held in the 
Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, N. Y., on Wednesday and Thursday, 
the 19th and 20th of July, current; commencing at 10 o'clock AM. Dur- 
ing the first day the meeting will be exclusively for women, who are ear- 
nestly invited to attend. The public generally are invited to be present 
on the second day, when Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other la- 
dies and gentlemen, will address the convention. 

This call, without signature, was issued by Lucretia Mott, Martha 
O. Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Mary Ann McClintock. 
At this time Mrs. Mott was visiting her sister Mrs. Wright, at Au- 
'burn, and attending the Yearly Meeting of Friends in Western New 
York. Mrs. Stanton, having recently removed from Boston to Sen- 
<eca Falls, finding the most congenial associations in Quaker families, 
met Mrs. Mott incidentally for the first time since her residence 
ihere. They at once returned to the topic they had so often 

68 History of Woman Suffrage. 

discussed, walking arm in arm in the streets of London, and Bos- 
ton, " the propriety of holding a woman's convention." These 
four ladies, sitting round the tea-table of Richard Hunt, a promi- 
nent Friend near Waterloo, decided to put their long-talk ed-of reso- 
lution into action, and before the twilight deepened into night, the 
call was written, and sent to the Seneca County Courier. On Sun- 
day morning they met in Mrs. McClintock's parlor to write their 
declaration, resolutions, and to consider subjects for speeches.* As 
the convention was to assemble in three days, the time was short for 
such productions ; but having no experience in the modus operandi 
of getting up conventions, nor in that kind of literature, they were 
quite innocent of the herculean labors they proposed. On the first 
attempt to frame a resolution ; to crowd a complete thought, clearly 
and concisely, into three lines ; they felt as helpless and hopeless as 
if they had been suddenly asked to construct a steam engine. And 
the humiliating fact may as well now be recorded that before taking 
the initiative step, those ladies resigned themselves to a faithful pe- 
rusal of various masculine productions. The reports of Peace, Tem- 
perance, and Anti-slavery conventions were examined, but all alike 
seemed too tame and pacific for the inauguration of a rebellion such 
as the world had never before seen. They knew women had wrongs, 
but how to state them was the difficulty, and this was increased from 
the fact that they themselves were fortunately organized and condi- 
tioned ; they were neither "sour old rnaids," "childless women," 
nor " divorced wives," as the newspapers declared them to be. 
While they had felt the insults incident to sex, in many ways, as 
every proud, thinking woman must, in the laws, religion, and liter- 
ature of the world, and in the invidious and degrading sentiments 
and customs of all nations, yet they had not in their own experience 
endured the coarser forms of tyranny resulting from unjust laws, or 
association with immoral and unscrupulous men, but they had souls 
large enough to feel the wrongs of others, without being scarified 
in their own flesh. 

After much delay, one of the circle took up the Declaration of 
1776, and read it aloud with much spirit and emphasis, and it was 
at once decided to adopt the historic document, with some slight 
changes such as substituting " all men " for " King George." 
Knowing that women must have more to complain of than men 
under any circumstances possibly could, and seeing the Fathers had 
eighteen grievances, a protracted search was made through statute 

* The antique mahogany center-table on which this historic document was written 
now stands in the parlor of the McClintock family in Philadelphia. 

James Mott, President. 69 

books, church usages, and the customs of society to find that exact 
number. Several well-disposed men assisted in collecting the 
grievances, until, with the announcement of the eighteenth, the 
women felt they had enough to go before the world with a good 
case. One youthful lord remarked, "Your grievances must be 
grievous indeed, when you. are obliged to go to books in order to 
lind them out." 

The eventful day dawned at last, and crowds in carriages and on 
foot, wended their way to the Wesley an church. When those hav- 
ing charge of the Declaration, the resolutions, and several volumes 
of the Statutes of New York arrived on the scene, lo ! the door was 
locked. However, an embryo Professor of Yale College was lifted 
through an open window to unbar the door ; that done, the church 
was quickly filled. It had been decided to have no men present, but 
as they were already on the spot, and as the women who must take 
the responsibility of organizing the meeting, and leading the dis- 
cussions, shrank from doing either, it was decided, in a hasty council 
round the altar, that this was an occasion when men might make 
themselves pre-eminently useful. It was agreed they should remain, 
and take the laboring oar through the Convention. 

James Mott, tall and dignified, in Quaker costume, was called to 
the chair ; Mary McClintock appointed Secretary, Frederick Doug- 
lass, Samuel Tillman, Ansel Bascom, E. W. Capron, and Thomas 
McClintock took part throughout in the discussions. Lucretia Mott, 
accustomed to public speaking in the Society of Friends, stated the 
objects of the Convention, and in taking a survey of the degraded 
condition of woman the world over, showed the importance of in- 
augurating some movement for her education and elevation. Eliza- 
beth and Mary McClintock, and Mrs. Stan ton, each read a well- 
written speech ; Martha Wright read some satirical articles she had 
published in the daily papers answering the diatribes on woman's 
sphere. Ansel Bascom, who had been a member of the Constitu- 
tional Convention recently held in Albany, spoke at length on the 
property bill for married women, just passed the Legislature, and the 
discussion on woman's rights in that Convention. Samuel Tillman, a 
young student of law, read a series of the most exasperating statutes 
for women, from English and American jurists, all reflecting the 
tender mercies of men toward their wives, in taking care of their 
property and protecting them in their civil rights. 

The Declaration having been freely discussed by many present, 
was re-read by Mrs. Stanton, and with some slight amendments 

70 History of Woman Suffrage. 


"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one 
portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a 
position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one 
to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent 
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare 
the causes that impel them to such a course. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are 
created equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain ina- 
lienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness ; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriv- 
ing their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any 
form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of 
those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the 
institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such princi- 
ples, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most 
likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dic- 
tate that governments long established should not be changed for light 
and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that 
mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to 
right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they were accustomed. 
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the 
same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, 
it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards 
for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the 
women under this government, and such is now the necessity which con- 
strains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled. 

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpa- 
tions on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the estab- 
lishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be sub- 
mitted to a candid world. 

He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the 
elective franchise. 

He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she 
had no voice. 

He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant 
and degraded men both natives and foreigners. 

Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, 
thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he 
has oppressed her on all sides. 

He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead. 
He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she 

He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit 
many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of 
her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise 
obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her 
master the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to 
administer chastisement. 

Man a Usurper. 71 

He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper 
causes, and in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the 
children shall be given, as to be wholly regardless of the happiness ol 
women the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the suprem- 
acy of man, and giving all power into his hands. 

After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single, and the 
owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which rec- 
ognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it. 

He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from 
those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration. 
He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction which he 
considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, 
or law, she is not known. 

He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education, 
all colleges being closed against her. 

He allows her in Church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, 
claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, 
with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the 

He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a dif- 
ferent code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies 
which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated, but deemed of 
little account in man. 

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his 
right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her con- 
science and to her God. 

He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her confi- 
dence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her will- 
ing to lead a dependent and abject life. 

Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people 
of this country, their social and religious degradation in view of the 
unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves 
aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred 
rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights 
and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States. 

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small 
amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall 
use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall 
employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National legisla- 
tures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We 
hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions em- 
bracing every part of the country. 

The following resolutions were discussed by Lucretia Mott, 
Thomas and Mary Ann McClintock, Amy Post, Catharine A. F. Steb- 
bins, and others, and were adopted : 

WHEREAS, The great precept of nature is conceded to be, that "man 
shall pursue his own true and substantial happiness." Blackstone in his 

72 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Commentaries remarks, that this law of Nature being coeval with man- 
kind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to 
any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries and at all 
times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this, and such of 
them as are valid, derive all their force, and all their validity, and all 
their authority, mediately and immediately, from this original; therefore, 

Resolved, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true arid 
substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of 
nature and of no validity, for this is " superior in obligation to any other." 

Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such 
a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place 
her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great pre- 
cept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority. 

Resolved, That woman is man's equal was intended to be so by the 
Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be 
recognized as such. 

Resolved, That the women of this country ought to be enlightened 
in regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer 
publish their degradation by declaring themselves satisfied with their 
present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the 
rights they want. 

Resolved, That inasmuch as man, while claiming for himself intellect- 
ual superiority, does accord to woman moral superiority, it is pre-emi- 
nently his duty to encourage her to speak and teach, as she has an 
opportunity, in all religious assemblies. 

Resolved, That the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement 
of behavior that is required of woman in the social state, should also be 
required of man, and the same transgressions should be visited with 
equal severity on both man and woman. 

Resolved, That the objection of indelicacy and impropriety, which is 
so often brought against woman when she addresses a public audience, 
comes with a very ill-grace from those who encourage, by their attend- 
ance, her appearance on the stage, in the concert, or in feats of the circus. 

Resolved, That woman has too long rested satisfied in the circum- 
scribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the 
Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move 
in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her. 

Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure 
to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise. 

Resolved, That the equality of human rights results necessarily from 
the fact of the identity of the race in capabilities and responsibilities. 

Resolved, therefore, That, being invested by the Creator with the same 
capabilities, and the same consciousness of responsibility for their exer- 
cise, it is demonstrably the right and duty of woman, equally with man, 
to p'omote every righteous cause by every righteous means; and espec- 
ially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion, it is self-evi- 
dently her right to participate with her brother in teaching them, both in 
private arid in public, by writing and by speaking, by any instrumentalities 
proper to be used, and in any assemblies proper to be held; and this 

The Suffrage Resolution. 73 

being a self-evident truth growing out of the divinely implanted princi- 
ples of human nature, any custom or authority adverse to it, whether 
modern or wearing the hoary sanction of antiquity, is to be regarded as 
a self-evident falsehood, and at war with mankind. 

At the last session Lucretia Mott offered and spoke to the follow- 
ing resolution : 

Resolved, That the speedy success of our cause depends upon the 
zealous and untiring efforts of both men and women, for the overthrow 
of the monopoly of the pulpit, and for the securing to woman an equal 
participation with men in the various trades, professions, and commerce. 

The only resolution that was not unanimously adopted was the 
ninth, urging the women of the country to secure to themselves the 
elective franchise. Those who took part in the debate "feared a de- 
mand for the right to vote would defeat others they deemed more 
rational, and make the whole movement ridiculous. 

But Mrs. Stanton and Frederick Douglass seeing that the power 
to choose rulers and make laws, was the right by which all others 
could be secured, persistently advocated the resolution, and at last 
carried it by a small majority. 

Thus it will be seen that the Declaration and resolutions in the very 
first Convention, demanded all the most radical friends of the move- 
ment, have since claimed such as equal rights in the universities, in 
the trades and professions ; the right to vote ; to share in all political 
offices, honors, and emoluments ; to complete equality in marriage, 
to personal freedom, property, wages, children ; to make contracts ; 
to sue, and be sued ; and to testify in courts of justice. At this 
time the condition of married women under the Common Law, was 
nearly as degraded as that of the slave on the Southern plantation. 
The Convention continued through two entire days, and late into 
the evenings. The deepest interest was manifested to its close. 

The proceedings were extensively published, unsparingly ridi- 
culed by the press, and denounced by the pulpit, much to the sur- 
prise and chagrin of the leaders. Being deeply in earnest, and be- 
lieving their demands pre-eminently wise and just, they were wholly 
unprepared to find themselves the target for the jibes and jeers of 
the nation. The Declaration was signed by one hundred men, and 
women, many of whom withdrew their names as soon as the storm 
of ridicule began to break. The comments of the press were care- 
fully preserved,* and it is curious to see that the same old argu- 
ments, and objections rife at the start, are reproduced by the press 

* See Appendix. 

74 History of Woman Suffrage. 

of to-day. But the brave protests sent out from this Convention 
touched a responsive chord in the hearts of women all over the 

Conventions were held soon after in Ohio, Massachusetts, Indi- 
ana, Pennsylvania, and at different points ia New York. 

Mr. Douglass, in his paper, The Nortli Star, of July 28, 1848, had 
the following editorial leader : 

THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN. One of the most interesting events of the 
past week, was the holding of what is technically styled a Woman's 
Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. The speaking, addresses, and reso- 
lutions of this extraordinary meeting were almost wholly conducted by 
women; and although they evidently felt themselves in a novel position, 
it is but simple justice to say that their whole proceedings were charac- 
terized by marked ability and dignity. No one present, we think, how- 
ever much he might be disposed to differ from the views advanced by 
the leading speakers on that occasion, will fail to give them credit for 
brilliant talents and excellent dispositions. In this meeting, as in other 
deliberative assemblies, there were frequent differences of opinion and 
animated discussion ; but in no case was there the slightest absence of 
good feeling and decorum. Several interesting documents setting forth 
the rights as well as grievances of women were read. Among these was 
a Declaration of Sentiments, to be regarded as the basis of a grand 
movement for attaining the civil, social, political, and religious rights 
of women. We should not do justice to our own convictions, or to the 
excellent persons connected with this infant movement, if we did not in 
this connection offer a few remarks on the general subject which the 
Convention met to consider and the objects they seek to attain. In 
doing so, we are not insensible that the bare mention of this truly im- 
portant subject in any other than terms of contemptuous ridicule and 
scornful disfavor, is likely to excite against us the fury of bigotry and 
the folly of prejudice. A discussion of the rights of animals would be 
regarded with far more complacency by many of what are called the 
wise and the good of our land, than would be a discussion of the rights 
of women. It is, in their estimation, to be guilty of evil thoughts, to 
think that woman is entitled to equal rights with man. Many who have 
at last made the discovery that the negroes have some rights as well as 
other members of the human family, have yet to be convinced that 
women are entitled to any. Eight years ago a number of persons of this 
description actually abandoned the anti-slavery cause, lest by giving 
their influence in that direction they might possibly be giving counte- 
nance to the dangerous heresy that woman, in respect to rights, stands 
on an equal footing with man. In the judgment of such persons the 
American slave system, with all its concomitant horrors, is less to be 
deplored than this wicked idea. It is perhaps needless to say, that we 
cherish little sympathy for such sentiments or respect for such preju- 
dices. Standing as we do upon the watch-tower of human freedom, we 
can not be deterred from an expression of our approbation of any move- 

A Woman President. 75 

ment, however humble, to improve and elevate the character of any 
members of the human family. While it is impossible for us to go into 
this subject at length, and dispose of the various objections which are 
often urged against such a doctrine as that of female equality, we are 
free to say that in respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly 
entitled to all we claim for man. We go farther, and express our convic- 
tion that all political rights which it is expedient for man to exercise, it 
is equally so for woman. All that distinguishes man as an intelligent 
and accountable being, is equally true of woman ; and if that govern- 
ment only is just which governs by the free consent of the governed, 
there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise 
of the elective franchise, or a hand in making and administering the laws 
of the land. Our doctrine is that " right is of no sex." We therefore bid 
the women engaged in this movement our humble Godspeed. 


Those who took part in the Convention at Seneca Falls, finding 
at the end of the two days, there were still so many new points for 
discussion, and that the gift of tongues had been vouchsafed to 
them, adjourned, to meet in Rochester in two weeks. Amy Post, 
Sarah D. Fish, Sarah C. Owen, and Mary H. Hallowell, were the 
Committee of Arrangements. This Convention was called for Au- 
gust 2d, and so well advertised in the daily papers, that at the ap- 
pointed hour, the Unitarian Church was filled to overflowing. 

Amy Post called the meeting to order, and stated that at a gath- 
ering the previous evening in Protection Hall, Rhoda De Garmo, 
Sarah Fish, and herself, were appointed a committee to nominate 
officers for the Convention, and they now proposed Abigail Bush, 
for President ; Laura Murray, for Yice-President ; Elizabeth Mc- 
Clintock, Sarah Hallowell, and Catherine A. F. Stebbins, for Sec- 
retaries. Mrs. Mott, Mrs. Stanton, and Mrs. McClintock, thought 
it a most hazardous experiment to have a woman President, and 
stoutly opposed it. 

To write a Declaration and Resolutions, to make a speech, and 
debate, had taxed their powers to the uttermost ; and now, with 
such feeble voices and timid manners, without the slightest knowl- 
edge of Cushing's Manual, or the least experience in public meet- 
ings, how could a woman preside ? They were on the verge of 
leaving the Convention in disgust, but Amy Post and Rhoda De 
Garmo assured them that by the same power by which they had 
resolved, declared, discussed, debated, they could also preside at a 
public meeting, if they would but make the experiment. And as 
the vote of the majority settled the question on the side of woman, 
Abigail Bush took the chair, and the calm way she assumed the 

76 History of Woman Suffrage. 

duties of the office, and the admirable manner in which she dis- 
charged them, soon reconciled the opposition to the seemingly 
ridiculous experiment. 

The proceedings were opened with prayer, by the Rev. Mr. 
Wicher, of the Free-will Baptist Church. Even at that early day, 
there were many of the liberal clergymen in favor of equal rights 
for women. During the reading of the minutes of the preliminary 
meeting by the Secretary, much uneasiness was manifested concern- 
ing the low voices of women, and cries of " Louder, louder ! " 
drowned every other sound, when the President, on rising, said : 

Friends, we present ourselves here before you, as an oppressed class, 
with trembling frames and faltering tongues, and we do not expect to be 
able to speak so as to be heard by all at first, but we trust we shall have 
the sympathy of the audience, and that you will bear with our weakness 
now in the infancy of the movement. Our trust in the omnipotency of 
right is our only faith that we shall succeed. 

As the appointed Secretaries could not be heard, Sarah Anthony 
Burtis, an experienced Quaker school-teacher, whose voice had been 
well trained in her profession, volunteered to fill the duties of that 
office, and she read the reports and documents of the Convention 
with a clear voice and confident manner, to the great satisfaction of 
her more timid coadjutors. 

Several gentlemen took part in the debates of this Convention. 
Some in favor, some opposed, and others willing to make partial 
concessions to the demands as set forth in the Declaration and Reso- 
lutions. Frederick Douglass, William C. Nell, and William C. Bloss 
advocated the emancipation of women from all the artificial disabili- 
ties, imposed by false customs, creeds, and codes. Milo Codding, 
Mr. Sulley, Mr. Pickard, and a Mr. Colton, of Connecticut, thought 
"woman's sphere was home," and that she should remain in it; he 
would seriously deprecate her occupying the pulpit. 

Lucretia Mott replied, that the gentleman from New Haven had 
objected to woman occupying the pulpit, and indeed she could scarcely 
see how any one educated in New Haven, Ct., could think otherwise 
than he did. She said, we had all got our notions too much from the 
clergy, instead of the Bible. The Bible, she contended, had none of 
the prohibitions in regard to women ; and spoke of the " honorable 
women not a few," etc., and desired Mr. Colton to read his Bible over 
again, and see if there was anything there to prohibit woman from 
being a religious teacher. She then complimented the members of 
that church for opening their doors to a Woman's Rights Convention, 
and said that a few years ago, the Female Moral Reform Society of 

A Bride Appears. 77 

Philadelphia applied for the use of a church in that city, in which to 
hold one of their meetings ; they were only allowed the use of tho 
basement, and on condition that none of the women should speak at 
the meeting. Accordingly, a D.D. was called upon to preside, and 
another to read the ladies' report of the Society. 

Near the close of the morning session, a young bride in tiavel- 
ing dress,* accompanied by her husband, slowly walked up the aisle, 
and asked the privilege of saying a few words, which was readily 
granted. Being introduced to the audience, she said, on her way 
westward, hearing of the Convention, she had waited over a train, 
to add her mite in favor of the demand now made, by the true 
women of this generation : 

It is with diffidence that I speak upon this question before us, not a 
diffidence resulting from any doubt of the worthiness of the cause, but 
from the fear that its depth and power can be but meagerly portrayed 

by me Woman's rights her civil rights equal with man's not 

an equality of moral and religious influence, for who dares to deny her 
that? but an equality in the exercise of her own powers, and a right to 
use all the sources of erudition within the reach of man, to build unto 
herself a name for her talents, energy, and integrity. We do not posi- 
tively say that our intellect is as capable as man's to assume, and at 
once to hold, these rights, or that our hearts are as willing to enter into 
his actions; for if we did not believe it, we would not contend for them, 
and if men did not believe it, they would not withhold them, with a 

smothered silence In closing, she said : There will be one effect, 

perhaps unlocked for, if we are raised to equal administration with 
man. It will classify intellect. The heterogeneous triflings which now, 
I am very sorry to say, occupy so much of our time, will be neglected; 
fashion's votaries will silently fall off; dishonest exertions for rank in 
society will be scorned; extravagance in toilet will be detested; that 
meager and worthless pride of station will be forgotten; the honest earn- 
ings of dependents will be paid ; popular demagogues crushed ; impos- 
tors unpatronized; true genius sincerely encouraged; and, above all, 
pawned integrity redeemed! And why? Because enfranchised woman 
then will feel the burdens of her responsibilities, and can strive for 

elevation, and will reach all knowledge within her grasp If all 

this is accomplished, man need not fear pomposity, fickleness, or an 
unhealthy enthusiasm at his dear fireside; we can be as dutiful, submis- 
sive, endearing as daughters, wives, and mothers, even if we hang the 
wreath of domestic harmony upon the eagle's talons. 

Thus for twenty minutes the young and beautiful stranger held 
her audience spell-bound with her eloquence, in a voice whose 
pathos thrilled every heart. Her husband, hat and cane in hand, 
remained standing, leaning against a pillar near the altar, and 

* Rebecca Sanford, now Postmaster at Mt. Morris, N. Y. 

78 History of Woman Suffrage. 

seemed a most delighted, nay, reverential listener. It was a sceno 
never to be forgotten, and one of the most pleasing incidents of the 

Sarah Owen read an address on woman's place and pay in the 
world of work. In closing, she said : 

An experienced cashier of this city remarked to me that women might 
be as good book-keepers as men ; but men have monopolized every lucra- 
tive situation, from the dry-goods merchant down to whitewashing. Who 
does not feel, as she sees a stout, athletic man standing behind the 
counter measuring lace, ribbons, and tape, that he is monopolizing a 
woman's place, while thousands of rich acres in our western world await 
his coming ? This year, a woman, for the first time, has taken her place 
in one of our regular medical colleges. We rejoice to hear that by her 
dignity of manner, application to study, and devotion to the several 
branches of the profession she has chosen, she has secured the respect 
of her professors and class, and reflected lasting honor upon her whole 
sex. Thus we hail, in Elizabeth Blackwell, a pioneer for woman in this 

It is by this inverted order of society that woman ie obliged to ply 
the needle by day and by night, to procure even a scanty pittance for 
her dependent family. Let men become producers, as nature has de- 
signed them, and women be educated to fill all those stations which re- 
quire less physical strength, and we should soon modify many of our 
social evils. I am informed by the seamstresses of this city, that they 
get but thirty cents for making a satin vest, and from twelve to thirty for 
making pants, and coats in the same proportion. Man has such a con- 
temptible idea of woman, that he thinks she can not even sew as well as 
he can ; and he often goes to a tailor, and pays him double and even treble 
for making a suit, when it merely passes through his hands, after a woman 
has made every stitch of it so neatly that he discovers no difference. 
Who does not see gross injustice in this inequality of wages and violation 
of rights ? To prove that woman is capable of prosecuting the mercan- 
tile business, we have a noble example in this city in Mrs. Gifford, who 
has sustained herself with credit. She has bravely triumphed over all 
obloquy and discouragement attendant on such a novel experiment, and 
made for herself an independent living. 

In the fields of benevolence, woman has done great and noble works 
for the safety and stability of the nation. When man shall see the wis- 
dom of recognizing a co-worker in her, then may be looked for the dawn- 
ing of a pei feet day, when woman shall stand where God designed she 
should, on an even platform with man himself. 

Mrs. Roberts, who had been requested to investigate the wrongs 
of the laboring classes, and to invite that oppressed portion of the 
community to attend the Convention, and take part in its delib- 
erations, made some appropriate remarks relative to the intolerable 
servitude and small remuneration paid to the working-class of worn- 

Intellect Governs Everywhere. 79 

en. She reported the average price of labor for seamstresses to be 
from 31 to 38 cents a day, and board from 1.25 to $1.50 per week 
to be deducted therefrom, and they were generally obliged to take 
half or more in due bills, which were payable in goods at certain 
stores, thereby obliging them many times to pay extortionate prices. 

Mrs. Galloy corroborated the statement, having herself experi- 
enced some of the oppressions of this portion of our citizens, and 
expressed her gratitude that the subject was claiming the attention 
of this benevolent and intelligent class of community. It did not 
require much argument, to reconcile all who took part in the de- 
bates, to woman's right to equal wages for equal work, but the 
gentlemen seemed more disturbed as to the effect of equality in the 
family. With the old idea of a divinely ordained head, and that, 
in all cases, the man, whether wise or foolish, educated or ignorant, 
sober or drunk, such a relation to them did not seem feasible. Mr. 
Sully asked, when the two heads disagree, who must decide ? There 
is no Lord Chancellor to whom to apply, and does not St. Paul 
strictly enjoin obedience to husbands, and that man shall be head of 
the woman ? 

Lucre tia Mott replied that in the Society of Friends she had 
never known any difficulty to arise on account of the wife's not hav- 
ing promised obedience in the marriage contract. She had never 
known any mode of decision except an appeal to reason ; and, al- 
though in some of the meetings of this Society, women are placed 
on an equality, none of the results so much dreaded had occurred. 
She said that many of the opposers of Woman's Rights, who bid us 
to obey the bachelor St. Paul, themselves reject his counsel. He 
advised them not to marry. In general answer she would quote, 
" One is your master, even Christ." Although Paul enjoins silence 
on women in the Church, yet he gives directions how they should 
appear when publicly speaking, and we have scriptural accounts of 
honorable women not a few who were religious teachers, viz : 
Phebe, Priscilla, Tryphena, Triphosa, and the four daughters of 
Philip, and various others. 

Mrs. Stanton thought the gentleman might be easily answered ; 
saying that the strongest will or the superior intellect now governs 
the household, as it will in the new order. She knew many a 
woman, who, to all intents and purposes, is at the head of her 

Mr. Pickard asked who, after marriage, should hold the property, 
and whose name should be retained. He thought an umpire neces- 
sary. He did not see but all business must cease until the consent 

80 History of Woman Suffrage. 

of both parties be obtained. He saw an impossibility of intro- 
ducing such rules into society. The Gospel had established the 
unity and oneness of the married pair. 

Mrs. Stan ton said she thought the Gospel, rightly understood, 
pointed to a oneness of equality, not subordination, and that prop- 
erty should be jointly held. She could see no reason why marriage 
by false creeds should be made a degradation to woman ; and, as to 
the name, the custom of taking the husband's name is not universal. 
When a man has a bad name in any sense, he might be the gainer 
by burying himself under the good name of his wife. This last 
winter a Mr. Cruikshanks applied to our Legislature to have his 
name changed. Now, if he had taken his wife's name in the begin- 
ning, he might have saved the Legislature the trouble of considering 
the propriety of releasing the man from such a burden to be entailed 
on the third and fourth generation. When a slave escapes from a 
Southern plantation, he at once takes a name as the first step in lib- 
erty the first assertion of individual identity. A woman's dignity 
is equally involved in a life-long name, to mark her individuality. 
We can not overestimate the demoralizing effect on woman herself, 
to say nothing of society at large, for her to consent thus to merge 
her existence so wholly in that of another. 

A well-written speech was read by William C. Nell, which Mrs. 
Mott thought too flattering. She said woman is now sufficiently 
developed to prefer justice to compliment, 

A letter was read from Gerrit Smith, approving cordially of the 
object of the Convention. 

Mrs. Stanton read the Declaration that was adopted at Seneca 
Falls, and urged those present who did not agree with its sentiments, 
to make their objections then and there. She hoped if there were 
any clergymen present, they would not keep silent during the Con- 
vention and then on Sunday do as their brethren did in Seneca 
Falls use their pulpits throughout the city to denounce them, 
where they could not, of course, be allowed to reply. 

The resolutions* were freely discussed by Amy Post, Rhoda De 
Garmo, Ann Edgeworth, Sarah D. Fish, and others. While Mrs. Mott 
and Mrs. Stanton spoke in their favor, they thought they were too 
tame, and wished for some more stirring declarations. Elizabeth 
McClintock read, in an admirable manner, a spirited poetical reply, 
from the pen of Maria Weston Chapman, to " A Clerical Appeal " 
published in 1840. Mrs. Chapman was one of the grand women in 

* See Appendix. 

"Pastoral Letter." 81 

Boston, who, during the early days of Anti-Slavery, gave her un- 
ceasing efforts to that struggle. Her pen was a power in the jour- 
nals and magazines, and her presence an inspiration in their fairs 
and conventions, When Abby Kelly, Angelina Grimke, and Lu- 
cretia Mott first began to speak to promiscuous assemblies in Anti- 
Slavery Conventions, " a clerical appeal " was issued and sent to all 
the clergymen in New England, calling on them to denounce in 
their pulpits this unmannerly and unchristian proceeding. Sermons 
were preached, portraying in the darkest colors the fearful results 
to the Church, the State, and the home, in thus encouraging women 
to enter public life. 


Extract irom a Pastoral Letter of " the General Association of 
Massachusetts (Orthodox) to the Churches under their care " 1837 : 

III. We invite your attention to the dangers which at present seem 
to threaten the female character with wide-spread and permanent injury. 

The appropriate duties and influence of woman are clearly stated in 
the New Testament. Those duties and that influence are unobtrusive 
and private, but the source of mighty power. When the mild, depend- 
ent, softening influence of woman upon the sternness of man's opinions 
is fully exercised, society feels the effects of it in a thousand forms. The 
power of woman is her dependence, flowing from the consciousness of 
that weakness which God has given her for her protection, (!) and which 
keeps her in those departments of life that form the character of indi- 
viduals, and of the nation. There are social influences which females 
use in promoting piety and the great objects of Christian benevolence 
which we can not too highly commend. 

We appreciate the unostentatious prayers and efforts of woman in ad- 
vancing the cause of religion at home and abroad; in Sabbath-schools ; 
in leading religious inquirers to the pastors (!) for instruction; and in all 
such associated effort as becomes the modesty of her sex; and earnestly 
hope that she may abound more and more in these labors of piety and 
love. But when she assumes the place and tone of man as a public 
reformer, our care and protection of her seem unnecessary; we put our- 
selves in self-defence (!) against her; she yields the power which God has 
given her for her protection, and her character becomes unnatural. If 
the vine, whose strength and beauty is to lean upon the trellis-work, and 
half conceal its clusters, thinks to assume the independence and the 
overshadowing nature of the elm, it will not only cease to bear fruit, but 
fall in shame and dishonor into the dust. We can not, therefore, but re- 
gret the mistaken conduct of those who encourage females to bear an 
obtrusive and ostentatious part in measures of reform, and countenance 
any of that sex who so far forget themselves as to itinerate in the charac- 
ter of public lecturers and teachers. We especially deplore the intimate 
acquaintance and promiscuous conversation of females with regard to 

82 History of Woman Suffrage. 

things which ought not to be named; by which that modesty and deli- 
cacy which is the charm of domestic life, and which constitutes the true 
influence of woman in society, is consumed, and the way opened, as we 
apprehend, for degeneracy and ruin. 

We say these things not to discourage proper influences against sin, 
but to secure such reformation (!) as we believe is Scriptural, and will be 

William Lloyd Garrison, in a cordial letter, accompanying the 
above extract, which he had copied for us with his own hand from 
the files of The Liberator, said : " This < Clerical Bull ' was fulmi- 
nated with special reference to those two noble South Carolina wom- 
en, Sarah M. and Angelina E. Grimke, who were at that time pub- 
licly pleading for those in bonds as bound with them, while on a 
visit to Massachusetts. It was written by the Rev. Dr. Neherniah 
Adams, of Boston, author of A South-side Yiew of Slavery/' " 

Maria Weston Chapman's amusing answer in rhyme, shows that 
the days for ecclesiastical bulls were fast passing away, when women, 
even, could thus make light of them. 


Confusion has seized us, and all things go wrong, 
The women have leaped from "their spheres," 

And, instead of fixed stars, shoot as comets along, 
And are setting the world by the ears ! 

In courses erratic they're wheeling through space, 

In brainless confusion and meaningless chase. 

In vain do our knowing ones try to compute 

Their return to the orbit designed ; 
They're glanced at a moment, then onward they shoot, 

And are neither "to hold nor to bind; " 
So freely they move in their chosen ellipse, 
The "Lords of Creation " do fear an eclipse. 

They've taken a notion to speak for themselves, 

And are wielding the tongue and the pen ; 
They've mounted the rostrum; the termagant elves, 

And oh horrid ! are talking to men ! 
With faces unblanched in our presence they come 
To harangue us, they say, in behalf of the dumb. 

They insist on their right to petition and pray, 

That St. Paul, in Corinthians, has given them rules 

For appearing in public; despite what those say 
Whom we've trained to instruct them in schools; 

We can but Debat . 83 

But vain such instructions, if women may scan 
And quote texts of Scripture to favor their plan. 

Our grandmothers' learning consisted of yore 

In spreading their generous boards; 
In twisting the distaff, or mopping the floor, 

And obeying the will of their lords. 
Now, misses may reason, and think, and debate, 
Till unquestioned submission is quite out of date. 

Our clergy have preached on the sin and the shame 

Of woman, when out of " her sphere," 
And labored divinely to ruin her fame, 

And shorten this horrid career; 
But for spiritual guidance no longer they took 
To Fulsom, or Winslow, or learned Parson Cook. 

Our wise men have tried to exorcise in vain 

The turbulent spirits abroad; 
As well might we deal with the fetterless main, 

Or conquer ethereal essence with sword; 
Like the devils of Milton, they rise from each blow, 
With spirit unbroken, insulting the foe. 

Our patriot fathers, of eloquent fame, 

Waged war against tangible forms; 
Aye, their foes were men and if ours were the same, 

We might speedily quiet their storms ; 
But, ah! their descendants enjoy not such bliss 
The assumptions of Britain were nothing to this. 

Could we but array all our force in the field, 

We'd teach these usurpers of power 
That their bodily safety demands they should yield, 

And in the presence of manhood should cower; 
But, alas ! for our tethered and impotent state, 
Chained by notions of knighthood we can but debate. 

Oh ! shade of the prophet Mahomet, arise ! 

Place woman again in " her sphere," 
And teach that her soul was not born for the skies, 

But to flutter a brief moment here. 
This doctrine of Jesus, as preached up by Paul, 
If embraced in its spirit, will ruin us all. 

Lords of Creation. 

On reading the " Pastoral Letter," our Quaker poet, John Green- 
leaf Whittier, poured out his indi nation on the New England 
clergy in thrilling denunciations. Mr. Whittier early saw that 
woman's only protection against religious and social tyranny, could 

84 History of Woman Suffrage. 

be found in political equality. In the midst of the fierce conflicts 
in the Anti-Slavery Conventions of 1839 and '40, on the woman 
question per se, Mr. Whittier remarked to Lucretia Mott, " Give 
woman the right to vote, and you end all these persecutions by re- 
form and church organizations.' 


So, this is all the utmost reach 

Of priestly power the mind to fetter! 
When laymen think when women preach 

A war of words a "Pastoral Letter! " 
Now, shame upon ye, parish Popes! 

Was it thus with those, your predecessors, 
Who sealed with racks, and fire, and ropes 

Their loving-kindness to transgressors ? 

A "Pastoral Letter," grave and dull 

Alas! in hoof and horns and features, 
How different is your Brookfield bull, 

From him who bellows from St. Peter's! 
Your pastoral rights and powers from harm, 

Think ye, can words alone preserve them ? 
Your wiser fathers taught the arm 

And sword of temporal power to serve them. 

Oh, glorious days when Church and State 

Were wedded by your spiritual fathers! 
And on submissive shoulders sat 

Yours Wilsons and your Cotton Mathers. 
No vile " itinerant " then could mar 

The beauty of your tranquil Zion, 
But at his peril of the scar 

Of hangman's whip and branding-iron. 

Then, wholesome laws relieved the Church 

Of heretic and mischief-maker, 
And priest and bailiff joined in search, 

By turns, of Papist, witch, and Quaker! 
The stocks were at each church's door, 

The gallows stood on Boston Common, 
A Papist's ears the pillory bore 

The gallows-rope, a Quaker woman ! 

Your fathers dealt not as ye deal 

With "non-professing" frantic teachers; 

They bored the tongue with red-hot steel, 
And flayed the backs of " female preachers." 

Whittier demands Free Thought. 85 

Old Newbury, had her fields a tongue, 
And Salem's streets could tell their story, 

Of fainting woman dragged along, 

Gashed by the whip, accursed and gory ! 

And will ye ask me, why this taunt 

Of memories sacred from the scorner ? 
And why with reckless hand I plant 

A nettle on the graves ye honor ? 
Not to reproach New England's dead 

This record from the past I summon. 
Of manhood to the scaffold led, 

And suffering and heroic woman. 

No for yourselves alone, I turn 

The pages of intolerance over, 
That, in their spirit, dark and stern, 

Ye haply may your own discover! 
For, if ye claim the " pastoral right," 

To silence freedom's voice of warning, 
And from your precincts shut the light 

Of Freedom's day around ye dawning; 

If when an earthquake voice of power, 

And signs in earth and heaven, are showing 
That forth, in the appointed hour, 

The Spirit of the Lord is going! 
And, with that Spirit, Freedom's light 

On kindred, tongue, and people breaking, 
Whose slumbering millions, at the sight, 

In glory and in strength are waking 1 

When for the sighing of the poor, 

And for the needy, God hath risen, 
And chains are breaking, and a door 

Is opening for the souls in prison ! 
If then ye would, with puny hands, 

Arrest the very work of Heaven, 
And bind anew the evil bands 

Which God's right arm of power hath riven, 

What marvel that, in many a mind, 

Those darker deeds of bigot madness 
Are closely with your own combined, 

Yet " less in anger than in sadness "? 
What marvel, if the people learn 

To claim the right of free opinion? 
What marvel, if at times they spurn 

The ancient yoke of your dominion? 

86 History of Woman Suffrage. 

A glorious remnant linger yet, 

Whose lips are wet at Freedom's fountains, 
The coming of whose welcome feet 

Is beautiful upon our mountains! 
Men, who the gospel tidings bring 

Of Liberty and Love forever, 
Whose joy is an abiding spring, 

Whose peace is as a -ientle river! 

But ye, who scorn the thrilling tale 

Of Carolina's high-souled daughters, 
Which echoes here the mournful wail 

Of sorrow from Edisto's waters. 
Close while ye may the public ear 

With malice vex, with slander wound them 
The pure and good shall throng to hear, 

And tried and manly hearts surround them. 

Oh, ever may the power which led 

Their way to such a fiery trial, 
And strengthened womanhood to tread 

The wine-press of such self-denial, 
Be round them in an evil land, 

With wisdom and with strength from Heaven, 
With Miriam's voice, and Judith's hand, 

And Deborah's song, for triumph given ! 

And what are ye who strive with God 

Against the ark of His salvation, 
Moved by the breath of prayer abroad, 

With blessings for a dying nation? 
What, but the stubble and the hay 

To perish, even as flax consuming, 
With all that bars His glorious way, 

Before the brightness of His coming? 

And thou, sad Angel, who so long 

Hast waited for the glorious token, 
That Earth from all her bonds of wrong 

To liberty and light has broken 
Angel of Freedom ! soon to thee 

The sounding trumpet shall be given, 
And over Earth's full jubilee 

Shall deeper joy be felt in Heaven! 

In answer to the many objections made, by gentlemen present, 
to granting to woman the right of suffrage, Frederick Douglass 
replied in a long, argumentative, and eloquent appeal, for the com- 
plete equality of woman in all the rights that belong to any human 

' // Controversies. 87 

soul. He thought the fni;> basis of rights was the capacity of indi- 
viduals ; and as for himself, he should not dare claim -a right that 
he would not concede to woman. 

This Convention continued through three sessions, and was 
crowded with an attentive audience to the hour of adjournment. 
The daily papers made fair reports, and varied editorial comments, 
which, being widely copied, called out spicy controversies in differ- 
ent parts of the country. The resolutions and discussions regarding 
woman's right to enter the professions, encouraged many to pre- 
pare themselves for medicine and the ministry. Though few women 
responded to the demand for political rights, many at once saw the 
importance of equality in the world of work. 

The Seneca Falls Declaration was adopted, and signed by large 
numbers of influential men and women of Rochester and vicinity, 
and at a late hour the Convention adjourned, in the language of 
its President, " with hearts overflowing with gratitude." 



The first Suffrage Society Methodist class-leader whips his wife Theology enchains 
the soul The status of women and slaves the same The first medical college opened 
to women, Geneva, N. T. Petitions to the Legislature laughed at, and laid on the 
table Dependence woman's best protection ; her weakness her sweetest charm Dr. 
Elizabeth BlackwelTs letter. 

I WAS born and lived almost forty years in South Bristol, Ontario 
County one of the most secluded spots in Western JSTew York; but 
from the earliest dawn of reason I pined for that freedom of 
thought and action that was then denied to all womankind. I re- 
volted in spirit against the customs of society and the laws of the 
State that crushed my aspirations and debarred me from the pursuit 
of almost every object worthy of an intelligent, rational mind. But 
not until that meeting at Seneca Falls in 1848, of the pioneers in the 
cause, gave this feeling of unrest form and voice, did 1 take action. 
Then I summoned a few women in our neighborhood together and 
formed an Equal Suffrage Society, and sent petitions to our Legis- 
lature ; but our efforts were little known beyond our circle, as we 
were in communication with no person or newspaper. Yet there 
was enough of wrong in our narrow horizon to rouse some thought 
in the minds of all. 

In those early days a husband's supremacy was often enforced in 
the rural districts by corporeal chastisement, and it was considered 
by most people as quite right and proper as much so as the correc- 
tion of refractory children in like manner. I renl ember in my own 
neighborhood a man who was a Methodist class-leader and exhorter, 
and one who was esteemed a worthy citizen, who, every few weeks, 
gave his wife a beating with his horsewhip. He said it was neces- 
sary, in order to keep her in subjection, and because she scolded so 
much. Now this wife, surrounded by six or seven little children, 
whom she must wash, dress, feed, and attend to day and night, was ' 
obliged to spin and weave cloth for all the garments of the family. 
She had to milk the cows, make butter and cheese, do all the cook- 

Women and Slaves Compared. 89 

ing, washing, making, and mending for the famil}-, and, with the 
pains of maternity forced upon her every eighteen months, was 
whipped by her pious husband, " because she scolded." And pray, 
why should he not have chastised her ? The laws made it his privi- 
lege and the Bible, as interpreted, made it his duty. It is true, 
women repined at their hard lot ; but it was thought to be fixed by 
a divine decree, for " The man shall rule over thee," and " Wives, 
be subject to your husbands," and "Wives, submit yourselves unto 
your husbands as unto the Lord," caused them to consider their fate 
inevitable, and to feel that it would be contravening God's law to 
resist it. It is ever thus ; where Theology enchains the soul, the 
Tyrant enslaves the body. But can any one, who has any knowl- 
edge of the laws that govern our being of heredity and pre-natal 
influences be astonished that our jails and prisons are filled with 
criminals, and our hospitals with sickly specimens of humanity? 
As long as the mothers of the race are subject to such unhappy con- 
ditions, it can never be materially improved. Men exhibit some 
common sense in breeding all animals except those of their own 

All through the Anti-Slavery struggle, every word of denuncia- 
tion of the wrongs of the Southern slave, was, I felt, equally appli- 
cable to the wrongs of my own sex. Every argument for the eman- 
cipation of the colored man, was equally one for that of woman ; 
and I was surprised that all Abolitionists did not see the similarity 
in the condition of the two classes. I read, with intense interest, 
everything that indicated an awakening of public or private thought 
to the idea that woman did not occupy her rightful position in the 
organization of society ; and, when I read the lectures of Ernestine 
L. Kose and the writings of Margaret Fuller, and found that other 
women entertained the same thoughts that had been seething in my 
own brain, and realized that I stood not alone, how my heart 
bounded with joy ! The arguments of that distinguished jurist, 
Judge Hurlburt, encouraged me to hope that men would ultimately 
see the justice of our cause, and concede to women their natural 

I hailed with gladness any aspiration of women toward an enlarge- 
ment of their sphere of action ; and when, in the early part of 1848, 
I learned that Miss Elizabeth Black well had been admitted as a 
student to the medical college at Geneva, N. Y"., being the first lady 
in the United States that had attained that privilege, and knowing 
the tide of public sentiment she had to stem, I could not refrain 

90 History of Woman Suffrage. 

from writing her a letter of approval and encouragement. In re- 
turn I received the following : 

PHILADELPHIA, Augmt 12, 1848. 

DEAR MADAM: Your letter, I can assure you, met with a hearty wel- 
come from me. And I can not refrain from writing to you a warm ac- 
knowledgment of your cordial sympathy, and expressing the pleasure 
with which I have read your brave words. It is true, I look neither for 
praise nor blame in pursuing the path which I have chosen. With firm re- 
ligious enthusiasm, no opinion of the world will move me, but when I 
receive from a woman an approval so true-hearted and glowing, a recog- 
nition so clear of the motives which urge me on, then my very soul bounds 
at the thrilling words, and I go on with renewed energy, with hope, and 
holy joy in my inmost being. 

My whole life is devoted unreservedly to the service of my sex. The 
study and practice of medicine is in my thought but one means to a great 
end, for which my very soul yearns with intensest passionate emotion, 
of which I have dreamed day and night, from my earliest childhood, for 
which I would offer up my life with triumphant thanksgiving, if martyr- 
dom could secure that glorious end : the true ennoblement of 
woman, the full harmonious development of her unknown nature, and 
the consequent redemption of the whole human race. " Earth waits for 
her queen." Every noble movement of the age, every prophecy of future 
glory, every throb of that great heart which is laboring throughout 
Christendom, call on woman with a voice of thunder, with the authority 
of a God, to listen to the mighty summons to awake from her guilty 
sleep, and rouse to glorious action to play her part in the great drama of 
the ages, and finish the work that man has begun. 

Most fully do I respond to all the noble aspirations that fill your letter. 
Women are feeble, narrow, frivolous at present: ignorant of their own 
capacities, and undeveloped in thought and feeling; and while they re- 
main so, the great work of human regeneration must remain incomplete; 
humanity will continue to suffer, and cry in vain for deliverance, for 
woman has her work to do, and no one can accomplish it for her. She 
is bound to rise, to try her strength, to break her bonds; not with 
noisy outcry, not with fighting or complaint; but with quiet strength, 
with gentle dignity, firmly, irresistibly, with a cool determination that 
never wavers, with a clear insight into her own capacities, let her do her 
duty, pursue her highest conviction of right, and firmly grasp whatever 
she is able to carry. 

Much is said of the oppression woman suffers; man is reproached with 
being unjust, tyrannical, jealous. I do not so read human life. The ex- 
clusion and constraint woman suffers, is not the result of purposed injury 
or premeditated insult. It has arisen naturally, without violence, sim- 
ply because woman has desired nothing more, has not felt the soul too 
large for the body. But when woman, with matured strength, with 
steady purpose, presents her lofty claim, all barriers will give way, and 
man will welcome, with a thrill of joy, the new birth of his sister spirit, 
the advent of his partner, his co-worker, in the great universe of being. 

Women's Protective Union. 91 

If the present arrangements of society will not admit of woman's free 
development, then society must be remodeled, and adapted to the great 
wants of all humanity. Our race is one, the interests of all are insepa- 
rably united, and harmonic freedom for the perfect growth of every hu- 
man soul is the great want of our time. It has given me heartfelt satis- 
faction, dear madam, that you sympathize in my effort to advance the 
great interests of humanity. I feel the responsibility of my position, and 
I shall endeavor, by wisdom of action, purity of motive, and unwavering 
steadiness of purpose, to justify the noble hope I have excited. To me 
the future is full of glorious promise, humanity is arousing to accom- 
plish its grand destiny, and in the fellowship of this great hope, I would 
greet you, and recognize in your noble spirit a fellow-laborer for the true 


But, it was the proceedings of the Convention, in 1848, at Sen- 
eca Falls, that first gave a direction to the efforts of the many wom- 
en, who began to feel the degradation of their subject condition, 
and its baneful effects upon the human race. They then saw the 
necessity for associated action, in order to obtain the elective fran- 
chise, the only key that would unlock the doors of their prison. . I 
wrote to Miss Sarah C. Owen, Secretary of the Women's Protective 
Union, at Rochester, as to the line of procedure that had been pro- 
posed there. In reply, under date of October 1, 1848, she says : 

Your letter has just reached me, and with much pleasure I reply to 
the echo of inquiry, beyond the bounds of those personally associated 
with us in this enterprise. It is indeed encouraging to hear a voice from 
South Bristol in such perfect unison with our own. 

Possibly, extracts from my next letter to Miss Owen, dated Oct. 
23, 1848, will give you the best idea of the movement: 

I should have acknowledged the receipt of yours of the 1st inst. ear- 
lier, but wished to report somewhat of progress whenever I should write. 
Our prospects here are brightening. Every lady of any worth or intelli- 
gence adopts unhesitatingly our view, and concurs in our measures. 
On the 19th inst. we met and organized a Woman's Equal Rights Union. 
Living in the country, where the population is sparse, we are conse- 
quently few; but hope to make up in zeal and energy for our lack of 
numbers. We breathe a freer, if not a purer atmosphere here among 
the mountains, than do the dwellers in cities, have more independence, 
are less subject to the despotism of fashion, and are less absorbed 

with dress and amusements A press entirely devoted to our 

cause seems indispensable. If there is none such, can you tell me of 
any paper that advocates our claims more warmly than the North Start* 

* Published by Frederick Douglass, the first colored man that edited a paper in this 
country. His press was presented to him by the women of England, who sj'mpathized 
with the anti-slavery movement. 

92 History of Woman Suffrage. 

A lecturer in the field would be most desirable; but how to raise funds 
to sustain one is the question. I never really wished for Aladdin's lamp 
till now. Would to Heaven that women could be persuaded to use the 
funds they acquire by their sewing-circles and fairs, in trying to raise their 
own condition above that of "infants, idiots, and lunatics," with whom 
our statutes class them, instead of spending the money in decorating theii 
churches, or sustaining a clergy, the most of whom are striving to rivet 
the chains still closer that bind, not only our own sex, but the oppressed 
of every class and color. 

The elective franchise is now the one object for which we must la- 
bor; that once attained, all the rest will be easily acquired. Moral Re- 
form and Temperance Societies may be multiplied ad infinitum, but they 
have about the same effect upon the evils they seek to cure, as clipping 
the top of a hedge would have toward extirpating it. Please forward me 
a copy of the petition for suffrage. We will engage to do all we can, not 
only in our own town, but in the adjoining ones of Richmond, East 
Bloomfield, Canandaigua. and Naples. I have promises of aid from peo- 
ple of influence in obtaining signatures. In the meantime we wish to 
disseminate some able work upon the enfranchisement of women. We 
wish to present our Assemblyman elect, whoever he may be, with some 
work of this kind, and solicit his candid attention to the subject. Peo- 
ple are more willing to be convinced by the calm perusal of an argument, 
than in a personal discussion 

Our Society was composed of some fifteen or twenty ladies, and 
we met once in two weeks, in each other's parlors, alternately, for 
discussion and interchange of ideas. I was chosen President ; Mrs. 
Sophia Allen, Yice-President ; Mrs. Horace Pennell, Treasurer ; and 
one of several young ladies who were members was Secretary. Hor- 
ace Pennell, Esq., and his wife were two of our most earnest helpers. 
We drafted a petition to the Legislature to grant women the right 
of suffrage, and obtained the names of sixty-two of the most intel- 
ligent people, male and female, in our own and adjoining towns, 
and sent it to our Representative in Albany. It was received by 
the Legislature as something absurdly ridiculous, and laid upon the 
table. We introduced the question into the Debating Clubs, that 
were in those days such popular institutions in the rural districts, 
and in every way sought to agitate the subject. I found a great 
many men, especially those of the better class, disposed to accord 
equal rights to our sex. And, now, as the highest tribute that I can 
pay to the memory of a husband, I may say that during our com- 
panionship of thirty-five years, I was most cordially sustained by 
mine, in my advocacy of equal rights to women. Amongst my 
own sex, I found too many on whom ages of repression had wrought 
their natural effect, and whose ideas and aspirations were narrowed 
down to the confines of " woman's sphere," beyond whose limits it 

Woman's Weakness Tier Sweetest Charm. 93 

was not only impious, but infamous to tread. " Woman's sphere " 
then, was to discharge the duties of a housekeeper, ply the needle, 
and teach a primary or ladies' school. From press, and pulpit, and 
platform, she was taught that " to be unknown was her highest 
praise," that "dependence was her best protection," and "her 
weakness her sweetest charm." She needed only sufficient intelli 
gence to comprehend her husband's superiority, and to obey him in 
all things. It is not surprising, then, that I as often heard the terms 
u strong-minded " and u masculine" as opprobrious epithets used 
against progressive women, by their own sex as by the other ; an- 
other example only of the stultifying effect of subjection, upon the 
mind, exactly paralleled by the Southern slaves, amongst many of 
whom the strongest term of contempt that could be used was 
" Free Nigger" Our Equal Rights Association continued to hold 
its meetings for somewhat over a year, and they were at last sus- 
pended on account of bad weather and the difficulty of coming to- 
gether in the country districts. We, however, continued to send 
petitions to the Legislature for the removal of woman's disabilities. 

From 1858 to 1869 my home was in Rochester, N. Y. There, 
by brief newspaper articles and in other ways, I sought to in- 
fluence public sentiment in favor of this fundamental reform. In 
1868 a Society was organized there for the reformation of abandoned 
women. At one of its meetings I endeavored to show how futile 
all their efforts would be, while women, by the laws of the land, 
were made a subject class ; that only by enfranchising woman and 
permitting her a more free and lucrative range of employments, 
could they hope to suppress the " social evil" My remarks pro- 
duced some agitation in the meeting and some newspaper criticisms. 
In Rochester, I found many pioneers in the cause of Woman Suf- 
frage, and from year to year we petitioned our Legislature for it. 

Since 1869 I have been a citizen of Louisiana. Here, till re- 
cently, political troubles engrossed the minds of men to tjie exclu- 
sion of every other consideration. They glowed with fiery indigna- 
tion at being, themselves, deprived of the right of suffrage, or at 
having their votes annulled, and regarded it as an intolerable out- 
rage ; yet, at the same time, they denied it to all women, many of 
whom valued the elective franchise as highly, and felt as intensely, 
as did men, the injustice that withheld it from them. In 1879, 
when the Convention met to frame a new Constitution for the 
State, we strongly petitioned it for an enlargement of our civil 
rights and for the ballot. Mrs. Elizabeth L. Saxon was indefatiga- 
ble in her efforts, and went before the Convention in person 

94 History of Woman Suffrage. 

and plead our cause. But the majority of the members thought 
there were cogent reasons for not granting our petitions ; but they 
made women eligible to all school offices an indication that Louis- 
iana will not be the last State in the Union to deny women their 
inalienable rights. EMILY COLLINS. 

The newspaper comments on Elizabeth Blackwell as a physician, 
both in the French and American papers, seem very ridiculous to 
as at this distance of time. The American, Rochester, 1ST. Y., 
July, 1848 : 

A NOVEL CIRCUMSTANCE. Our readers will perhaps remember that 
some time ago a lady, Miss Elizabeth Blackwell, applied for admission 
as a student in one of the medical colleges of Philadelphia, her purpose 
being to go through an entire course of the study of medicine. The ap- 
plication was denied, and the lady subsequently entered the Geneva 
Medical College, where, at the Annual Commencement on the 23d in- 
stant, she graduated with high honors and received the degree of M.D., 
the subject of her thesis being "ship fever." On receiving her diploma 
she thus addressed the President: "With the help of the Most High, it 
shall be the effort of my life to shed honor on this diploma." Professor 
Lee, who delivered the customary oration, complimented the lady by 
saying that she had won the distinction of her class by attending faith- 
fully to every duty required of candidates striving for the honor. Eight- 
een young gentlemen received the degree of M.D. at the same time. 

After graduating with high honors in this country, Dr. Elizabeth 
Blackwell went to France to secure still higher advantages of edu- 
cation than could be found here. What was thought of her there 
will be seen by the following letter of a Paris correspondent in the 
New York Journal of Commerce : 

AN AMERICAN DOCTRESS. The medical community of Paris is all 
agog by the arrival of the celebrated American doctor, Miss Blackwell. 
She has quite bewildered the learned faculty by her diploma, all in due 
form, authorizing her to dose and bleed and amputate with the best of 
them. Some of them think Miss Blackwell must be a socialist of the 
most rabid class, and that her undertaking is the entering wedge to a 
systematic attack on society by the whole sex. Others, who have seen 
her, say that there is nothing very alarming in her manner; that, on the 
contrary, she is modest and unassuming, and talks reasonably on other 
subjects. The ladies attack her in turn. One said to me a few days 
since, "Oh, it is too horrid! I'm sure I never could touch her hand! 
Only to think that those long fingers of hers had been cutting up dead 
people." I have seen the doctor in question, and must say in fairness, 
that her appearance is quite prepossessing. She is young, and rather 
good-looking; her manner indicates great energy of character, and she 
seems to have entered on her singular career from motives of duty, and 

A Native of Poland. 95 

encouraged by respectable ladies of Cincinnati. After about ten days' 
hesitation, on the part of the directors of the Hospital of Maternity, 
she has at last received permission to enter the institution as a pupil. 



Ernestine L. Rose maiden name Siismund Potoski was born 
January 13, 1810, at Pyeterkow, in Poland. Her father, a very pious 
and learned rabbi, was so conscientious that he would take no pay 
for discharging the functions of his office, saying he would not con- 
vert his duty into a means of gain. As a child she was of a reflective 
habit, and though very active and cheerful, she scarcely ever en- 
gaged with her young companions in their sports, but took great 
delight in the company of her father, for whom she entertained a 
remarkable affection. 

At a very early age she commenced reading the Hebrew Script- 
ures, but soon became involved in serious difficulties respecting the 
formation of the world, the origin of evil, and other obscure points 
suggested by the sacred history and cosmogony of her people. The 
reproofs which met her at every step of her biblical investigations, 
and being constantly told that " little girls must not ask questions," 
made her at that early day an advocate of religious freedom and 
woman's rights ; as she could not see, on the one hand, why subjects 
of vital interest should be held too sacred for investigation, nor, on 
the other, why a " little girl " should not have the same right to 
ask questions as a little boy. Despite her early investigation of the 
Bible, she was noted for her strict observance of all the rites and 
ceremonies of the Jewish faith, though some of them, on account 
of her tender age, were not demanded of her. She was, however, 
often painfully disturbed by her " carnal reason " questioning the 
utility of these multifarious observances. As an illustration, she 
one day asked her father, with much anxiety, why he fasted* so 
much more than others, a habit which was seriously impairing his 
health and spirits ; and being told that it was to please God, who 
required this sacrifice at his hands, she, in a serious and most em- 
phatic tone, replied, " If God is pleased in making you sick and 
unhappy, I hate God." This idea of the cruelty of God toward her 
father had a remarkable influence upon her ; and at the age of four- 

* Fasting with Jews meant abstaining from food and drink from before sunset one 
evening, until after the stars were out the next evening. 

96 History of Woman Suffrage. 

teen she renounced her belief in the Bible and the religion of her 
father, which brought down upon her great trouble and persecution 
alike from her own Jewish friends and from Christians. 

At the age of sixteen she had the misfortune to lose her mother. 
A year afterward her father married again, and through misdirected 
kindness involved her in a lawsuit, in which she plead her own case 
and won it ; but she left the property with her father, declaring 
that she cared nothing for it, but only for justice, and that her in- 
heritance might not fall into mercenary hands. She subsequently 
traveled in Poland, Russia, the Germanic States, Holland, Belgium, 
France, and England ; during which time she witnessed and took 
part in some interesting and important affairs. While in Berlin 
she had an interview with the King of Prussia concerning the right 
of Polish Jews to remain in that city. The Jews of Russian Poland 
were not permitted to continue in Prussia, unless they could bring 
forward as security Prussian citizens who were holders of real estate. 
But even then they could get a permit to tarry only on a visit, and 
not to transact any business for themselves. Mile. Potoski, being 
from Poland and a Jewess, was subject to this disability. Though 
she could have obtained the requisite security by applying for it, she 
preferred to stand upon her natural rights as a human being. She 
remonstrated against the gross injustice of the law, and obtained the 
right to remain as long as she wished, and to do what she pleased. 

In Hague, she became acquainted with a very distressing case o 
a poor sailor, the father of four children, whose wife had been im- 
prisoned for an alleged crime of which he insisted she was innocent. 
Inquiring into the case, Mile. Potoski drew up a petition which she 
personally presented to the King of Holland, and had the satisfac- 
tion of seeing the poor woman restored to her family. She was in 
Paris during the Revolution of July, 1830, and witnessed most of 
its exciting scenes. On seeing Louis Phillipe presented by Lafay- 
ette to the people of Paris from the balcony of the Tuilleries, she re- 
marked to a friend, " That man, as well as Charles X., will one day 
have good reason to wish himself safely off the throne of France." 

In England she became acquainted with Lord Grosvenor and fam- 
ily, with Frances Farrar, sister of Oliver Farrar, M.P., the Miss 
Leeds, and others of the nobility ; also with many prominent mem- 
bers of the Society of Friends, among them Joseph Gurney and his 
sister Elizabeth Fry, the eminent philanthropist, in whose company 
she visited Newgate Prison. In 1832 she made the acquaintance of 
Robert Owen, and warmly espoused his principles. In 1834 she 
presided at the formation of a society called " The Association of all 

./:///< *////r L. Rose. 07 

Classes of all Nations, without distinction of sect, sex, party condi- 
tion, or color." While in England she married William E. Rose, 
and in the spring of 1836, came to the United States, and resided 
in the city of New York. Soon after her arrival she commenced 
lecturing on the evils of the existing social system, the formation 
of human character, slavery, the rights of woman, and other re- 
form questions. 

At a great public meeting in the Broadway Tabernacle to consider 
the necessity of an improved system of Free Schools, J. S. Bucking- 
ham, M.P., of England, and Rev. Robert Breckenridge, of Ken- 
tucky, were among the speakers. Mrs. Rose, sitting in the gallery, 
called the reverend gentleman to order for violating the sense of the 
audience, in entirely overlooking the important object which had 
called the people together, and indulging in a violent clerical har- 
angue against a class whom he stigmatized as infidels. This bold inno- 
vation of a woman upon the hitherto unquestioned prerogatives of 
the clergy, at once caused a tremendous excitement. Loud cries of 
" Throw her down ! " " Drag her out ! " " She's an infidel ! " re- 
sounded in all parts of the building. She, however, held her ground, 
calm and collected while the tumult lasted, and after quiet was re- 
stored, continued her remarks in a most dignified manner, making a 
deep impression upon all present. Certain religious papers declared 
it a forewarning of some terrible calamity, that a woman should call 
a minister to account, and that, too, in a church. 

Mrs. Rose has lectured in not less than twenty-three different 
States of the Union. Some of them she has visited often, and on 
several occasions she has addressed legislative bodies with marked 
effect, advocating the necessity of legal redress for the wrongs and 
disabilities to which her sex are subject. As an advocate of wom- 
an's rights, anti-slavery and religious liberty, she has earned a world- 
wide celebrity. For fifty years a public speaker, during which pe- 
riod she has associated with the influential classes in Europe and 
America, and borne an active part in the great progressive move- 
ments which mark the present as the most glorious of historical 
epochs, Ernestine L. Rose has accomplished for the elevation of her 
sex and the amelioration of social conditions, a work which can be 
ascribed to few women of our time. 

In the spring of 1854, Mrs. Rose and Miss Anthony took a trip 
together to Washington, Alexandria, Baltimore, Philadelphia, speak- 
ing two or three times in each place. This was after the introduc- 
tion of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in Congress, and the excitement of 
the country upon the slavery question was intense. Mrs. Rose's 

98 History of Woman Suffrage. 

third lecture in Washington was on the " Nebraska Question." This 
lecture was scarcely notice 3, the only paper giving it the least re- 
port, being The Washington Globe, which, though it spoke most 
highly of her as a lecturer, misrepresented her by ascribing to her 
the arguments of the South. The National Era, the only anti-slav- 
ery paper in Washington, was entirely silent, taking no notice of 
the fact that Mrs. Rose had spoken in that city against the further 
spread of slavery. Whether this was due to editorial prejudice 
against sex, or against freedom of religious belief, is unknown. 

In the winter of 1855, Mrs. Rose spoke in thirteen of the fifty- 
four County Conventions upon woman suffrage held in the State of 
New York, and each winter took part in the Albany Conventions 
and hearings before the Legislature, which in 1860 resulted in the 
passage of the bill securing to women the right to their wages and 
the equal guardianship of their children. 

Mrs. Rose was sustained in her work by the earnest sympathy 
of her husband, who gladly furnished her the means of making 
her extensive tours, so that through his sense of justice she was 
enabled to preach the Gospel of Woman's Rights, Anti-Slavery, and 
Free Religion without money and without price. 

The Boston Investigator of January 15, 1881, speaking of a letter 
just received from her, says : " Thirty years ago Mrs. Rose was in her 
prime an excellent lecturer, liberal, eloquent, witty, and we must 
add, decidedly handsome f the Rose that all were praising.' Her 
portrait, life-size and very natural, hangs in Investigator Hall, and 
her intelligent-looking and expressive countenance, and black glossy 
curls, denote intellect and beauty. As an anti-slavery lecturer, a pio- 
neer in the cause of woman's rights, and an advocate of Liberalism, 
she did good service, and is worthy to be classed with such devoted 
friends of humanity and freedom as Frances Wright, Harriet Mar- 
tin eau, Lucretia Mott, and Lydia Maria Child, who will long be 
pleasantly remembered for their c works' sake.' ' : 

LONDON, January 9, 1877. 

MY DEAR Miss ANTHONY : Sincerely do I thank you for your kind let- 
ter. Believe me it would give me great pleasure to comply with your re- 
quest, to tell you all about myself and my past labors; but I suffer so 
much from neuralgia in my head and general debility, that I could not 
undertake the task, especially as I have nothing to refer to. I have 
never spoken from notes; and as I did not intend to publish anything 
about myself, for I had no other ambition except to work for the cause 
of humanity, irrespective of sex, sect, country, or color, and did not ex- 
pect that a Susan B. Anthony would wish to do it for me, I made no 
memorandum of places, dates, or names ; and thirty or forty years ago 

Letter from Mrs. Hose. 99 

the press was not sufficiently educated in the rights of woman, even to 
notice, much less to report speeches as it does now; and therefore I 
have not anything to assist me or you. 

All that I can tell you is, that I used my humble powers to the utter- 
most, and raised my voice in behalf of Human Rights in general, and 
the elevation and Rights of Woman in particular, nearly all my life. 
And so little have I spared myself, or studied my comfort in summer 
or winter, rain or shine, day or night, when I had an opportunity to 
^vork for the cause to which I had devoted myself, that I can hardly 
wonder at my present state of health. 

Yet in spite of hardships, for it was not as easy to travel at that time 
as now, and the expense, as I never made a charge or took up a collec- 
tion. I look back to that time, when a stranger and alone, I went from 
place to place, in high-ways and by-ways, did the work and paid my 
bills with great pleasure and satisfaction ; for the cause gained ground, 
and in spite of my heresies I had always good audiences, attentive list- 
eners, and was well received wherever I went. 

But I can mention from memory the principal places where I have 
spoken. In the winter of 1836 and '37, I spoke in New York, and for 
some years after I lectured in almost every city in the State ; Hudson, 
Poughkeepsie, Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Utica, Syracuse, Roches- 
ter, Buffalo, Elmira, and other places; in New Jersey, in Newark and 
Burlington; in 1837, in Philadelphia, Bristol, Chester, Pittsburg, and 
other places in Pennsylvania, and at Wilmington in Delaware ; in 1842, 
In Boston, Charlestown, Beverly, Florence, Springfield, and other points 
in Massachusetts, and in Hartford, Connecticut; in 1844, in Cincinnati, 
Dayton, Zanesville, Springfield, Cleveland, Toledo, and several settle- 
ments in the backwoods of Ohio, and also in Richmond, Indiana; in 
1845 and '46, I lectured three times in the Legislative Hall in Detroit, 
.and at Ann Arbor and other places in Michigan ; and in 1847 and '48, I 
.spoke in Charleston and Columbia, in South Carolina. 

In 1850, I attended the first National Woman's Rights Convention in 
Worcester, and nearly all the National and State Conventions since, 
until I went to Europe in 1869. Returning to New York in 1874, I was 
present at the Convention in Irving Hall, the only one held during my 
visit to America. 

I sent the first petition to the New York Legislature to give a married 
-woman the right to hold real estate in her own name, in the winter of 
1836 and '37, to which after a good deal of trouble I obtained five signa- 
tures. Some of the ladies said the gentlemen would laugh at them; 
others, that they had rights enough; and the men said the women had 
too many rights already. Woman at that time had not learned to know 
that she had any rights except those that man in his generosity 
.allowed her; both have learned something since that time which they 
will never forget. I continued sending petitions with increased numbers 
of signatures until 1848 and '49, when the Legislature enacted the law 
which granted to woman the right to keep what was her own. But no 
-.sooner did it become legal than all the women said, " Oh ! that is right ! 
We ought always to have had that." 

100 History of Woman Suffrage. 

During the eleven years from 1837 to 1848, I addressed the New York 
Legislature five times, and since 1848 I can not say positively, but a good 
many times; you know all that better than any one else. 

Your affectionate friend, ERNESTINE L. ROSE. 

In collecting the reminiscences of those who took the initiative 
steps in this movement, Mrs. Rose was urged to send us some of 
her experiences, but in writing that it was impossible for her to do 
so, and yet giving us the above summary of all she has accomplished, 
multum in parvo, she has in a good measure complied with our 

All through these eventful years Mrs. Rose has fought a double 
battle ; not only for the political rights of her sex as women, but 
for their religious rights as individual souls ; to do their own think- 
ing and believing. How much of the freedom they now enjoy, the 
women of America owe to this noble Polish woman, can not be esti- 
mated, for moral influences are too subtle for measurement. 

Those who sat with her on the platform in bygone days, well re- 
member her matchless powers as a speaker ; and how safe we all 
felt while she had the floor, that neither in manner, sentiment, 
argument, nor repartee, would she in any way compromise the dig- 
nity of the occasion. 

She had a rich musical voice, with just enough of foreign accent 
and idiom to add to the charm of her oratory. As a speaker she 
was pointed, logical, and impassioned. She not only dealt in ab- 
stract principles clearly, but in their application touched the deepest 
emotions of the human soul. 


The promised land of fugitives" Uncle Tom's Cabin "Salem Convention, 1850 Akron, 
1851 Massilon, 1852 The address to the women of Ohio The Mohammedan law for- 
bids pigs, dogs, women, and other impure animals to enter a Mosque The New York 
Tribune Cleveland Convention, 1853 Hon. Joshua R. Giddings Letter from Horace 
Greeley A glowing eulogy to Mary Wollstonecroft William Henry Channing's Dec- 
laration The pulpit responsible for public sentiment President Asa Mahau debates 
The Rev. Dr. Xevin pulls Mr. Garrison's nose Antoinette L. Brown describes her 
exit from the World's Temperance Convention Cincinnati Convention, 1855 Jane 
Elizabeth Jones' Report, 1861. 

THERE were several reasons for the early, and more general agita- 
tion of Woman's Rights in Ohio at this period, than in other States. 
Being separated from the slave border by her river only, Ohio had 
long been the promised land of fugitives, and the battle-ground 
for many recaptured victims, involving much litigation. 

Most stringent laws had been passed, called "the black laws of 
Ohio," to prevent these escapes through her territory. Hence, this 
State was the ground for some of the most heated anti-slavery dis- 
cussions, not only in the Legislature, but in frequent conventions. 
Garrison and his followers, year after year, had overrun the " Western 
"Reserve," covering the north-eastern part of the State, carrying the 
gospel of freedom to every hamlet. 

A radical paper, called The Anti-Slavery Bugle, edited by Oliver 
Johnson, was published in Salem. It took strong ground in favor 
of equal rights for woman, and the editor did all in his power to 
sustain the conventions, and encourage the new movement. 

Again, Abby Kelly's eloquent voice had been heard all through 
this State, denouncing "the black laws of Ohio," appealing to the 
ready sympathies of woman for the suffering of the black mothers, 
wives, and daughters of the South. This grand woman, equally fa- 
miliar with the tricks of priests and politicians, the action of Synods, 
General Assemblies, State Legislatures, and Congresses, who could 
maintain an argument with any man on the slavery question, had 
immense influence, not only in the anti-slavery conflict, but by her 
words and example she inspired woman with new self-respect. 

These anti-slavery conventions, in which the most logical reason- 
era, and the most eloquent, impassioned orators the world ever pro- 
duced, kept their audiences wrought up to the highest pitch of en- 


102 History of Woman Suffrage. 

thusiasm hour after hour, were the school in which woman's rights 
found its ready-made disciples. With such women as Frances IX 
Gage, Hannah Tracy Cutler, Josephine S. Gritting, J. Elizabeth 
Jones, Mariana Johnson, Emily Robinson, Maria Giddings, Betsey 
Cowles, Caroline M. Severance, Martha J. Tilden, Rebecca A. S. 
Janney, to listen to the exhaustive arguments on human rights, 
verily the seed fell on good ground, and the same justice, that in 
glowing periods was claimed for the black man, they now claimed 
for themselves, and compelled the law-makers of this State to give 
some consideration to the wrongs of woman. 

Again, in 1850, Ohio held a Constitutional Convention, and these 
women, thoroughly awake to their rights, naturally thought, that if 
the fundamental laws of the State were to be revised and amended, 
it was a fitting time for them to ask to be recognized. 

In 1851, Harriet Beecher Stowe commenced the publication of 
" Uncle Tom's Cabin " in the National Era, in Washington, D. C. r 
which made Ohio, with its great river, classic soil, and quickened the 
pulsations of every woman's heart in the nation. 

Reports of the New York Conventions, widely copied and ridi- 
culed in leading journals, from Maine to Texas, struck the key-note 
for similar gatherings in several of the Northern States. Without 
the least knowledge of one another, without the least concert of ac- 
tion, women in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts,, 
sprang up as if by magic, and issued calls for similar conventions. 
The striking uniformity in their appeals, petitions, resolutions, and 
speeches ; making the same complaints and asking the same redress 
for grievances, shows that all were moved by like influences. Those 
who made the demand for political freedom in 1848, in Europe 
as well as America, were about the same age. Significant facts to- 
show that new liberty for woman was one of the marked ideas of 
the century, and that as the chief factor in civilization, the time had 
come for her to take her appropriate place. 

The actors in this new movement were not, as the London and 
New York journals said, " sour old maids," but happy wives and 
faithful mothers, who, in a higher development, demanded the rights 
and privileges befitting the new position. And if they may be 
judged by the vigor and eloquence of their addresses, and the 
knowledge of parliamentary tactics they manifested in their con- 
ventions, the world must accord them rare common- sense, good 
judgment, great dignity of character, and a clear comprehension of 
the principles of government. In order to show how well those who 
inaugurated this movement, understood the nature of our republican 

A Scriptural View. 103 

institutions, and how justly they estimated their true position in a 
republic, we shall give rather more of these early speeches and let- 
ters than in any succeeding chapters. 

In 1849, Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson, of Cadiz, Ohio, aroused some at- 
tention to the general question, by the publication of "A Scriptural 
View of Woman's Eights and Duties," clearly demonstrating the 
equality of man and woman in the creation, as well as the independ- 
ent, self-reliant characteristics sanctioned in woman, by the examples 
of the sex given in the Bible. As woman has ever been degraded by 
the perversion of the religious element of her nature, the scriptural 
arguments were among the earliest presentations of the question. 
When opponents were logically cornered on every other side, they 
uniformly fell back on the decrees of Heaven. The ignorance of 
women in general as to what their Bibles really do teach, has been 
the chief cause of their bondage. They have accepted the opinions 
of men for the commands of their Creator. The fulminations of the 
clergy against the enfranchisement of woman, were as bitter and ar- 
rogant as against the emancipation of the African, and they defend- 
ed their position in both cases by the Bible. This led Abolitionists 
and women to a very careful study of the Scriptures, and enabled 
them to meet their opponents most successfully. No clergyman 
ever quoted Scripture with more readiness and force than did Lucre- 
tia Mott and William Lloyd Garrison, who alike made the Bible a 
power on the side of freedom. 


In 1850 the first convention in Ohio was held at Salem, April 19th 
and 20th, in the Second Baptist Church.* The meeting convened 
at 10 o'clock, and was called to order by Emily Robinson, who pro- 
posed Mariana W. Johnson as President pro tern., Sarah Coates, Secre- 
tary pro tern. On taking the chair, Mrs. Johnson read the following 

We, the undersigned, earnestly call on the women of Ohio to meet in 
Convention, on Friday, the 19th of April, 1850, at 10 o'clock A.M., in the 
town of Salem, to concert measures to secure to all persons the recogni- 
tion of equal rights, and the extension of the privileges of government 
without distinction of sex, or color; to inquire into the origin and design of 
the rights of humanity, whether they are coeval with the human race, of 
universal inheritage and inalienable, or merely conventional, held by 

* Years before the calling of this Convention, Mrs. Frances D. Gage had roused much 
thought in Ohio by voice and pen. She was u long time in correspondence with Har- 
riet Murtineau and Mrs. Jane Knight, who was energetically working for reduced post- 
age rates, even before the days of Rowland Hill. 

104 History of Woman Suffrage. 

sufferance, dependent for a basis on location, position, color, and sex, 
and like government scrip, or deeds of parchment, transferable, to be 
granted or withheld, made immutable or changeable, as caprice, popular 
favor, or the pride of power and place may dictate, changing ever, as the 
weak and the strong, the oppressed and the oppressor, come in conflict 
or change places. Feeling that the subjects proposed for discussion 
are vitally important to the interests of humanity, we unite in most ear- 
nestly inviting every one who sincerely desires the progress of true reform 
to be present at the Convention. 

The meeting of a convention of men to amend the Constitution of 
our (?) State, presents a most favorable opportunity for the agitation of 
this subject. Women of Ohio! we call upon you to come up to this work 
in womanly strength and with womanly energy. Don't be discouraged 
at the prospect of difficulties. Remember that contest with difficulty 
gives strength. Come and inquire if the position you now occupy is one 
appointed by wisdom, and designed to secure the best interests of the 
human race. Come, and let us ascertain what bearing the circumscribed 
sphere of woman has on the great political and social evils that curse and 
desolate the land. Come, for this cause claims your most invincible 
perseverance; come in single-heartedness, and with a personal self-de- 
votion that will yield everything to Right, Truth, and Reason, but not 
an iota to dogmas or theoretical opinions, no matter how time-honored, 
or by what precedent established. 

Randolph Elizabeth Steadrnan, Cynthia M. Price, Sophronia Smalley, 
Cordelia L. Smalley, Ann Eliza Lee, Rebecca Everit. New Garden 
Esther Ann Lukens. Ravenna Lucinda King, Mary Skinner, Frances 

The officers of the Convention were : Betsey M. Cowles, President ; 
Lydia B. Irish, Harriet P. Weaver, and Kana Dota, Vice-Presi- 
dents. Caroline Stanton, Ann Eliza Lee, and Sallie B. Gove, Sec- 
retaries. Emily Robinson, J. Elizabeth Jones, Josephine S. Griffing, 
Mariana Johnson, Esther Lukens, Mary H. Stanton, Business Com- 

Mrs. Jones read a very able speech, which was printed in full in 
their published report, also a discourse of Lucretia Mott's, u On 
Woman," delivered Dec. 17, 1849, in the Assembly Building in 
Philadelphia. Interesting letters were read from Mrs. Mott, Lucy 
Stone, Sarah Pugh, Lydia Jane Pierson, editor of the Lancaster 
Literary Gazette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Harriet !N". Torrey.* 
Twenty-two resolutions, covering the whole range of woman's po- 
litical, religious, civil, and social rights, were discussed and adopted. 
The following memorial to the Constitutional Convention, was pre- 
sented by Mariana Johnson : 

See Appendix. 

Ohio Constitutional Convention. 105 


We believe the whole theory of the Common Law in relation to woman 
is unjust and degrading, tending to reduce her to a level with the slave, 
depriving her of political existence, and forming a positive exception to 
the great doctrine of equality as set forth in the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. In the language of Prof. Walker, in his "Introduction to 
American Law": "Women have no part or lot in the foundationer 
administration of the government. They can not vote or hold office. 
They are required to contribute their share, by way of taxes, to the 
support of the Government, but are allowed no voice in its direction. 
They are amenable to the laws, but are allowed no share in making 
them. This language, when applied to males, would be the exact defi- 
nition of political slavery." Is it just or wise that woman, in the largest 
and professedly the freest and most enlightened republic on the globe, 
in the middle of the nineteenth century, should be thus degraded? 

We would especially direct the attention of the Convention to the legal 
condition of married women. Not being represented in those bodies from 
which emanate the laws, to which they are obliged to submit, they are 
protected neither in person nor property. "The merging of woman's 
name in that of her husband is emblematical of the fate of all her legal 
rights." At the marriage-altar, the law divests her of all distinct indi- 
viduality. Blackstone says: "The very being or legal existence of the 
woman is suspended during marriage, or at least incorporated or con- 
solidated into that of her husband." Legally, she ceases to exist, and 
becomes emphatically a new creature, and is ever after denied the dig- 
nity of a rational and accountable being. The husband is allowed to 
take possession of her estates, as the law has proclaimed her legally 
dead. All that she has, becomes legally his, and he can collect and dis- 
pose of the profits of her labor without her consent, as he thinks fit, and 
she can own nothing, have nothing, which is not regarded by the law as 
belonging to her husband. Over her person he has a more limited 
power. Still, if he render life intolerable, so that she is forced to leave 
him, he has the power to retain her children, and "seize her and bring 
her back, for he has a right to her society which he may enforce, either 
against herself or any other person who detains her " (Walker, page 226). 
Woman by being thus subject to the control, and dependent on the will 
of man, loses her self-dependence; and no human being can be deprived 
of this without a sense of degradation. The law should sustain and 
protect all who come under its sway, and not create a state of depend- 
ence and depression in any human being. The laws should not make 
woman a mere pensioner on the bounty of her husband, thus enslaving 
her will and degrading her to a condition of absolute dependence. 

Believing that woman does not suffer alone when subject to oppressive 
and unequal laws, but that whatever affects injuriously her interests, is 
subversive of the highest good of the race, we earnestly request that in 
the New Constitution you are about to form for the State of Ohio, 
women shall be secured, not only the right of suffrage, but all the politi- 
cal and legal rights that are guaranteed to mm. 

106 History of Woman Suffrage. 

After some discussion the memorial was adopted. With the hope 
of creating a feeling of moral responsibility on this vital question ^ 
an earnest address* to the women of the State was also presented, 
discussed, and adopted. 


How shall the people be made wiser, better, and happier, is one of the 
grand inquiries of the present age. The various benevolent associations 
hold up to our view special forms of evil, and appeal to all the better 
feelings of our nature for sympathy, and claim our active efforts and co- 
operation to eradicate them. Governments, at times, manifest an inter- 
est in human suffering; but their cold sympathy and tardy efforts seldom 
avail the sufferer until it is too late. Philanthropists, philosophers, and 
statesmen study and devise ways and means to ameliorate the condition 
of the people. Why have they so little practical effect? It is because the 
means employed are not adequate to the end sought for. To ameliorate 
the effects of evil seems to have been the climax of philanthropic effort. 
We respectfully suggest that lopping the branches of the tree but causes 
the roots to strike deeper and cling more closely to the soil that sustains 
it. Let the amelioration process go on, until evil is exterminated root 
and branch ; and for this end the people must be instructed in the Rights 
of Humanity; not in the rights of men and the rights of women; the 
rights of the master and those of the slave ; but in the perfect equality 
of the Rights of Man. The rights of man ! Whence came they? What 
are they? What is their design? How do we know them? They are of 
God! Those that most intimately affect us as human beings are life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Their design is happiness. The 
human organization is the charter deed by which we hold them. Hence 
we learn that rights are coeval with the human race, of universal heri- 
tage, and inalienable ; that every human being, no matter of what color, 
sex, condition, or clime, possesses those rights upon perfect equality with 
all others. The monarch on the throne, and the beggar at his feet, have 
the same. Man has no more, woman no less. 

Rights may not be usurped on one hand, nor surrendered on the other, 
because they involve a responsibility that can be discharged only by those 
to whom they belong, those for whom they were created; and be- 
cause, without those certain inalienable rights, human beings can 
not attain the end for which God the Father gave them existence. 
Where and how can the wisdom and ingenuity of the world find a 
truer, stronger, broader basis of human rights. To secure these 
rights, says the Declaration of Independence, "Governments were 
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent 
of the governed;'' and "whenever any form of government becomes 
destructive of those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abol- 
ish it, and to substitute a new government, laying its foundation on 
euch principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall 

* Said to have been written by J. Elizabeth Jones. 

Husband and Wife. 107 

seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." The Government 
of this country, in common with all others, has never recognized or at- 
tempted to protect women as persons possessing the rights of humanity. 
They have been recognized and protected as appendages to men, without 
independent rights or political existence, unknown to the law except as 
victims of its caprice and tyranny. This government, having therefore 
exercised powers underived from the consent of the governed, and hav- 
ing signally failed to secure the end for which all just government is in- 
stituted, should be immediately altered, or abolished. 

We can not better describe the political condition of woman, than by 
Quoting from a distinguished lawyer of our own State. Professor Walker, 
in his " Introduction to American Law," says 


" We have a few statutory provisions on the subject, but for the most 
part the law of husband and wife is Common Law, and you will find that 
it savors of its origin in all its leading features. The whole theory is a 
slavish one, compared even with the civil law. I do not hesitate to say, 
by way of arousing your attention to the subject, that the law of husband 
and wife, as you gather it from the books, is a disgrace to any civilized 
nation. I do not mean to say that females are degraded in point of fact. 
I only say, that the theory of the law degrades them almost to the level 
of slaves." We thank Prof. Walker for his candor. He might have added 
that the practice of the law does degrade woman to the level of the slave. 
He also says: "With regard to political rights, females form a positive 
exception to the general doctrine of equality. They have no part nor lot 
in the formation or administration of government. They can not vote or 
hold office. We require them to contribute their share in the way of 
taxes for the support of government, but allow them no voice in its 
direction. We hold them amenable to the laws when made, but allow 
them no share in making them. This language applied to males, would 
be the exact definition of political slavery; applied to females, custom 
does not teach us so to regard it." 

Of married women he says: "The legal theory is, marriage makes the 
husband and wife one person, and that person is the husband. He the sub- 
stantive, she the adjective. In a word, there is scarcely a legal act of any 
description that she is competent to perform. If she leaves him without 
cause, (legal) he may seize and bring her back, for he has a right to her 
society, which he may enforce, either against herself, or any other person. 
All her personality in regard to property becomes the husband's by mar- 
riage, unless the property has been specially secured to her. If the prop- 
erty be not in his possession, he may take measures to reduce it to pos- 
session. He can thus dispose of it in spite of her. If debts were due to 
her, he may collect them. If he was himself the debtor, the marriage 
cancels the debt. If she has earned money during marriage, he may col- 
lect it. In regard to realty (real estate) he controls the income, 
and without her consent he can not encumber, or dispose of the 
property beyond his own life." Women, married or single, have no po- 
litical rights whatever. While single, their legal rights are the same as 

108 History of Woman Suffrage. 

those of men; when married, their legal rights are chiefly suspended. 
" The condition of the wife may be inferred from what has already been 
said. She is almost at the mercy of her husband; she can exercise no 
control over his property or her own. As a general rule, she can make 
no contracts binding herself or him. Her contracts are not merely void- 
able, but absolutely void. Nor can she make herself liable for his con- 
tracts, torts, or crimes. Her only separate liability is for her own crimes. 
Her only joint liability, is for her own torts committed without his par- 
ticipation, and for contracts for which the law authorizes her to unite 
with him. She has no power over his person, and her only claim upon 
his property is for a bare support. In no instance can she sue or be sued 
alone in a civil action ; and there are but few cases in which she can be 
joined in a suit with him. In Ohio, but hardly anywhere else, is she al- 
lowed to make a will, if haply she has anything to dispose of.'' 

Women of Ohio ! Whose cheek does not blush, whose blood does not 
tingle at this cool, lawyer-like recital of the gross indignities and wrongs 
which Government has heaped upon our sex? With these marks of 
inferiority branded upon our persons, and interwoven with the most sa- 
cred relations of human existence, how can we rise to the true dignity of 
human nature, and discharge faithfully the important duties assigned us 
as responsible, intelligent, self-controlling members of society ? No 
wonder that so many of our politicians are dough- faced serviles, without 
independence or manhood; no wonder our priests are time-serving 
and sycophantic; no wonder that so many men are moral cowards 
and cringing poltroons. What more could be expected of a progeny 
of slaves? Slaves are we, politically and legally. How can we, who, 
it is said, are the educators of our children, present to this nation 
anything else but a generation of serviles, while we, ourselves, are in a 
servile condition, and padlocks are on our lips? No! if men would be 
men worthy of the name, they must cease to disfranchise and rob their 
wives and mothers; they must forbear to consign to political and legal 
slavery their sisters and their daughters. And, would we be women 
worthy the companionship of true and noble men, we must cease longer 
to submit to tyranny. Let us rise in the might of self-respect, and assert 
our rights, and by the aid of truth, the instincts of humanity, and a just 
application of the principles of equality, we shall be able to maintain them. 

You ask, would you have woman, by engaging in political party bick- 
erings and noisy strife, sacrifice her integrity and purity? No, neither 

would we have men do it We hold that whatever is essentially 

wrong for woman to do, can not be right for man. If deception and 
intrigue, the elements of political craft, be degrading to woman, can 
they be ennobling to man? If patience and forbearance adorn a woman, 
are they not equally essential to a manly character? If anger and tur- 
bulence disgrace woman, what can they add to the dignity of man? 
Nothing; because nothing can be morally right for man, that is morally 
wrong for woman. Woman, by becoming the executioner of man's ven- 
geance on his fellow-man, could inflict no greater wrong on society than 
the same done by man; but it would create fen intenser feeling of shud- 
dering horror, and would, we conceive, rouse to more healthful activity 

Sex in Morals. 109 

man's torpid feelings of justice, mercy, and clemency. And so, also, if 
woman had free scope for the full exercise of the heavenly graces that 
men so gallantly award her, truth, love, and mercy would be invested 
with a more sacred charm. But while they continue to enforce obedience 
to arbitrary commands, to encourage love of admiration and a desire for 
frivolous amusements; while they crush the powers of the mind, by 
opposing authority and precedent to reason and progress; while they 
arrogate to themselves the right to point us to the path of duty, while 
they close the avenues of knowledge through public institutions, and 
monopolize the profits of labor, mediocrity and inferiority must be our 
portion. Shall we accept it, or shall we strive against it? 

Men are not destitute of justice or humanity; and let it be remem- 
bered that there are hosts of noble and truthful ones among them who 
deprecate the tyranny that enslaves us; and none among ourselves can 
be more ready than they to remove the mountain of injustice which the 
savagism of ages has heaped upon our sex. If, therefore, we remain en- 
slaved and degraded, the cause may justly be traced to our own apathy 
and timidity. We have at our disposal the means of moral agitation 
and influence, that can arouse our country to a saving sense of the wick- 
edness and folly of disfranchising half the people. Let us no longer 
delay to use them. 

Let it be remembered too, that tyrannical and illiberal as our Govern- 
ment is, low as it places us in the scale of existence, degrading as is its 
denial of our capacity for self-government, still it concedes to us more 
than any other Government on earth. Woman, over half the globe, "is 
now anjl always has been but a chattel. Wives are bargained for, bought 
and sold, as other merchandise, and as a consequence of the annihilation 
of natural rights, they have no political existence. In Hindostan, the 
evidence of woman is not received in a court of justice. The Hindu 
wife, when her husband dies, must yield implicit obedience to the oldest 
son. In Burmah, they are not allowed to ascend the steps of a court of 
justice, but are obliged to give their testimony outside of the building. 
In Siberia, women are not allowed to step across the footprints of men 
or reindeer. The Mohammedan law forbids pigs, dogs, women, and other 
impure animals to enter the Mosque. The Moors, for the slightest offense, 
beat their wives most cruelly. The Tartars believe that women were 
sent into the world for no other purpose than to be useful, convenient 
slaves. To these heathen precedents our Christian brethren sometimes 
refer to prove the inferiority of woman, and to excuse the inconsistency 
of the only Government on earth that has proclaimed the equality of 
man. An argument worthy its source. 

In answer to the popular query, "Why should woman desire to meddle 
with public affairs?" we suggest the following questions : 

1st. Is the principle of taxation without representation less oppressive 
and tyrannical, than when our fathers expended their blood and treasure, 
rather than submit to its injustice? 

2d. Is it just, politic, and wise, that universities and colleges endowed 
by Government should be open only to men? 

3d. Is it easier for Government to reform lazy, vicious, ignorant, and 

110 History of Woman Suffrage. 

hardened felons, than for enlightened humanity loving parents, to 
" train up a child in the way it should go "? 

4th. How can a mother, who does not understand, and therefore can 
not appreciate the rights of humanity, train up her child in the way it 
should go ? 

5th. Whence originates the necessity of a penal code? 

6th. It is computed that over ten millions of dollars are annually ex- 
pended in the United States for the suppression of crime. How much 
of this waste of treasure is traceable to defective family government? 

7th. Can antiquity make wrong right? 

In conclusion, we appeal to our sisters of Ohio to arise from the leth- 
argy of ages; to assert their rights as independent human beings; to 
demand their true position as equally responsible co-workers with their 
brethren in this world of action. We urge you by your self-respect, by 
every consideration for the human race, to arise and take possession of 
your birthright to freedom and equality. Take it not as the gracious 
boon tendered by the chivalry of superiors, but as your right, on every 
principle of justice and equality. 

The present is a most favorable time for the women of Ohio to demand 
a recognition of their rights. The organic law of the State is about to 
undergo a revision. Let it not be our fault if the rights of humanity, 
and not alone those of "free white male citizens," are recognized and 
protected. Let us agitate the subject in the family circle, in public 
assemblies, and through the press. Let us flood the Constitutional Con- 
ve*ntion with memorials and addresses, trusting to truth and a righteous 
cause for the success of our efforts. 

This Convention had one peculiar characteristic. It was officered 
entirely by women ; not a man was allowed to sit on the platform, to 
speak, or vote. Never did men so suffer. They implored just to 
say a word ; but no ; the President was inflexible no man should 
be heard. If one meekly arose to make a suggestion he was at once 
ruled out of order. For the first time in the world's history, men 
learned how it felt to sit in silence when questions in which they 
were interested were under discussion. It would have been an 
admirable way of closing the Convention, had a rich banquet been 
provided, to which the men should have had the privilege of pur- 
chasing tickets to the gallery, there to enjoy the savory odors, and 
listen to the after-dinner speeches. However, the gentlemen in the 
Convention passed through this severe trial with calm resignation ; 
at the close, organized an association of their own, and generously 
endorsed all the ladies had said and done. 

Though the women in this Convention were unaccustomed to 
public speaking and parliamentary tactics, the interest was well sus- 
tained for two days, and the deliberations were conducted with dig- 
nity and order. It was here Josephine S. Griffing uttered her first 

Akron Convention. Ill 

brave words for woman's emancipation, though her voice had long 
been heard in pathetic pleading for the black man's rights. This 
Convention, which was called and conducted by Mrs. Emily Robin- 
son, with such aid as she could enlist, was largely attended and en- 
tirely successful. 

A favorable and lengthy report found its way into the New York 
Tribune and other leading journals, both East and West, and the 
proceedings of the Convention were circulated widely in pamphlet 
form. All this made a very strong impression upon the public 
mind. From the old world, too, the officers of the Convention re- 
ceived warm congratulations and earnest words of sympathy, for the 
new gospel of woman's equality was spreading in England as well as 


The advocates for the enfranchisement of woman had tripled in 
that one short year. The very complimentary comments of the 
press, and the attention awakened throughout the State, by the 
presentation of " the memorial " to the Constitutional Convention, 
had accomplished a great educational work. Soon after this, an- 
other convention was called in Akron. The published proceedings of 
the first convention, were like clarion notes to the women of Ohio, 
rousing them to action, and when the call to the second was issued, 
there was a generous response. In 1851, May 28th and 29th, many 
able men and women rallied at the stone church, and hastened to 
give their support to the new demand, and most eloquently did they 
plead for justice to woman. 

Frances D. Gage, Hannah Tracy Cutler, Jane G. Swisshelm, Car- 
oline M. Severance, Emma R. Coe, Maria L. Giddings, Celia C. 
Burr (afterward Bnrleigh), Martha J. Tilden, and many other noble 
women who were accustomed to speaking in temperance and anti- 
slavery meetings, helped to make this Convention most successful. 
Frances D. Gage was chosen President of the Convention. On tak- 
ing the chair she said i 

I am at a loss, kind friends, to know whether to return you thanks, or 
not, for the honor conferred upon ine. And when I tell you that I have 
never in my life attended a regular business meeting, and am entirely in- 
experienced in the forms and ceremonies of a deliberative body, you will 
not be surprised that I do not feel remarkably grateful for the position. 
For though you have conferred an honor upon me, I very much fear I 
shall not be able to reflect it back. I will try. 

When our forefathers left the old and beaten paths of New England, 
and struck out for themselves in a new and unexplored country, they 

112 History of Woman Suffrage. 

went forth with a slow and cautious step, but with firm and resolute 
hearts. The land of their fathers had become too small for their chil- 
dren. Its soil answered not their wants. The parents shook their heads 
and said, with doubtful and foreboding faces : " Stand still, stay at home. 
This has sufficed for us ; we have lived and enjoyed ourselves here. True r 
our mountains are high and our soil is rugged and cold; but you won't 
find a better; change, and trial, and toil, will meet you at every step. 
Stay, tarry with us, and go not forth to the wilderness." 

But the children answered: "Let us go; this land has sufficed for you r 
but the one beyond the mountains is better. We know there is trial, 
toil, and danger; but for the sake of our children, and our children's 
children, we are willing to meet all." They went forth, and pitched their 
tents in the wilderness. An herculean task was before them; the rich 
and fertile soil was shadowed by a mighty forest, and giant trees were to- 
be felled. The Indians roamed the wild, wide hunting-grounds, and 
claimed them as their own. They must be met and subdued. The savage 
beasts howled defiance from every hill-top, and in every glen. They must 
be destroyed. Did the hearts of our fathers fail ? No ; they entered upon 
their new life, their new world, with a strong faith and a mighty wilL 
For they saw in the prospection a great and incalculable good. It was 
not the work of an hour, nor of a day; not of weeks or months, but of 
long struggling, toiling, painful years. If they failed at one point, they 
took hold at another. If their paths through the wilderness were at first 
crooked, rough, and dangerous, by little and little they improved them. 
The forest faded away, the savage disappeared, the wild beasts were de- 
stroyed, and the hopes and prophetic visions of their far-seeing powers 
in the new and untried country, were more than realized. 

Permit me to draw a comparison between the situation of our fore- 
fathers in the wilderness, without even so much as a bridle-path 
through its dark depths, and our present position. The old land of 
moral, social, and political privilege, seems too narrow for our wants; its 
soil answers not to our growing, and we feel that we see clearly a better 
country that we might inhabit. But there are mountains of established 
law and custom to overcome; a wilderness of prejudice to be subdued; 
a powerful foe of selfishness and self-interest to overthrow ; wild beasts 
of pride, envy, malice, and hate to destroy. But for the sake of our 
children and our children's children, we have entered upon the work, 
hoping and praying that we may be guided by wisdom, sustained by 
love, and led and cheered by the earnest hope of doing good. 

I shall enter into no labored argument to prove that woman does not 
occupy the position in society to which her capacity justly entitles her. 
The rights of mankind emanate from their natural wants and emotions. 
Are not the natural wants and emotions of humanity common to, and 
shared equally by, both sexes? Does man hunger and thirst, suffer cold 
and heat more than woman? Does he love and hate, hope and fear, joy 
and sorrow more than woman? Does his heart thrill with a deeper 
pleasure in doing good ? Can his soul writhe in more bitter agony under 
the consciousness of evil or wrong? Is the sunshine more glorious, the air 
more quiet, the sounds of harmony more soothing, the perfume of flowers 

<in<J F<inal Created He Tlitm. 113 

more exquisite, or forms of beauty more soul-satisfying to hi- senses, 
than to hers? To all these interrogatories every one will answer, Nt>: 

Where then did man get the authority that he now claims over >n'- 
half of humanity? From what power the vested right to place woman 
his partner, his companion, his helpmeet in life in an inferior position? 
Came it from nature? Nature made woman his superior when she mad** 
her his mother; his equal when she fitted her to hold the sacred position 
of wife. Does he draw his authority from God, from the language of 
holy writ? No! For it says that "Male and female created he them, and 
gave them dominion." Does he claim it under law of the land; Did 
woman meet with him in council and voluntarily give up all her claim 
to be her own law-maker? Or did the majesty of might place this power 
in his hands? The power of the strong over the weak makes man the 
master ! Yes, there, and there only, does he gain his authority. 

In the dark ages of the past, when ignorance, superstition, and bigotry 
held rule in the world, might made the law. But the undertone, the still 
small voice of Justice, Love, and Mercy, have ever been heard, pleading 
the cause of humanity, pleading for truth and right; and their low. soft 
tones of harmony have softened the lion heart of might, and. little by 
little, he has yielded as the centuries rolled on; and man, as well as 
woman, has been the gainer by every concession. We will ask him to 
yield still; to allow the voice of woman to be heard; to let her take the 
position which her wants and emotions seem to require; to let her enjoy 
her natural rights. Do not answer that woman's position is now all her 
natural wants and emotions require. Our meeting here together this <lay 
proves the contrary ; proves that we have aspirations that are not imt. Will 
it be answered that we are factious, discontented spirits, striving to disturb 
the public order, and tear up the old fastnesses of society? So it was said 
of Jesus Christ and His followers, when they taught peace on earth and 
good-will to men. So it was said of our forefathers in the great struggle 
for freedom. So it has been said of every reformer that has ever started 
out the car of progress on a new and untried track. 

We fear not man as an enemy. He is our friend, our brother. Let 
woman speak for herself, and she will be heard. Let her claim with 
a calm and determined, yet loving spirit, her place, and it will be given 
her. I pour out no harsh invectives against the present order of things 
against our fathers, husbands, and brothers; they do as they have 
been taught; they feel as society bids them ; they act as the law requires. 
Woman must act for herself. 

Oh, if all women could be impressed with the importance of their own 
action, and with one united voice, speak out in their own behalf, in behalf 
of humanity, they could create a revolution without armies, without 
bloodshed, that would do more to ameliorate the condition of mankind, 
to purify, elevate, ennoble humanity, than all that has been done by re- 
formers in the last century. 

When we consider that Mrs. Gage had led the usual arduous do- 
mestic life, of wife, mother, and housekeeper, in a new country, 
overburdened with the care and anxiety incident to a large family 

114 History of Woman Suffrage. 

reading and gathering general information at short intervals, taken 
from the hours of rest and excessive toil, it is remarkable, that she 
should have presided over the Convention, in the easy manner she 
is said to have done, and should have given so graceful and appro- 
priate an extemporaneous speech, on taking the chair. Maria L. 
Giddings, daughter of Joshua R. Giddings, who represented Ohio 
many years in Congress, presented a very able digest on the common 
law. Betsey M. Cowles gave a report equally good on " Labor," 
and Emily Robinson on " Education." 

In all the early Conventions the resolutions were interminable. 
It was not thought that full justice was done to the subject, if every 
point of interest or dissatisfaction in this prolific theme was not con- 
densed into a resolution. Accordingly the Akron Convention pre- 
sented, discussed, and adopted fifteen resolutions. At Salem, the 
previous year, the number reached twenty-two. 

Letters were read from Amelia Bloomer, Elizabeth Wilson, Lydia 

F. Fowler, Susan Ormsby, Elsie M. Young, Gerrit Smith, Henry C. 
Wright, Paulina Wright Davis, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clarina 
Howard Nichols, and others. The Hutchinson family enlivened 
this Convention with such inspiring songs as " The Good Time Com- 
ing." Ever at the post of duty, they have sung each reform in turn 
to partial success. Jesse expressed his sympathy in the cause in a 
few earnest remarks. 

This Convention was remarkable for the large number of men 
who took an active part in the proceedings. And as we have now 
an opportunity to express our gratitude by handing their names down 
to posterity, and thus make them immortal, we here record Joseph 
Barker, Marius Robinson, Rev. D. L. Webster, Jacob Heaton, Dr. K. 

G. Thomas, L. A. Hine, Dr. A. Brooke, Rev. Mr. Howels, Rev. Geo. 
Schlosser, Mr. Pease, and Samuel Brooke. The reports of this Con- 
vention are so meagre that we can not tell who were in the opposi- 
tion ; but from Sojourner Truth's speeeh, we fear that the clergy, as 
usual, were averse to enlarging the boundaries of freedom. 

In those early days the sons of Adam crowded our platform, and 
often made it the scene of varied pugilistic efforts, but of late years 
we invite those whose presence we desire. Finding it equally diffi- 
cult to secure the services of those we deem worthy to advocate our 
cause, and to repress those whose best service would be silence, we 
ofttimes find ourselves quite deserted by the " stronger sex " when 
most needed. 

Sojourner Truth, Mrs. Stowe's " Lybian Sibyl," was present at 
this Convention. Some of our younger readers may not know that 

'ourner Tr /////. 115 

Sojourner Truth was once a slave in the State of New York, and 
carries to-day as many marks of the diabolism of >l;r ever 

srnrretl the back of a victim in Mississippi. Though she can neither 
read nor write, she is a woman of rare intelligence and common-sense 
on all subjects. She is still living, at Battle Creek, Michigan, th- 
no\v 110 years old. Although the exalted character and personal 
appearance ot this noble woman have been often portrayed, and her 
brave deeds and words many times rehearsed, yet we give the fol- 
lowing graphic picture of Sojourner's appearance in one of the mo>t 
stormy sessions of the Convention, from 



The leaders of the movement trembled on seeing a tall, gaunt black woman 
in a gray dress and white turban, surmounted with an uncouth sun-bonnet, 
march deliberately into the church, walk with the air of a queen up the aisle, 
and take her seat upon the pulpit steps. A buzz of disapprobation was heard 
A 1 ! over the house, and there fell on the listening ear, "An abolition affair ! '' 
" Woman's rights and niggers ! " "I told you so ! " " Go it, darkey ! " 

I dmnced on that occasion to wear my first laurels in public life as president 
of the meeting. At my request order was restored, and the business of the 
Convention went on. Morning, afternoon, and evening exercises came and 
went. Through all these sessions old Sojourner, quiet and reticent as the 
" Lybian Statue," sat crouched against the wall on the corner of the pulpit 
stairs, li r sun-bonnet shading her eyes, her elbows on her knees, her chin 
resting upon her broad, hard palms. At intermission she was busy selling the 
'*' Lite of Sojourner Truth," a narrative of her own strange and adventurous life. 
Again and again, timorous and trembling ones caine to me and said, \\ith 
earnestness, " Don't let her speak, Mrs. Gage, it will ruin us. Every newspaper 
in the laud will have our cause mixed up with abolition and niggers, and we 
shall be utterly denounced.'' My only answer was, " We shall see when the 
time comes." 

The second day the work waxed warm. Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Pres- 
byterian, and Universalist ministers came in to hear and discuss the resolutions 
presented. One claimed superior rights and privileges for man, on the ground 
of u superior intellect"; another, because of the "manhood of Christ ; if God 
had desired the equality of woman, He would have given some token of His 
will through the birth, life, and death of the Saviour.'' Another gave us a 
theological view of the i( sin of our first mother." 

There were very few women in those days who dared to " speak in meeting " : 
and the august teachers of the people were seemingly getting the better of us, 
while the boys in the galleries, and the sneerers among the pews, were hugely 
enjoying the discomfiture, as they supposed, of the " strong-minded." Some 
of the tender-skinned friends were on the point of losing dignity, iind the 
atmosphere betokened a storm. AYhen, slowly from her seat in the corner r<e 
Sojo -.rner Truth, who, till now, had scarcely lifted her head. "Don't li-t her 
^ptak ! " gasped half a dozen in my ear. She moved slowly and solemnly to 

116 History of Woman Suffrage. 

the front, laid her old bonnet at her feet, and turned her great speaking eyea 
to me. There was a hissing sound of disapprobation above and below. I rose 
and announced " Sojourner Truth," and begged the audience to keep silence 
for a few moments. 

The tumult subsided at once, and every eye was fixed on this almost Amazon 
form, which stood nearly six feet high, head erect, and eyes piercing the upper 
air like one in a dream. At her first word there was a profound hush. She 
spoke in deep tones, which, though not loud, reached every ear in the house, 
and away through the throng at the doors and windows. 

" Wall, chilern, whar dar is so much racket dar must be somethin' out o' kil- 
ter. I tink dat 'twixt de niggers of de Souf and de womin at de Norf, all 
talkin' 'bout rights, de white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all 
dis here t-ilkin' 'bout ? 

' Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped into carriages, and 
lifted ober ditches, and to hab de best place everywhar. Nobody eber helps me 
into carriage*, or ober mud-puddles, or gibs me any best place !" And rais- 
ing herself to her full height, and her voice to a pitch like rolling thunder, she 
asked. " And a'n't I a woman ? Look at me ! Look at my arm ! (and she 
bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing her tremendous muscular 
power). I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man 
could head me ! And a'n't I a woman ? I could work as much and eat as 
much as a man when I could get it and bear de lash as well ! And a'n't I a 
woman ? I have borne thirteen chilern, and seen 'em mos' all sold off to slav- 
ery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me ! 
And a'n't I a woman ? 

' Den dey talks 'bout dis ting in de head ; what dis dey call it? " ("Intel- 
lect," whispered some one near.) u Dat's it, honey. What's dat got to do wid 
womin's rights or nigger's rights ? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yourn 
holds a quart, wouldn't ye be mean not to let me have my little half-measure 
full ?" And she pointed her significant finger, and sent a keen glance at the 
minister who had made tbe argument. The cheering was long and loud. 

u Den dat little man in black dar, he say women can't have as much rights 
as men, 'cause Christ wan't a woman ! Whar did your Christ come from ? " 
Rolling thunder couldn't have stilled that crowd, as did those deep, wonderful 
tones, as she stood there with outstretched arms and eyes of fire. Raising her 
voice still louder, she repeated, " Whar did your Christ come from ? From 
God and a woman ! Man had nothin' to do wid Him." Oh, what a rebuke 
that was to that little man. 

Turning again to another objector, she took up the defense of Mother Eve. 
I can not follow her through it all. It was pointed, and witty, and solemn ; 
eliciting at almost every sentence deafening applause ; and she ended by as- 
serting : " If de fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn 
de world upside down all alone, dese women togedder (and she glanced her 
eye over the platform) ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up 
again ! And now dey is asking to do it, de men better let 'em." Long-contin- 
ued cheering greeted this. " 'Bleeged to ye for hearin' on me, and now ole So- 
journer han't got nothin' more to say." 

Amid roars of applause, she returned to her corner, leaving more than one 
of us with streaming eyes, and hearts beating \\itli gratitude. She had taken 

"Aunt Fanny's" Ox-SM Speech. 117 

us up in her strong arms and ca riecl us safely over the slough of difficulty 
turning the whole tide in our favor. I have never in my lite seen anything like 
the magical influence that subdued the mobbUh spirit of the day, and turned 
the sneers and jeers of an excited crowd into notes of respect and admiration. 
Hundreds rushed up to shake hands with her, and congratulate the glorious 
old mother, and bid her God-speed on her mission of ki testifyin' agin concern- 
ing the wickedness of this 'ere people." 

MRS. M. E. J. GAGE: 

DEAR MADAM: Your postal and note requesting items of history of 
the almost forgotten doings of thirty years ago, is at hand. 

In 1850 Ohio decided by the votes of her male population to "alter 
and amend her Constitution. 1 ' The elected delegates assembled in Cin- 
cinnati in the spring of that year. 

In view of affecting this legislation the "Woman's Rights Conven- 
tion " at Salem, Columbiana Co., was called in April, 1850, and memo- 
rialized the Delegate Convention, praying that Equal Rights to all citi- 
zens of the State be guaranteed by the new Constitution. In May 
a county meeting was called in McConnelsville, Morgan Co., Ohio. 
Mrs. H. M. Little, Mrs. M. T. Corner, Mrs. H. Brewster, and myself, 
were all the women that I knew in that region, even favorable to a 
movement for the help of women. Two of these only asked for more 
just laws for married women. One hesitated about the right of suffrage. 
I alone in the beginning asked for tha ballot,* and equality before the 
law for all adult citizens of sound minds, without regard to sex or color. 
The Freemasons gave their hall for our meeting, but no men were ad- 
mitted. I drew up a memorial for signatures, praying that the words 
" white " and " male " be omitted in the new Constitution. I also drew 
up a paper copying the unequal laws on our statute books with regard 
to women. We met, Mrs. Harriet Brewster presiding. Some seventy 
ladies of our place fell in through the day. I read my paper, and Mr>. 
M. T. Corner gave a historical account of noted women of the past. It 
was a new thing. At the close, forty names were placed on the memo- 
rial. For years I had been talking and writing, and people were u>fd 
to my " craziness." But who expected Mrs. Corner and others to take 
such a stand ! Of course, we were heartily abused. 

This led to the calling of a county meeting at Chesterfield, Morgan 
County. It was advertised to be held in the M. E. Church. There were 
only present some eight ladies, including the four above mentioned 
We four " scoffers " hired a hack and rode sixteen miles over the hill, 
before 10 A.M., to be denied admittance to church or school-house 
Rev. Philo Matthews had found us shelter on the threshing-floor of a 
fine barn, and we found about three or four hundred of the farmers, and 
their wives, sons, and daughters, assembled. They were nearly a'l 

* My notoriety as an Abolitionist made it very difficult for me to reach people at tome, 
and, consequently, I had to work through press and social circle; women d.irod not 
speak then. But the seed was sown far and wide, now bearing fruit. 

118 History of Woman Suffrage. 

" Quakers " and Abolitionists, but then not much inclined to " woman's 
rights." I had enlarged my argument, and there the " ox-sled " speech 
was made, the last part of May, 1850, date of day not remembered. 

A genuine " Quaker Preacher" said to me at the close, " Frances, thee 
had great Freedom. The ox-cart inspired thee." The farmers' wives 
brought huge boxes and pans of provisions. Men and women made 
speeches, and many names were added to our memorial. On the whole, 
we had a delightful day. It was no uncommon thing in those days for 
Abolitionist, or Methodist, or other meetings, to be held under the trees, 
or in large barns, when school-houses would not hold the people. But 
to shut up doors against women was a new thing. 

In December of 1851 I was invited to attend a Woman's Rights Con- 
vention at the town of Mount Gilead, Morrow Co., Ohio. A newspaper 
call promised that celebrities would be on hand, etc. I wrote I would 
be there. It was two days' journey, by steamboat and rail. The call 
was signed "John Andrews," and John Andrews promised to meet 
me at the cars. I went. It was fearfully cold, and John met me. He 
was a beardless boy of nineteen, looking much younger. We drove at 
once to the " Christian Church." On the way he cheered me by saying 
"he was afraid nobody would come, for all the people said nobody 
would come for his asking." When we got to the house, there was not 
one human soul on hand, no fire in the old rusty stove, and the rude, 
unpainted board benches, all topsy-turvy. I called some boys playing 
near, asked their names, put them on paper, five of them, and said to 
them, 4< Go to every house in this town and tell everybody that 'Aunt 
Fanny' will speak here at 11 A.M., and if you get me fifty to come and 
hear, I will give you each ten cents." They scattered off upon the run. 
I ordered John to right the benches, picked up chips and kindlings, bor- 
rowed a brand of fire at the next door, had a good hot stove, and the 
floor swept, and was ready for my audience at the appointed time. John 
had done his work well, and fifty at least were on hand, and a minister 
to make a prayer and quote St. Paul before I said a word. I said my 
say, and before 1 P.M., we adjourned, appointing another session at 3, 
and one for 7 P.M., and three for the following day. Mrs. C. M. Severance 
came at 6 P.M., and we had a good meeting throughout. 

John's Convention was voted a success after all. He died young, worn 

out by his own enthusiasm and conflicts. 


In September, 1851, a Woman's Temperance Convention was 
held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Foster Hall, corner of Fifth and Wal- 
nut Streets. Mrs. Mary B. Slongh, President ; Mrs. George Par- 
cells, Vice-P resident ; Mrs. William Pinkham, Secretary. Kesolu- 
tions were discussed, and a Declaration of Independence adopted. 
Mrs. Slough was the " Grand Presiding Sister of Ohio." This 
meeting was held to raise funds for a banner, they had promised 
the firemen, Co. No. 1, if they would vote the Temperance ticket. 

Of the temperance excitement in the State, Mrs. Gage says : 

J//-X. Gage 1 * Surprii 119 

In the winter of 1852-53, there was great excitement on the Temperance 
question in this country, originating in Maine and spreading West. Some 
prominent women in Ohio, who were at Columbus, the State capital, with their 
husbands who were there from all parts of the State, as Senators, Representa- 
tive-, jurists, and lobbyists feeling a great interest, as many of them had 
need to, in the question, were moved to call a public meeting on the subject. 
This resulted in the formation of a ''Woman's State Temperance Society," 1 
which sent out papers giving their by-laws and resolutions, and calling for 
auxiliary societies in different parts of the State. This call in many places m< -t 
with hearty responses. 

In the following autumn, 1853, officers of the State Society, Mrs. Professor 
Coles, of Oberlin, President, called a convention of their members and friends 
of the cause, at the city of Dayton, Ohio. 

The famous " Whole World's Convention" had just been held in New York 
City, followed by the u World's Convention," at which the Rev. Antoinette L. 
Brown was expelled from the platform, simply because she w r as a woman. The 
Hon. Samuel Carey presented a resolution, which I quote from memory, S'me- 
thing as follows : 

"Resolved, That we recognize women as efficient aids and helpers in the home, 
but not on the platform." 

This was not perhaps the exact wording, but it was the purport of the reso- 
lution, and was presented while Neal Dow, the President of the Convention, 
was absent from the chair, and after much angry and abusive discussion, it 
was passed by that body of great men/ 

The Committee of Arrangements, appointed at Dayton, could find no church, 
school-house, or hall in which to hold their convention, till the Sons of Tem- 
perance consented 'to yield their lodge-room, provided there were no men 
admitted to their meetings. Alas ! the Committee consented. I traveled two 
hundred miles, and, on reaching Dayton at a late hour, I repaired at once to 
the hall. Our meeting was organized. But hardly were we ready to procee 1 
when an interruption occurred. I had been advertised for the first speech, 
and took my place on the platform, when a column of well-dressed ladies, very 
fashionable and precise, marched in, two and two, and spread themselves in a 
half circle in front of the platform, and requested leave to be heard. 

Our President asked me to suspend my reading, to which I assented, and 
she a beautiful, graceful lady bowed them her assent. Forthwith they 
proceeded to inform us, that they were delegated by a meeting of Dayton 
ladies to come hither and read to us a remonstrance against "the unseemly 
and unchristian position" we had assumed in calling conventions, and taking 
our places upon the platform, and seeking notoriety by making ourselves con- 
spicuous before men. They proceeded to shake the dust from their own skirts 
of the whole thing. They discussed wisely the disgraceful conduct of Ant. Di- 
nette L. Brown at the World's Temperance Convention, as reported to them l>y 
Hon. Samuel Carey, with more of the same sort, which I beg to be excu- -d 
from trying to recall to mind, or to repeat. When their mission was ended, in 
due form they filed out of the low dark door, descended the stair-way, and 
disappeared from our sight. 

When we had recovered our equilibrium after such a knock-down surprise, 

120 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Mrs. Bateman requested me to proceed. I rose, and asked leave to change my 
written speech for one not from my pen, but from my heart. 

The protest of the Dayton " Mrs. Grundys " had been well larded with Script- 
ure, so I added: ' Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," and 
never before, possibly never since, have I had greater liberty in relieving my 
miml, as the Quakers would say. I had been at New York and had boarded 
with Antoinette L. Brown, so I knew whereof I was bearing testimony, when 1 
assured my hearers that Samuel Carey had certainly been lying under a mis- 
take. I gave my testimony, not cringingly, but as one who knew, and drew a 
comparison between Antoinette L. Brown, modestly but firmly ^standing her 
ground as a delegate from her society, with politicians and clergymen crying, 
k> Shame on the woman," and stamping and clamoring till the dust on the ca.- 
pet of the platform enveloped them in a cloud. Meanwhile, her best friends, 
William H. Channing, William Lloyd Garrison, Oliver Johnson, Wendell Phil- 
lips, and others stood by her, bidding her stand firm. The conduct of these 
ladies in marching through the streets of Dayton, in the most crowded thorough- 
fares, in the mid>t of a State fair, to tell some other women that they were 
making themselves "conspicuous." What I said, or how it was said, mattereth 

That evening, the Sons of Temperance Hall, which our committee had prom- 
ised to k ' keep clear of men," was well filled with women. But all around the 
walls, and between the benches, on the platform and in the aisles, there were 
men from every part of the State. These ladies had given us a grand adver- 

The following is the report of said meeting clipped from the Even- 
ing Post twenty-seven years ago, by Mrs. Gage : 


DAYTON, Sept. 24, 1853. 

To-day the Ohio State Women's Temperance Society held a meeting at this 
place. The attendance was not large, but was respectable, both in number and 
talents. Mrs. Bateman, of Columbus, presided, and a good officer she made. 
Parliamentary rules prevailed in governing the assembly, and were enforced 
with much promptness and dignity. She understood enough of these to put 
bo'h sides of the question an attainment which, I have noticed, many Mr. 
Presidents have often not reached. 

The enactment of the Maine law in Ohio is the principal object at which they 
appeared to aim. Its constitutionality and effect were both discussed, decisions 
of courts criticised, and all with much acuteness and particularly happy illus- 
trations. In reference to the practicability of enforcing it, when once passed, 
one woman declared, that "if the men could not do it, the women would give 
them effectual aid." 

In the course of the meeting, two original poems were read, one by Mrs. 
Gage, formerly of this State, and now of St. Louis, and one by Mrs. Hodge, of 
Oberlin. There were also delivered three formal addresses, one by Mrs. Dryer, 
of Delaware County. Ohio, one by Mrs. Griffing, of Salem, Ohio, and the other by 
Mrs. Gage, either of which would not have dishonored any of our public orators 

eral Carey Mortally Wo vn< ?>?. 

if we consider the matter, style, or manner of delivery. Men ran deal in statis- 
tics and logical deductions, but women only can describe the horrors of intem- 
perance can draw aside the curtain and show us the wreck it makes of domr 
tic love and home enjoyment -can paint the anguish of the drunkard's \\ itV an. I 
the miseries of his children. Wisdom would seem to dictate that those who 
feel the most severely the effects of any evil, should best know how to remove 
it. If this be so, it would be difficult to give a reason why women should not 
ac^, indeed lead off. in this great temperance movement. 

A most exciting and interesting debate arose on some resolutions introduced 
by the Secretary, Mrs. Griffing, condemnatory of the action of the World's Tem- 
perance Convention in undelegating Miss Brown, and excluding her from the 

These resolutions are so pithy, that I can not refrain from furnishing them in 
full. They are as follows: 

" Resolved, That we regard the tyrannical and cowardly conformation to the 
* usages of society,' in thrusting woman from the platform in the late so-called, 
but mis-called World's Temperance Convention, as a most daring and insulting 
outrage upon all of womankind ; and it is with the deepest shame and mortifica- 
tion that we learn that our own State of Ohio furnished the delegate to officiate 
in writing and presenting the resolutions, and presiding at the session when 
the desperate act was accomplished. 

'* R>S"h*ed, That our thanks are due to the Hon. Neal Dow, of Maine, the 
President of the Convention, for so manfully and persistently deciding and in- 
sisting upon and in favor of the right of all the friends of temperance, duly del- 
egated, to seats and participation in all the proceedings." 

The friends of General Carey rallied, and with real parliamentary tact moved 
to lay the resolutions on the table. There was much excitement and some n< rv- 
ousness. The remarks made pro and con were pithy and to the point. The 
motion to lay on the table was lost by a large majority. Mrs. Griffing supported 
her rt solutions with much coolness and conscious strength. The General had 
few defenders, and most of those soon abandoned him to his fate, and fell back 
upon the position of deprecating the introduction of what they called the ques- 
tion of Woman's Rights into the Convention. All, however, was of no avail: 
the resolutions pa-sed by a large majority, and amid much applause. 

After recess an attempt was made to reconsider this vote. The President 
urged some one who voted in the affirmative to move a reconsideration, that a 
substitute might be offered, condemning the action of the World's Convention 
in reference to Miss Brown, " as uncourteous, unchristian, and unparliamentary.'' 
The motion was made evidently from mere courtesy; but, when put to vote, was 
lost by a very large majority. The delegates rom Oberlin, and some others, 
joined in the following protest: 

" Wt- hcg leave to request that it be recorded in the minutes of the meeting, 
that the delegation from Oberlin, and some others, although we regard as un- 
Cdirteous. unchristian, and unparliamentary, the far-famed proceedings at New 
York, yet we can not endorse the language of censure as administered by our 
most loved and valred sisters.'' 

Thus fell General Carey, probably mortally wounded. His vitality, indml, 
must be very great, if he can outlive t* e thrusts jrivrn him on this occasion. 
What rendered his conduct in New Y< rk more aggravating is tht- fact that 

122 History of Woman {Suffrage. 

heretofore, he has incouraged the women of Ohio in their advocacy of temper- 
ance, and promised to defend them. 

It is not, however, for Ohio men to interfere in this matter. Ohio women 
have shown themselves abundantly able to take care of themselves and the 
General too. 


Mrs. R. A. S. Janney, in reply to our request for a chapter of her 
recollections, said : 

The agitation of "Woman's Rights" began in Ohio in 1843 and '44, after 
Abby Kelly lectured through the State on Anti-slavery. 

The status of the public mind at that time is best illustrated by the fact that 
Catharine Beecher, in 1840, gave an address in Columbus on education, by sit- 
ting on the platform and getting her brother Edward to read it for her. 

In 1849, Lucy Stone and Antoinette L. Brown, then students at Oberlin Col- 
lege, lectured at different places in the State on " Woman's Rights." 

In 1850 a Convention was held at Salem; Mariana Johnson presented a me- 
morial, which was numerously signed and sent to the Constitutional Conven- 
vention. The same week Mrs. F. D. Gage called a meeting in Masonic Hall, 
McConnellsville, and drew up a memorial, which was also largely signed, and 
presented to the Constitutional Convention. Memorials were sent from other 
parts of the State, and other county conventions held. 

The signatures to the petition for " Equal Rights," numbered 7,901, and for 
the Right of Suffrage, 2,106. 

The discussions in the Constitutional Convention were voted to be dropped 
from the records, because they were so low and obscene. Dr. Townsend, of 
Lorain, and William Hawkins, of McConnellsville, were our friends in the 


CLEVELAND, O., Nov. 14, 1876. 

DEAR MRS. BLOOMER: Your postal recalls to mind an event which occurred 
before the women of Ohio had in any sense broken the cords which bound them. 
A wife was not then entitled to her own earnings, and if a husband were a 
drunkard, or a gambler, no portion of his wages could she take, without his 
consent, for the maintenance of herself and family. 

Some small gain has been attained in the letter of the law, and much in pub- 
lic opinion. Less stigma rests upon one who chooses an avocation suited to her 
own taste and ability. We have struggled for little; but it is well for us to 
remember that the world was not made in a day. 

The meeting to which you allude was held in Chesterfield, Morgan County, 
Ohio. I went in company with Mrs. Gage, and remember well what a spirited 
meeting it was. When it was found that the church could not be had, the la- 
dies of the place secured a barn, made it nice and clean, had a platform built at 
one end of the large floor for the speakers and invited guests, and seats 
arranged in every available place. 

The audience was large and respectful, as well as respectable. The leading 
subjects were : The injustice of the laws, as to property and children, in their 
results to married women ; the ability of v/oman to occupy positions of trust 
now withheld from her; her limited mvans for acquiring an education ; etc. 


Mrs. Gage spoke with great enthusiasm and warmth. I think it must have 
Ix-en almost her first effort, to be followed by years of persistent work by voice 
and pen, to secure a wider field of labor for her sex, and to spur dull woman to 
do f.-r herself ; to make use of the means within her grasp; to become fit to 
bear the higher responsibilities which the coming years might impose 

Her dear voice is almost silent now, still she lingers as if to catch some faint 
glimpse of hoped-for results, ere she drops this mortal coil. 

Very truly yours, MARY T. COHNEU. 


On May 27, 1852, another State Convention was held in Massilon. 
We give the following brief notice from the New York Tribune : 

The third Woman's Rights Convention of Ohio has just closed its ses- 
sion. It was held in the Baptist church, in this place, and was numer- 
ously attended, there being a fair representation of men. as well as wom- 
en; for though the object of these, and similar meetings, is to secure 
woman her rights, as an equal member of the human family, neither 
speaking nor membership was here confined to the one sex, but all who 
had sentiments to utter in reference to the object of the Convention 
whether for or against it were invited to speak with freedom, and those 
who wished to aid the movement to sit as members, without distinction 
of sex. All honorable classes were represented, from the so-called high- 
est to the so-called lowest the seamstress who works for twenty-five 
cents a day; the daughters of the farmer, fresh from the dairy and the 
kitchen; the wives of the laborer, the physician, the lawyer, and the 
banker, the legislator, and the minister, were all there all interested in 
one common cause, and desirous that every right God gave to woman 
should be fully recognized by the laws and usages of society, that every 
faculty he has bestowed upon her should have ample room for its proper 
development. Is this asking too much? And yet this is the sum and 
substance of the Woman's Rights Reform a movement which fools 
ridicule, and find easier to sneer at than meet with argument. 

Before they separated they organized u The Ohio Woman's Rights 
Association," and chose Hannah Tracy Cutler for President. 

The first annual meeting of this Association was held at Ravenna, 
May 25th and 26th, 1853. In the absence of the President, Mrs. Caro- 
line M. Severance presided. The speakers were Rev. Antoinette L. 
Brown, Mrs. Lawrence, Emma R. Coe, Josephine S. Griffing, Martini 
J. Tilden, and many others. Emily Robinson presented an able and 
encouraging report on the progress of the work. Mrs. Severance 
was appointed, to prepare a memorial to the Legislature, which was 
presented March 23, 1854, laid on the table and ordered to be printed. 
This document is found in the June number of The Uiia, 185, and 
is a very carefully written paper on the legal status of woman. 

124 History of Woman Suffrage. 


In 1853, October 6th, 7th, and 8th, the Fourth National Conven- 
tion was held in Cleveland. There were delegates present from 
New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Michi- 
gan, Indiana, and Missouri. The Plain Dealer said all the ladies 
prominent in this movement were present, some in full Bloomer 
costume. At the appointed time Lucretia Mott arose and said : 

As President of the last National Convention at Syracuse, it devolves 
on me to call this meeting to order. It was decided in a preliminary 
gathering last evening, that Frances D. Gage, of St. Louis, was the suit- 
able person to fill the office of President on this occasion. 

Mrs. GAGE, being duly elected, on taking the chair, said: Before pro- 
ceeding farther, it is proper that prayer should be offered. The Rev. 
Antoinette L. Brown will address the throne of grace. 

She came forward and made a brief, but eloquent prayer. It 
was considered rather presumptuous in those days for a woman 
to pray in public, but as Miss Brown was a graduate of Oberlin 
College, had gone through the theological department, was a regu- 
larly orda'ned preacher, and installed as a pastor, she felt quite at 
home in al' the forms and ceremonies of the Church. 

The Cleveland Journal, in speaking of her, said: She has one distinc- 
tion, she is the handsomest woman in the Convention. Her voice is 
silvery, and her manner pleasing. It is generally known that she is the 
pastor of a Congregational church in South Butler, N. Y. 

In her opening remarks, Mrs. GAGE said : It is with fear and trembling 
that I take up the duties of presiding over your deliberations; not fear 
and trembling for the cause, but lest I should not have the capacity and 
strength to do all the position requires of me. She then gave a review of 
what had been accomplished since the first Convention was held in Sen- 
eca Falls, N. Y., July 19, 1848, and closed by saying: I hope our discus- 
sions will be a little more extensive than the call would seem to warrant, 
which indicates simply our right to the political franchise. 

To which, Mrs. MOTT replied : I would state that the limitation of the 
discussions was not anticipated at the last Convention. The issuing of 
the call was left to the Central Committee, but it was not supposed that 
they would specify any particular part of the labor of the Convention, 
but that the broad ground of the presentation of the wrongs of woman, 
the assertion of her rights, and the encouragement to perseverance in 
individual and combined action, and the restoration of those rights, 
should be taken. 

After which, Mrs. GAGE added : I would remark once for all, to the 
Convention, that there is perfect liberty given here to speak upon 
the subject under discussion, both for and against; and that we urge all 
to do so. If there are any who have objections, we wish to hear them 


If arguments are presented which convince us that we are doing wrong, 
we wish to act upon them. I extremely regret that while we have held 
convention after convention, where the same liberty has been giv.-n, 
no one has had a word to say against us at the time, but that some have 
reserved their hard words of opposition to our movement, only to go 
away and vent them through the newspapers, amounting, frequently, to 
gross misrepresentation. I hope every one here will remember, with deep 
seriousness, that the same Almighty finger which traced upon the tablets 
of stone the commands, "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not steal," 
traced also these words, " Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy 

The other officers of the Convention were then elected, as follows : 

Vice- Presidents Antoinette L. Brown, New York; Lucretia Mott, Penn- 
sylvania ; Caroline M. Severance, Ohio ; Joseph Barker, Ohio ; Emily 
Robinson, Ohio; Mary B. Birdsall, Indiana; Sibyl Lawrence, Michigan; 
Charles P. Wood, New York; Amy Post, New York. 

Secretaries -Martha C. Wright, New York ; Caroline Stanton, Ohio; H. 
B. Blackwell, Ohio. 

Ireasurer T. C. Severance, Ohio. 

Business Committee Ernestine L. Rose, New York; James Mott, Penn- 
sylvania; Lucy Stone, Massachusetts; Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Mass. ; Abby 
Kelly Foster, Mass. ; Mary T. Corner, Ohio; C. C. Burleigh, Connecticut; 
Martha J. Tilden, Ohio; John O. Wattles, Indiana. 

Finance Committee Susan B. Anthony, Rochester; Phebe H. Merritt, 
Michigan ; H. M. Addison, Ohio ; Hettie Little, Ohio ; E. P. Heaton, 

Letters were read from distinguished people. Notably the fol- 
lowing from Horace Greelev : 

NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 1853. 

DEAR MADAM : I have received yours of the 26th, this moment. I do 
not see that my presence in Cleveland could be of any service. The 
question to be considered concerns principally woman, and women should 
mostly consider it. I recognize most thoroughly the right of woman to 
choose her own sphere of activity and usefulness, and to evoke its proper 
limitations. If she sees fit to navigate vessels, print newspapers, frame 
laws, select rulers any or all of these I know no principle that justifies 
man in interposing any impediment to her doing so. The only argument 
entitled to any weight against the fullest concession of the rights you 
demand, rests in the assumption that woman does not claim any such 
rights, but chooses to be ruled, guided, impelled, and have her sphere 
prescribed for her by man. 

I think the present state of our laws respecting property and inherit- 
ance, as respects married women, show very clearly that woman ought 
not to be satisfied with her present position ; yet it may be that she is so. 
If all those who have never given this matter a serious thought are to be 

126 History of Woman Suffrage. 

considered on the side of conservatism, of course that side must prepon- 
derate. Be this as it may, woman alone can, in the present state of the 
controversy, speak effectively for woman, since none others can speak 
with authority, or from the depths of a personal experience. 

Hoping that your Convention may result in the opening of many eyes, 
and the elevation of many minds from light to graver themes, 

1 remain yours, 


Cleveland, Ohio. 

And here let us pay our tribute of gratitude to Horace Greeley. In 
those early days when he, as editor of the New York Tribune, was 
one of the most popular men in the nation, his word almost law to the' 
people, his journal was ever true to woman. No ridicule of our 
cause, no sneers at its advocates, found a place in The Tribune / but 
mure than once, he gave columns to the proceedings of our con- 

To this letter, Henry B. Blackwell, brother of Dr. Elizabeth Black- 
well, and the future husband of Lucy Stone, pertinently replied, 
saying : 

It is suggested that woman's cause should be advocated by women 
only. The writer of that letter is a true friend of this reform, and yet I 
feel that I owe you no apology for standing on this platform. But if I do, 
this is sufficient, that I am the son of a woman, and the brother of a 
woman. 1 know that this is their cause, but I feel that it is mine also. 
Their happiness is my happiness, their misery my misery. 

The interests of the sexes are inseparably connected, and in the eleva- 
tion of one lies the salvation of the other. Therefore I claim a part in 
the last and grandest movement of the ages; for whatever concerns 
woman concerns the race. In every human enterprise the sexes should 
go hand in hand. Experience sanctions the statement. I know of but 
few movements in history, which have gone on successfully without the 
aid of woman. One of these is war the work of human slaughter. An- 
other has been the digging of gold in California. I have yet to learn 
what advantages the world has derived from either. Whenever the sexes 
have been severed in politics, in business, in religion, the result has been 

Mr. Blackwell spoke with great eloquence for nearly an hour, ad- 
vocating the political, civil, and moral equality of woman. Ho 
showed the pow T er of the ballot in combating unjust laws, opening 
college doors, securing equal pay for equal work, dignifying the 
marriage relation, by making woman an equal partner, not a subject. 
He paid a glowing eulogy to Mary Wollstonecroft. He said : 

We need higher ideas of marriage. There is scarcely a young man 
here who does not hope to be a husband and a father; nor a young woman 


who does not expect to be a wife and a mother. But who does not revolt 
at the idea of perpetuating a race inferior to ourselves? For myself I could 
not desire a degenerate family. I would not wish for a race which would n>t 
he head and shoulders above what I had been. Let me say t<> men, sH.-r-t 
women worthy to be wives. The world is overstocked with th-se mis-he- 
u'otten children of undeveloped mothers. No man who has ever seen the 
symmetrical character of a true woman, can be happy in a union with such. 
Ladies: the day is coming when men who have seen more well-developed 
women, will scorn the present standard of female character. Will you 
not teach them to do so? You may have to sacrifice much, but you will 
be repaid. This history of the world is rich with glorious examples. 
Mary Wollstonecroft, the writer of that brave book, "The Rights >f 
Woman/' published two generations ago, dared to be true to her convic- 
tions of duty in spite of the prejudices of the world. What was the re- 
sult? She attained a noble character. She found in Godwin a nature 
worthy of her own, and left a child who became the wife and worthy bi- 
oirrapher of the great poet Shelley. Let us imitate that child of glorious 
parents parents who dared to make all their relations compatible with 
absolute right, to give all their powers the highest development. 

People say a marrjed woman can not have ulterior objects; that her 
position is incompatible with a high intellectual culture; that her 
thoughts and sympathies must be restricted to the four walls of her 
dwelling. Why, if I were a woman (I speak only as a man) and believed 
this popular doctrine, that she who is a wife and a mother, being that, 
must be nothing more, but must cramp her thoughts into the narrow 
circle of her own home, and indulge no grander aspirations for universal 
interests believing that, I would forswear marriage. I would withdraw 
myself from human society, and go out into the forest and the prairie to 
live out my own true life in the communion and sympathy of my (iod. 
So far as I was concerned, the race might become worthily extinct it 
should never be unworthily perpetuated. I could do no otherwise. For 
we are not made merely to eat and drink, and give children to the world. 
We are placed here upon the threshold of an immortal life. We are 
but the chrysalis of the future. If immortality means anything, it means 
unceasing progress for individuals and for the race. 

Mr. Blackwell complimented those women who were just inaugurating 
a movement for a new costume, promising greater freedom and health. 
He thought the sneers and ridicule so unsparingly showered on the 
"Bloomers,' 1 might with more common sense be turned on the "tight 
waists, paper shoes, and trailing skirts of the fashionable classes." 

The facts of history may as well be stated here in regard to the 
" Bloomer " costume. Mrs. Bloomer was among the first to wear 
the dress, and stoutly advocated its adoption in her paper, The Lily, 
published at Seneca Falls, N. Y. But it was introduced hy Eliza- 
beth Smith Miller, the daughter of the great philanthropist, Gen-it 
Smith, in 1850. She wore it for many years, even in the most fash- 
ionable circles of Washington during her father's term in Con-: 

128 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Lucy Stone, Miss Anthony, and Mrs. Stanton, also wore it a few 
years. But it invoked so much ridicule, that they feared the odium 
attached to the dress might injure the suffrage movement, of which 
they were prominent representatives. Hence a stronger love for 
woman's political freedom, than for their own personal comfort, 
compelled them to lay it aside. The experiment, however, was not 
without its good results. The dress was adopted for skating and 
gymnastic exercises, in seminaries and sanitariums. At Dr. James 
C. Jackson's, in Dansville, "N. Y., it is still worn. Many farmers' 
wives, too, are enjoying its freedom in their rural homes. 

Mrs. Bloomer, editor of The Lily, at Seneca Falls, New York, 
was introduced at the close of Mr. Blackwell's remarks, and read 
a well-prepared digest of the laws for married women. 

Reporting one of the sessions, the Plain Dealer said : 

Mrs. Gage, ever prompt in her place, called the Convention to order 
at the usual hour. The Melodean at this time contained 1,500 people. 
We think the women may congratulate themselves on having most em- 
phatically ' ' made a hit " in the forest city. 

Of the personnel of the Convention, it says: 

Mrs. Mott is matronly-looking, wearing the Quaker dress, and appar- 
ently a good-natured woman. Her face does not indicate her character 
as a fiery and enthusiastic advocate of reform. Mrs. Gage is not a hand- 
some woman, but her appearance altogether is prepossessing. You can 
see genius in her eye. She presided with grace at all the sessions of the 
Convention. The house was thronged with intelligent audiences. The 
President frequently contrasted the order, decorum, and kindness of the 
Cleveland audiences, with the noisy and tumultuous demonstrations 
which recently disgraced the city of New York, at the Convention held 

Hon. JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS, on being called to the stand, remarked : 
That he was present to express, and happy of the opportunity to ex- 
press, his sincere interest in the cause, and regard for the actors in this 
movement ; but that on almost any other occasion he could speak with 
less embarrassment than here, with such advocates before him ; and as 
he had not come prepared to address the Convention, declined occupy- 
ing its time longer. 

In reading over the debates of these early Conventions, we find 
the speakers dwelling much more on the wrongs in the Church and 
the Home, than in the State. But few of the women saw clearly, 
and felt deeply that the one cause of their social and religious deg- 
radation was their disfranchisement, hence the discussions often 
t uraed on the surf ace- wrongs of society. 

William Henry Channin/j. 1-20 

Many of the friends present thought the Convention should issue 
an original Declaration of Rights, as nothing had been adopted as 
yet. except the parody on the Fathers' of '76. Although that, and the 
one William Henry Channing prepared, were both before the Con- 
vention, it adjourned without taking action on either. 

As so many of these noble leaders in the anti-slavery ranks have 
passed away, we give in this chapter large space to their brave 
words. Also to the treatment of Miss Brown, in the World's Tem- 
perance Convention, for its exceptional injustice and rudeness. 

Miss Brown read a letter from William H. Channing, in which he 
embodied his ideas of a Declaration. Lucy Stone also read a very 
able letter from Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Both of these let- 
ters contain valuable suggestions for the adoption of practical 
measures for bringing the wrongs of woman to the notice of the 


ROCHESTER, N. Y., Oct. 3, 1853. 
To the President and Members of the Woman's Rights Convention : 

As I am prevented, to my deep regret, from being present at the Con- 
vention, let me suggest in writing what I should prefer to speak. First, 
however, I would once again avow that I am with you heart, mind, soul, 
and strength for the Equal Rights of Women. This great reform will 
prove to be, I am well assured, the salvation and glory of this Republic, 
and of all Christian and civilized States : 

" And if at once we may not 
Declare the greatness of the work we plan, 
Be sure at least that ever in our eyes 
It stands complete before us as a dome 
Of light beyond this gloom a house of stars 
Encompassing these dusky tents a thing 
Near as our hearts, and perfect as the heavens. 
Be this our aim and model, and our hands 
Shall not wax faint, until the work is done." 

The Woman's Rights Conventions, which, since 1848, have been so 
frequently held in New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, etc. , 
have aroused respectful attention, and secured earnest sympathy, 
throughout the United States. It becomes the advocates of the Equal 
Rights of Women, then, to take advantage of this wide-spread interest 
and to press the Reform, at once, onward to practical results. 

Among other timely measures, these have occurred to me as promising 
to be effective: 

I. There should be prepared, printed, and widely circulated, A DEC- 

This Declaration should distinctly announce the inalienable rights of 
women : 


130 History of Woman Suffrage. 

1st. As human beings, irrespective of the distinction of sex actively 
to co-operate in all movements for the elevation of mankind. 

2d. As rational, moral, and responsible agents, freely to think, speak, 
and do, what truth and duty dictate, and to be the ultimate judges of 
their own sphere of action. 

3d. As women, to exert in private and in public, throughout the whole 
range of Social Relations, that special influence which God assigns as 
their appropriate function, in endowing them with feminine attributes. 

4tb. As members of the body politic, needing the protection, liable to 
the penalties, and subject to the operation of the laws, to take their fair 
part in legislation and administration, and in appointing the makers 
and administrators of the laws. 

5th. As constituting one-half of the people of these free and United 
States, and as nominally, free women, to possess arid use the power of 
voting, now monopolized by that other half of the people, the free men. 

6th. As property holders, numbered and registered in every census, 
and liable to the imposition of town, county, state, and national taxes, 
either to be represented if taxed, or to be left untaxed if unrepresented, 
according to the established precedent of No taxation without represen- 

7th. As producers of wealth to be freed from all restrictions on their 
industiy; to be remunerated according to the work done, and not the 
sex of the workers, and whether married or single, to be secured in the 
ownership of their gains, and the use and distribution of their property. 

8th. As intelligent persons, to have ready access to the best means of 
culture, afforded by schools, colleges, professional institutions, museum? 
of science, galleries of art, libraries, and reading-rooms. 

9th. As members of Christian churches and congregations, heirs ol 
Heaven and children of God, to preach the truth, to administer the rites 
of baptism, communion, and marriage, to dispense charities, and in every 
way to quicken and refine the religious life of individuals and of society 

The mere announcement of these rights, is the strongest argument and 
appeal that can be made, in behalf of granting them. The claim to their 
free enjoyment is undeniably just. Plainly such rights are inalienable, 
and plainly too, woman is entitled to their possession equally with man. 
Our whole plan of government is a hypocritical farce, if one- half the peo- 
ple can be governed by the other half without their consent being asked 
or granted. Conscience and common sense alike demand the equal 
rights of women. To the conscience and common sense of their fellow- 
citizens, let women appeal untiringly, until their just claims are acknowl- 
edged throughout the whole system of legislation, and in all the usages 
of society. 

And this introduces the next suggestion I have to offer. 

II. Forms of petition should be drawn up and distributed for signatures, 
to be offered to the State Legislatures at their next sessions. These pe- 
titions should be directed to the following points: 

1st. That the right of suffrage be granted to the people, universally, 
without distinction of sex ; and that the age for attaining legal and polit- 
ical majority, be made the same for women as for men. 

Thomas W. Higyinson. 131 

2d. That all laws relative to the inheritance and ownership of prop- 
erty, to the division ami administration of estates, and to th> .-\. ration 
of Wills, be made equally applicable to women and men. 

3d. That mothers be entitled, equally with fathers, to become guard- 
ians of their children. 

4th. That confirmed and habitual drunkenness, of either husband or 
wife, be held as sufficient ground for divorce ; and that the temperate 
partner be appointed legal guardian of the children. 

5th. That women be exempted from taxation until their right of suf- 
frage is practically acknowledged. 

6th. That women equally with men be entitled to claim trial before a 
jury of their peers. 

These petitions should be firm and uncompromising in tone ; and a 
hearing should be demanded before Committees specially empowered to 
.consider and report them. In my judgment, the time is not distant, 
-when such petitions will be granted, and when justice, the simple justice 
they ask, will be cordially, joyfully rendered. 

I call then for the publication of a Declaration of Woman's Rights, 
.accompanied by Forms of Petitions, by the National Woman's Rights 
^Convention at their present session. In good hope, 

Your friend and brother, WILLIAM HENRY CHAJSTSTXG. 

Miss BKOWN remarked : 

There is one of these demands, the fourth, which for myself, I should 
prefer to have amended thus instead of the word "divorce," I would 
insert " legally separated." The letter otherwise meets my cordial and 
iiearty approbation. 


WORCESTER, Sept. 15, 1853. 

DEAR FRIEND : In writing to the New York Woman's Rights Convention, I 
^mentioned some few points of argument which no opponents of this movement 
.have ever attempted to meet. Suffer me, in addressing the Cleveland Conven- 
tion, to pursue a different course, and mention some things which the friends 
of the cause have not yet attempted to do. 

I am of a practical habit of mind, and have noticed with some regret that 
anost of the friends of the cause have rested their hopes, thus far, chiefly upon 
.abstract reasoning. This is doubtless of great importance, and these reasonings 
Jiave already made many converts; because the argument is so entirely on one 
.side that every one who really listens to it begins instantly to be convinced. 
The difficulty is, that the majority have not yet begun to listen to it, and this* 
in great measure, because their attention has not been called to the facts upon 
Tvhich it is founded. 

Suppose, now, that an effort were made to develop the facts of woman's 
wrongs. For instance : 

1st. We say that the laws of every State of this Union do great wrong to 
woman, married and single, as to her person and property, in her private and 
public relations. Why cot procure a digest of the laws on these subjects, then ; 

132 History of Woman Suffrage. 

prepared carefully, arranged systematically, corrected up to the latest improve- 
ments, and accompanied by brief and judicious commentaries ? No such work 
exists, except that by Mansfield, which is now obsolete, and in many respects 

2d. We complain of the great educational inequalities between the sexes. 
Why not have a report, elaborate, statistical, and accurate, on the provision 
for female education, public and private, throughout the free States of thisi 
Union, at least ? No such work now exists. 

3d. We complain of the industrial disadvantages of women, and indicate at 
the same time, their capacities for a greater variety of pursuits. Why not ob- 
tain a statement, on as large a scale as possible, first, of what women are doing 
now, commercially and mechanically, throughout the Union (thus indicating, 
their powers) ; and secondly, of the embarrassments with which they meet, the- 
inequality of their wages, and all the other peculiarities of their position, in 
these respects ? An essay, in short, on the Business Employments and Interests 
of Women ; such an essay as Mr. Hunt has expressed to me his willingness to- 
publish in his Merchants' Magazine. No such essay now exists. 

Each of these three documents would be an arsenal of arms for the Woman's 
Rights advocate. A hundred dollars, appropriated to each of these, would 1 
more than repay itself in the increased subscriptions it would soon bring into- 
the treasury of the cause. That sum would, however, be hardly sufficient to 
repay even the expenses of correspondence and traveling necessary for the last 
two essays, or the legal knowledge necessary for the first. 

If there is, however, known to the Convention at Cleveland any person qual- 
ified and ready to undertake either of the above duties for the above sum (no> 
person should undertake more than one of the three investigations), I would 
urge you to make the Appointment. It will require, however, an accurate, clear- 
headed, and industrious person, with plenty of time to bestow. Better not 
have it done at all, than not have it done thoroughly, carefully, and dispassion- 
ately. Let me say distinctly, that I can not be a candidate for either duty, in 
my own person, for want of time to do it in ; though I think I could render 
some assistance, especially in preparing materials for the third essay. I would 
also gladly subscribe toward a fund for getting the work done. 

Permit me, finally, to congratulate you on the valuable results of every Con- 
vention yet held to consider this question. I find the fact everywhere remark- 
ed, that so large a number of women of talent and character have suddenly come 
forward into a public sphere. This phenomenon distinguishes this reform from all 
others that have appeared in America, and illustrates with new meaning the 
Greek myth of Minerva, born full-grown from the head of Jove. And if (as 
some late facts indicate) this step forward only promotes the Woman's Rights 
movement from the sphere of contempt into the sphere of hostility and perse- 
cution it is a step forward, none the less. And I would respectfully suggest 
to the noble women who are thus attacked, that they will only be the gainers 
by such opposition, unless it lead to dissensions or jealousies among themselves. 

Yours cordially, 


LUCY STONE remarked : This letter, you see, proposes that we shall find 
some way, if possible, by which our complaints may be spread before the 

Rev. Asa Mahan. 133 

people. We find men and women in our conventions, earnest and thoughtful, 
who are not drawn by mere curio*.] ty, but from a conscious want of just such a 
movement as this. They go away and carry to their villages and hamlets the 
ideas they have gathered here ; and it is a cause for thankfulness to God that 
so many go away to repeat what they have heard. But we have wanted the 
documents to scatter among the people, as the Tract Society scatters its sheets. 
And now Mr. Higginson proposes that we have these essays. 

The President of Oberlin College, Rev. Asa Mahan, was present 
during all the sessions of the Convention, and took part in the de- 
bates. On the subject of the Seneca Falls Declaration, he said : 

I can only judge of the effect of anything upon the public mind, by its 
effect upon my own. It has been suggested that that Declaration is a 
parody. Now you can not present a parody, without getting up a laugh ; 
and wherever it goes, it will never be seriously considered. If a declara- 
tion is to be made, it should be one that will be seriously considered by 
the public. I would suggest that the Declaration of this Convention be 
entirely independent of the other. 

I have a remark to make upon a sentiment advanced by Mrs. Rose. I 
have this objection to the Declaration upon which she commented. It is 
asserted there, that man has created a certain public sentiment, and it is 
brought as a charge against the male sex. Now I assert, that man never 
created that sentiment. I say it is a wrong state of society totally, when, 
if woman shall be degraded, a man committing the same offense shall 
not be degraded also. There is perfect agreement between us there. 
But, that Declaration charges that sentiment upon man. Now I assert 
that it is chargeable upon woman herself; and that as she was first in 
man's original transgression, she is first here. 

Mrs. ROSE: I heartily agree that we are both in fault; and yet we are 
none in fault. I also said, that woman, on account of the position in 
which she has been placed, by being dependent upon man, by being 
made to look up to man, is the first to cast out her sister. I know it and 
deplore it ; hence I wish to give her her rights, to secure her dependence 
upon herself. In regard to that sentiment in the Declaration, our friend 
said that woman created it. Is woman really the creator of the senti- 
ment? The laws of a country create sentiments. Who make the laws? 
Does woman ? Our law-makers give the popular ideas of morality. 

Mr. BARKER: And the pulpit. 

Mrs. ROSE : I ought to have thought of it : not only do the law-makers 
give woman her ideas of morality, but our pulpit preachers. I beg par- 
don no, I do not either for Antoinette L. Brown is not a priest. Our 
priests have given us public sentiment called morals, and they have 
always made or recognized in daily life, distinctions between man and 
woman. Man, from the time of Adam to the present, has had utmost 
license, while woman must not commit the slightest degree of "impro- 
priety," as it is termed. Why, even to cut her skirts shorter than the 
fashion, is considered a moral delinquency, and stigmatized as such by 
more than one pulpit, directly or indirectly. 

134 History of Woman Suffrage. 

You ask ine who made this sentiment; and my friend yonder, says 
woman. She is but the echo of man. Man utters the sentiment, and 
woman echoes it. As I said before for I have seen and felt it deeply 
she even appears to be quite nattered with her cruel tyrant, for such he 
has been made to be she is quite nattered with the destroyer of woman's 
character aye, worse than that, the destroyer of woman's self-respect 
and peace of mind and when she meets him, she is nattered with his 
attentions. Why should she not be? He is admitted into Legislative 
halls, and to all places where men "most do congregate;" why, then, 
should she not admit him to her parlor? The woman is admitted into no 
such places; the Church casts her out; and a stigma is cast upon her, for 
what is called the slightest "impropriety." Prescribed by no true moral 
law, but by superstition and prejudice, she is cast out not only from pub- 
lic places, but from private homes. And if any woman would take her 
sister to her heart, and warm her there again by sympathy and kindness, 
if she would endeavor once more to infuse into her the spark of life and 
virtue, of morality and peace, she often dare not so far encounter public 
prejudice as to do it. It requires a courage beyond what woman can now 
possess, to take the part of the woman against the villain. There are few 
such among us, and though few, they have stood forward nobly and glo- 
riously. I will not mention names, though it is often a practice to do so \ 
I must, however, mention our sister, Lucretia Mott, who has stood up 
and taken her fallen sister by the hand, and warmed her at her own 
heart. But we can not expect every woman to possess that degree of 

ABBY KELLY FOSTER : I want to say here that I believe the law is but 
the writing out of public sentiment, and back of that public sentiment, I 
contend lies the responsibility. Where shall we find it? '"Tis educa- 
tion forms the common mind." It is allowed that we are what we are 
educated to be. Now if we can ascertain who has had the education of 
us, we can ascertain who is responsible for the law, and for public 
sentiment. Who takes the infant from its cradle and baptizes it " in the 
name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; " and when that infant comes 
to childhood, who takes it into Sabbath-schools ; who on every Sabbath 
day, while its mind is "like clay in the hands of the potter," moulds and 
fashions it as he will; and when that child comes to be a youth, where is 
he found, one-seventh part of the time ; and when he comes to maturer 
age, does he not leave his plow in the furrow, and his tools in the shop, 
and one-seventh part of the time go to the place where prayer is wont to 
be made ? On that day no sound is heard but the roll of the carriage 
wheels to church; all are gathered there, everything worldly is laid aside, 
all thoughts are given entirely to the Creator; for we are taught that we 
must not think our own thoughts, but must lay our own wills aside, and 
come to be moulded and fashioned by the priest. It is "holy time," 
and we are to give ourselves to be wholly and entirely fashioned and 
formed by another. That place is a holy place, and when we enter, 
our eye rests on the "holy of holies; " he within it is a "divine.'' The 
" divines " of the thirteenth century, the "divines " of the fifteenth cent- 
ury, and the "divines" of the nineteenth century, are no less "divines." 

It is the Pulpit. l:;:> 

What I say to-day is taken for what it is worth, or perhaps for less than 
it is worth, because of the prejudice against me; but when he who edu- 
cates the psople speaks, "he speaks as one having authority,'' and is 
not to be questioned. He claims, and has his claim allowed, to be spe- 
cially ordained and specially anointed from God. He stands mid-way 
between Deity and man, and therefore his word has power. 

Aye, not only in middle age does the man come, leaving everything 
behind him; but, in old age, "leaning on the top of his staff," he finds 
himself gathered in the place of worship, and though his ear may be dull 
and heavy, he leans far forward to catch the last words of duty of duty 
to God and duty to man. Duty is the professed object of the pulpit, and 
if it does not teach that, what in Heaven's name does it teach? This 
anointed man of God speaks of moral duty to God and man. He 
teaches man from the cradle to the coffin ; and when that aged form is 
gathered within its winding-sheet, it is the pulpit that says, " Dust to 
dust and ashes to ashes." 

It is the pulpit, then, which has the entire ear of the community, one- 
seventh part of the time. If you say there are exceptions, very well, that 
proves the rule. If there is one family who do not go to church, it is no 
mattei , its teachings are engendered by those who do go ; hence I would 
say, not only does the pulpit have the ear of the community one-seventh 
part of the time of childhood, but it has it under circumstances for form- 
ing and moulding and fashioning the young mind, as no other educating 
influence can have it. The pulpit has it, not only under these circum- 
stances ; it has it on occasions of marriage, when two hearts are welded 
into one; on occasions of sickness and death, when all the world beside 
is shut out, when the mind is most susceptible of impressions from the 
pulpit, or any other source. 

I say, then, that woman is not the author of this sentiment against 
her fallen sister, and I roll back the assertion on its source. Having the 
public ear one-seventh part of the time, if the men of the pulpit do not 
educate the public mind, who does educate it? Millions of dollars are 
paid for this education, and if they do not educate the public mind in 
its morals, what, I ask, are we paying our money for ? If woman is cast 
out of society, and man is placed in a position where he is respected, 
then I charge upon the pulpit that it has been recreant to its duty. If the 
pulpit should speak out fully and everywhere, upon this subject, would 
not woman obey it? Are not women under the special leading and direc- 
tion of their clergymen? You may tell me, that it is woman who form- 
the mind of the child; but I charge it back again, that it is the minister 
who forms the mind of the woman. It is he who makes the mother what 
she is; therefore her teaching of the child is only conveying the instruc- 
tions of the pulpit at second hand. If public sentiment is wrong 
on this (and I have the testimony of those who have spoken this morn- 
ing, that it is), the pulpit is responsible for it, and has the power of 
changing it, The clergy claim the credit of establishing public schools. 
Granted. Listen to the pulpit in any matter of humanity, and they will 
claim the originating of it, because they are the teachers of the people. 
Now, if we give credit to the pulpit for establishing public schools, then 

136 History of Woman Suffrage. 

I charge them with having a bad influence over those schools; and if the 
charge can be rolled off, I want it to be rolled off; but until it can be 
done, I hope it will remain there. 

Mr. MAHAIST: No class of persons had better be drawn into our dis- 
cussions to be denounced, unless there is serious occasion for it. I 
name the pulpit with solemn awe, and unless there is necessity for it, 
charges had better not be made against it. Now, I say that no practice 
and no usage in the Church can be found, by which a criminal man, in 
reference to the crimes referred to, may be kept in the Church and a 
criminal woman cast out. There is no such custom in any of the churches 
of God. After twenty years' acquaintance with the Church, I affirm that 
the practice does not exist. Now, in regard to the origin of public senti- 
ment, can a pulpit be found, will the lady who has just sat down, name 
a pulpit in the wide world, where the principle is advocated, that a crim- 
inal woman should be excluded, and the man upheld? Whatever faults 
may be in it, that fault is not there. 

Mrs. ROSE: Not in theory, but in practice. 

Mr. MAHAN : Neither in theory nor in practice. Where a wrong state 
of society exists, the pulpit may be in fault for not reprobating it. 

ABBY K. FOSTER : I do not wish to mention names, or I could do so. I 
could give many cases where ministers have been charged with such 
crimes, and where the evidence of guilt was almost insurmountable, and 
yet they were not disciplined. They were afraid it would injure the 
Church. I remember one minister who was brought up for trial, and 
meantime they suspended him from office, and paid him only half his 
salary, but retained him as a church member; when, if it had been the 
case of a woman, and had the slightest shade of suspicion been cast upon 
her, they would not have waited even for trial and judgment. They 
would have cast her out of the church at once. 

WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON said : I have but a few words to submit to the 
meeting at the present time. In regard to the position of the Church 
and clergy, on the subject of purity, I think it is (sufficient to remind the 
people here, that whatever may be the external form observed by the 
Church toward its members, pertaining to licentiousness, one thing is 
noticeable, and that is, that the marriage relation is abolished among 
three and a half millions of people; and the abolition of marriage on 
that frightful scale, is in the main sanctioned and sustained by the 
American Church and clergy. And if this does not involve them in all 
that is impure, and licentious, and demoralizing, I know not what can 
do so. 

As it respects the objection to our adopting the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence as put forth at Seneca Falls, on the ground that it is a parody, 
and that, being a parody, it will only excite the mirthfulness of those 
who hear or read it in that form ; I would simply remark, that I very 
much doubt, whether, among candid and serious men, there would be 
any such mirthfulness excited. At the time that document was published, 
I read it, but I had forgotten it till this morning, and on listening to it, 
my mind was deeply impressed with its pertinacity and its power. It 
seemed to me, the argumentum ad hominum, to this nation. It was 

Intelligent Wickedness. 137 

measuring the people of this country by their own standard. It was 
taking their own words and applying their own principles to women, as 
they have been applied to men. At the same time, I liked the sugges- 
tion that we had better present an original paper to the country ; and on 
conferring with the Committee after the adjournment, they agreed that 
it would be better to have such a paper; and that paper will undoubt- 
edly be prepared, although we are not now ready to lay it before the 

It was this morning objected to the Declaration of sentiments, that it 
implied that man was the only transgressor, that he had been guilty of 
injustice and usurpation, and the suggestion was also made, that woman 
should not be criminated, in this only, but regarded rather as one who 
had erred through ignorance; and our eloquent friend, Mrs. Rose, who 
stood on this platform and pleaded with such marked ability, as she 
always does plead in any cause she undertakes to speak upon, told us 
her creed. She told us she did not blame anybody, really, and did not 
hold any man to be criminal, or any individual to be responsible for pub- 
lic sentiment, as regards the difference of criminality of man and woman. 

For my own part, I am not prepared to respect that philosophy. I 
believe in sin, therefore in a sinner; in theft, therefore in a thief; in 
slavery, therefore in a slaveholder; in wrong, therefore in a wrong-doer; 
and unless the men of this nation are made by woman to see that they 
have been guilty of usurpation, and cruel usurpation, I believe very 
little progress made. To say all this has been done without 
thinking, without calculation, without design, by mere accident, by a 
want of light ; can anybody believe this who is familiar with all the facts in 
the case? Certainly, for one, I hope ever to lean to the charitable side, and 
will try to do so. I, too, believe things are done through misconception 
and misapprehension, which are injurious, yes, which are immoral and 
unchristian; but only to a limited extent. There is such a thing as 
intelligent wickedness, a design on the part of those who have the 
light to quench it, and to do the wrong to gratify their own propensi- 
ties, and to further their own interests. So, then, I believe, that as man 
has monopolized for generations all the rights which belong to woman, 
it has not been accidental, not through ignorance on his part; but I be- 
lieve that man has done this through calculation, actuated by a spirit of 
pride, a desire for domination which has made him degrade woman in 
her own eyes, and thereby tend to make her a mere vassal. 

It seems to me, therefore, that we are to deal with the consciences of men. 
It is idle to say that the guilt is common, that the women are as deeply in- 
volved in this matter as the men. Never can it be said that the victims are 
as much to be blamed as the victimizer; that the slaves are to be as much 
blamed as the slaveholders and slave-drivers; that the women who have 
no rights, are to be as much blamed as the men who have played the 
part of robbers and tyrants. We must deal with conscience. The men 
of this nation, and the men of all nations, have no just respect for woman. 
They have tyrannized over her deliberately, they have not sinned through 
ignorance, but theirs is not the knowledge that saves. Who can say 
truly, that in all things he acts up to the light he enjoys, that he does 

138 History of Woman Suffrage. 

not do something which he knows is not the very thing, or the best thing 
he ought to do ? How few there are among mankind who are able to say 
this with regard to themselves. Is not the light all around us ? Does not 
this nation know how great its guilt is in enslaving one-sixth of its peo- 
ple? Do not the men of this nation know ever since the landing of the 
pilgrims, that they are wrong in making subject one-half of the people? 
Rely upon it, it has not been a mistake on their part. It has been sin. 
It has been guilt; and they manifest their guilt to a demonstration, in 
the manner in which they receive this movement. Those who do wrong 
ignorantly, do not willingly continue in it, when they find they are in 
the wrong. Ignorance is not an evidence of guilt certainly. It is only 
an evidence of a want of light. They who are only ignorant, will never 
rage, and rave, and threaten, and foam, when the light comes; but being 
interested and walking in the light, will always present a manly front, 
and be willing to be taught, and be willing to be told they are in the 

Take the case of slavery: How has the anti-slavery cause been re- 
ceived? Not argumentatively, not by reason, not by entering the free 
arena of fair discussion and comparing notes; the arguments have been 
rotten eggs, and brickbats and calumny, and in the southern portion 
of the country, a spirit of murder, and threats to cut out the tongues 
of those who spoke against them. What has this indicated on the part 
of the nation? What but conscious guilt? Not ignorance, not that they 
had not the light. They had the light and rejected it. 

How has this Woman's Rights movement been treated in this country, 
on the right hand and on the left? This nation ridicules and derides 
this movement, and spits upon it, as fit only to be cast out and train- 
pled underfoot. This is not ignorance. They know all about the truth. 
It is the natural outbreak of tyranny. It is because the tyrants and 
usurpers are alarmed. They have been and are called to judgment, and 
they dread the examination and exposure of their position and character. 

Women of America! you have something to blame yourselves for in 
this matter, something to account for to God and the world. Granted. 
But then you are the victims in this land, as the women of all lands are, 
to the tyrannical power and godless ambition of man; and we must show 
who are responsible in this matter. We must test everybody here. 
Every one of us must give an account of himself to God. It is an individ- 
ual testing of character. Mark the man or the woman who derides this 
movement, who turns his or her back upon it; who is disposed to let 
misrule keep on, and you will find you have a sure indication of 
character. You will find that such persons are destitute of princi- 
ples ; for if you can convict a man of being wanting in principle any- 
where, it will be everywhere. He who loves the right for its own sake, 
loves the right everywhere. He who is a man of principle, is a man of 
principle always. Let me see the man who is willing to have any one of 
God's rational creatures sacrificed to promote anything, aside from the 
well-being of that creature himself, and I will show you an unprincipled 

It is so in this movement. Nobody argues against it, nobody pre- 

Theological Quibbles a Firebrand. 139 

tends to have an argument. Your platform is free everywhere, wherever 
these Conventions are held. Yet no man comes forward in a decent, re- 
spectable manner, to show you that you are wrong in the charges you 
bring against the law-makers of the land. There is no argument against 
it. * The thing is self-evident. I should not know how to begin to frame 
an argument. That which is self-evident is greater than argument, and 
beyond logic. It testifies of itself. You and I, as human beings, claim to 
have rights, but I never think of going into an argument with anybody, to 
prove that I ought to have rights. I have the argument and logic here, it is 
in my own breast and consciousness ; and the logic of the schools becomes 
contemptible beside these. The more you try to argue, the worse you 
are off. It is not the place for metaphysics, it is the place for affirmation. 
"Woman is the counterpart of man ; she has the same divine image, hav- 
ing the same natural and inalienable rights as man. To state the propo- 
sition is enough; it contains the argument, and nobody can gainsay it, in 
an honorable way. 

I rose simply to say, that though I should deprecate making our plat- 
form a theological arena, yet believing that men are guilty of intentional 
wrong, in keeping woman subject, I believe in having them criminated. 
You talk of injustice, then there is an unjust man somewhere. Even 
Mrs. Rose could talk of the guilt of society. Society! I know nothing 
of society. I know the guilt of individuals. Society is an abstract term : 
it is made up of individuals, and the responsibility rests with individuals. 
So then, if we are to call men to repentance, there is such a thing as 
wrong-doing intelligently, sinning against God and man, with light 
enough to convict us, and to condemn us before God and the world. 
Let this cause then be pressed upon the hearts and consciences, against 
those who hold unjust rights in their possession. 

Mrs. ROSE: I want to make a suggestion to the meeting. This is the 
afternoon of the last day of our Convention. We have now heard here 
the Bible arguments on both sides, and I may say to them that I agree 
with both, that is, I agree with neither. A gentleman, Dr. Nevin, I be- 
lieve, said this morning that he also would reply to Mr. Barker, this aft- 
ernoon. We have already had Mr. Barker answered. If any one else 
speaks farther on Miss Brown's side, somebody will have to reply upon 
the other. "There is a time and a season for everything," and this is no 
time to discuss the Bible. I appeal to the universal experience of men, 
to sustain me in asking whether the introduction of theological quibbles, 
has not been a firebrand wherever they have been thrown ? We have a 
political question under discussion; let us take that question and argue 
it with reference to right and wrong, and let us argue it in the same way 
that your fathers and mothers did, when they wanted to throw off the 
British yoke. 

Dr. NEVIX: It will be unjust, not to permit me to speak. 

Mrs. MOTT moved that he be allowed, since he had already got the floor, 
without attempting to limit him at all; but that immediately after, the 
Convention should take up the resolutions. 

Mrs. ROSE objected, because, if a third person should speak, then a 
fourth must speak, or plead injustice, if not permitted to do so. 

140 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Considerable confusion ensued, Dr. Kevin, however, persisting in 
speaking, whereupon the President invited him to the platform. He 
took the stand, assuring the President and officers, as he passed them, 
that he wished only to reply to some misinterpretations of Mr. Bar- 
ker's, and would take but little of the time which they so much 
needed for business. After commencing, however, with Bible in 
hand, he launched out into an irrelevant eulogium upon "his 
Christ," etc. ; from that to personalities against Mr. Barker and his 
associates upon the platform, calling him a " renegade priest," " an 
infidel from foreign shores, who had come to teach Americans 
Christianity ! " 

Mr. GARRISON rose to a point of order, with regard to the speaker's per- 
sonalities as to the nativity of anybody. 

Dr. NEVIN retorted: The gentleman has been making personalities 
against the whole priesthood. 

Mr. BARKER : I expressly and explicitly made exceptions. I only wish 
that Mr. Nevin may not base his remarks upon a phantom. 

Dr. NEVIN continued wandering on for some time, when Stephen S. 
Foster rose, to a point of order, as follows: " The simple question before 
us, is whether woman is entitled to all the rights to which the other sex 
is entitled. I want to say, that the friend is neither speaking to the 
general question, nor replying to Mr. Barker." Mr. Foster continued his 
remarks somewhat, when Dr. Nevin demanded that the Chair protect 
him in his right to the floor. The Chair decided that Mr. Foster was out 
of order, in continuing to speak so long upon his point of order. 

Mr. FOSTER said he would not appeal to the house from the decision of 
the Chair, because he wished to save time. He continued a moment 
longer, and sat down. 

Dr. NEVLN" proceeded, and in the course of his remarks drew various 
unauthorized inferences, as the belief of Mr. Barker, in the doctrines of 
Christ. Mr. Barker repeatedly corrected him, but Dr. Nevin very ingeni- 
ously continued to reaffirm them in another shape. Finally, Mr. Garrison, 
hi his seat, addressing the President, said : " It is utterly useless to attempt 
to correct the individual. He is manifestly here in the spirit of a black- 
guard and rowdy." (A storm of hisses and cries of "down ! " "down ! ") 

Dr. NEVIN: I am sorry friend Garrison has thought fit to use those 
words. He has been in scenes and situations like these, and has himself 
stood up and spoken in opposition to the opinions of audiences, too often 
not to have by this time been taught patience. 

Mrs. CLARK: Mr. Garrison is accustomed to call things by their right 

Dr. NEVUr : Very well, then I should call him turning upon Mr. G. 
worse names than those. Only one word has fallen from woman in this 
Convention, to which I can take exception, and that fell from the lips of 
a lady whom I have venerated from my childhood it was, that the pul- 
pit was the castle of cowards. 

All Invited to this Platform. 141 

Mrs. MOTT : I said it was John Chambers' cowards' castle ; and I do say, 
that *uch ministers make it a castle of cowards; but I did not wish to 
make the remark general, or apply it to all pulpits. 

Dr. NEVIN continued some time longer. 

Mrs. FOSTER asked, at the close of his remarks, if he believed it was 
right for woman to speak what she believed to be the truth, from the 
pulpit; to which he replied affirmatively, "there and everywhere." 

Mrs. ROSE : I might claim my right to reply to the gentleman who has 
just taken his seat. I might be able to prove from the arguments he 
brought forward, that he was incorrect in the statements he made, but I 
waive that right, the time has been so unjustly consumed already. To 
one thing only, I will reply. He charged France with being licentious, 
and spoke of the degraded position of French women, as the result of 
the infidelity of that nation. I throw back the slander he uttered, in re- 
gard to French women. I am not a French woman, but if there is no 
other here to vindicate them, I will do it. The French women are as 
moral as any other people in any country; and when they have not been 
as moral, it has been because they have been priest-ridden. I love to 
vindicate the rights of those who are not present to defend themselves. 

STEPHEN S. FOSTER: Our "reverend" friend spoke of dragging infidel- 
ity into this Convention, as though infidelity had to be "dragged" here. 
I want to know if Christianity has been "dragged" here, when the 
speakers made it the basis of their arguments. Who ever dreamed of 
" dragging " Christianity here when they came to advocate the rights of 
woman in the name of Christ? Why then should any one stand up here 
and charge a speaker with " dragging " infidelity when he advocates the 
rights of woman under the name of an infidel. I supposed that Greek 
and Jew, Barbarian and Scythian, Christian and Infidel had been invited 
to this platform. One thing I know, we have had barbarians here, 
whether we invited them or not; and I like to have barbarians here; I 
know of no place where they are so likely to be civilized. I have never 
yet been in a meeting managed by men when there was such conflict of 
feelings, where there was not also ten times as much confusion. And 
I think this meeting a powerful proof of the superiority of our principles 
over those who oppose us. 

Tell me if Christianity has not ever held the reins in this country; and 
what has it done for woman? I am talking now of the popular idea of 
Christianity. What has Christianity done for woman for two hundred 
years past? Why, to-day, in this Christian nation, there are a million 
and a half of women bought and sold like cattle; a million and a half of 
women who can not say who are the fathers of their children! I ask, 
are we to depend on a Christianity like that to restore woman her rights? 
I am speaking of your idea of Christianity of Dr. Nevin's idea of Chris- 
tianityI shall come to the true Christianity by and by. 

One of two things is certain. The Church and Government deny to 
Woman her rights. There is not a denomination in this country which 
places woman on an equality with man. Not one. Can you deny it? 

Mrs. MOTT: Except the Progressive Friends. 

Mr. FOSTER: They are not a denomination, they have broken from aU 

142 History of Woman Suffrage. 

bands and taken the name of the Friends of Progress. I say there is 
not a religious society, having an organized body of ministers, which 
admits woman's equality in the Gospel. Now, tell me, in God's name, 
what we are to hope from the Church, when she leaves a million and 
a half of women liable to be brought upon the auction-block to-day? If 
the Bible is against woman's equality, what are you to do with it? One 
of two things : either you must sit down and fold up your hands, or you 
must discard the divine authority of the Bible. Must you not? You 
must acknowledge the correctness of your position, or deny the authority 
of the Bible. If you admit the construction put upon the Bible by friend 
Barker, to be a false one, or Miss Brown's construction to be the true 
one, what then? Why, then, the priesthood of the country are blind 
leaders of the blind. We have got forty thousand of them, Dr. Nevin 
included with the rest. He stands as an accredited Presbyterian, giving 
the hand of fellowship to the fraternity, and withholding it from Garri- 
son and others he could not even pray a few years ago in an anti-slav- 
ery meeting. Now, either the Bible is against the Church and clergy, or 
else they have misinterpreted it for two hundred years, yes, for six thou- 
sand years. You must then either discard the Bible or the priesthood, 
or give up Woman's Rights. 

A friend says he does not regret this discussion. Why, it is the only 
thing we have done effectively since we have been here. When we 
played with jack-straws, we were hail-fellow with those who now oppose 
us. When you come to take up the great questions of the movement, 
when you propose to man, to divide with woman the right to rule, then 
a great opposition is aroused. The ballot-box is not worth a straw until 
woman is ready to use it. Suppose a law were passed to-morrow, de- 
claring woman's rights equal with those of men, why, the facts would 
remain the same. The moment that woman is ready to go to the ballot- 
box, there is not a Constitution that will stand in the country. In this 
very city, in spite of the law, I am told that negroes go to the ballot-box 
and vote, without let or hindrance ; and woman will go when she resolves 
upon it. What we want for woman is the right of speech; and in Dr. 
Nevin's reply to Mrs. Foster, does he mean that he would be willing to 
accord the right of speech to woman and admit her into the pulpit? I 
don't believe he would admit Antoinette Brown to his pulpit. I was 
sorry Mrs. Foster did not ask him if he would. I don't believe he dares 
to do it. I would give him a chance to affirm or deny it. I hope some 
other friend will give him that opportunity, and that Antoinette Brown 
may be able to say that she was invited by the pastor of one of the larg- 
est churches in this beautiful city, to speak to his people in his pulpit ; 
but if he does it, he is not merely one among a thousand, but one among 
ten thousand. 

I wish to have it understood that an infidel is as much at home here 
as a Christian; and that his principles are no more "dragged " here than 
those of a Christian. For myself, I claim to be a Christian. No man 
ever heard me speak of Christ or of His doctrines, but with the profound- 
est reverence. Still, I welcome upon this platform those who differ as 
far as possible from me. And the Atheist no more " drags " in his Atbe- 

What is Infidelity? 143 

ism, provided he only shows that Atheism itself demands woman's equal- 
ity, and is no more out of order than I, when I undertake to show that 
Christianity preaches one law, one faith, and one line of duty for all. 

Mrs. MOTT: We ought to thank Dr. Nevin for his kindly fears, lest we 
women should be brought out into the rough conflicts of life, and over- 
whelmed by infidelity. I thank him, but at the same time I must say, 
that if we have been able this afternoon to sit uninjured by the hard 
conflict in which he has been engaged, if we can maintain our patience 
at seeing him so laboriously build up a man of straw, and then throw it 
down and destroy it, I think we may be suffered to go into the world 
and bear many others unharmed. 

Again, I would ask in all seriousness, by what right does Orthodoxy 
give the invidious name of Infidel, affix the stigma of infidelity, to those 
who dissent from its cherished opinions? What right have the advocates 
of moral reform, woman's rights, abolition, temperance, etc., to call in 
question any man's religious opinions? It is the assumption of bigots. 
I do not want now to speak invidiously, and say sectarian bigots, but I 
mean the same kind of bigotry which Jesus rebuked so sharply, when He 
called certain men " blind leaders of the blind." 

Now, we hold Jesus up as an example, when we perceive the assump- 
tion of clergymen, that all who venture to dissent from a given interpre- 
tation, must necessarily be infidels; and thus denounce them as infidels; 
for it was only by inference, that one clergyman this afternoon made 
Joseph Barker deny the Son of God. By inference in the same way, he 
might be made to deny everything that is good, and praiseworthy, and 

I want we should consider these things upon this platform. I am not 
troubled with difficulties about the Bible. My education has been such 
that I look to that'Source whence all the inspiration of the Bible comes. 
I love the truths of the Bible. I love the Bible because it contains so 
many truths; but I never was educated to love the errors of the Bible; 
therefore it does not startle me to hear Joseph Barker point to some of 
those errors. And I can listen to the ingenious interpretation of the 
Bible, given by Antoinette Brown, and am glad to hear those who are 
so skilled in the outward, when I perceive that they are beginning to 
turn the Bible to so good an account. It gives evidence that the cause 
is making very good progress. Why, my friend Nevin has had to hear the 
temperance cause denounced as infidel, and proved so by Solomon; and 
he has, no doubt, seen the minister in the pulpit, turning over the pages of 
the Bible to find examples for the wrong. But the Bible will never sus- 
tain him in making this use of its pages, instead of using it rationally, 
and selecting such portions of it as would tend to corroborate the right : 
and these are plentiful; for notwithstanding the teaching of theology, 
and men's arts in the religious world, men have ever responded to right- 
eousness and truth, when it has been advocated by the servants of God, so 
that we need not fear to bring truth to an intelligent examination of the 
Bible. It is a far less dangerous assertion to say that God is unchange- 
able, than that man is infallible. 

144 History of Woman Suffrage. 

In this debate on the Bible-position of woman, Mr. Garrison hav- 
ing always been a close student of that Book, was so clear in his 
positions, and so ready in his quotations, that he carried the audience 
triumphantly with him. The Kev. Dr. Kevin came out of the con- 
test so chagrined, that, losing all sense of dignity, on meeting Mr. 
Garrison in the vestibule of the hall, at the close of the Convention, 
he seized him by the nose and shook him vehemently. Mr. Gar- 
rison made no resistance, and when released, he calmly surveyed 
his antagonist and said, " Do you feel better, my friend '( do you 
hope thus to break the force of my argument ? " The friends of the 
Rev. Mr. Kevin were so mortified with his ungentlemanly behavior 
that they suppressed the scene in the vestibule as far as possible, 
in the Cleveland journals, and urged the ladies who had the report 
of the Convention in charge, to make no mention of it in their 
publication. Happily, the fact has been resurrected in time to point 
a page of history. 

A question arising in the Convention as to the colleges, Antoi- 
nette Brown remarked : 

That much and deeply as she loved Oberlin, she must declare that it 
has more credit for liberality to woman than it deserves. Girls are not 
allowed equal privileges and advantages there; they are not allowed 
instructions in elocution, nor to speak on commencement day. The 
only college in the country that places all students on an equal foot- 
ing, without distinction of sex or color, is McGrawville College in Central 
New York. Probably Antioch College, Ohio (President Horace Mann), 
will also admit pupils on the same ground. 

Mrs. ROSE said she knew of no college where both sexes enjoyed equal 
advantages. It matters not, however, if there be. We do not deal with 
exceptions, but with general principles. 

A sister has well remarked that we do not believe that man is the cause 
of all our wrongs. We do not fight men we fight bad principles. We war 
against the laws which have made men bad and tyrannical. Some will say, 
" But these laws are made by men." True, but they were made in igno- 
rance of right and wrong, made in ignorance of the eternal principles of 
justice and truth. They were sanctioned by superstition, and engrafted 
on society by long usage. The Declaration issued by the Seneca Falls 
Convention is an instrument no less great, no less noble than that to 
which it bears a resemblance. 

In closing she alluded to that portion of Mr. Channing's Declaration 
which referred to the code of morals by which a fallen woman is forever 
ruined, while the man who is the cause of, or sharer in her crime, is not 
visited by the slightest punishment. " It is time to consider whether what 
is wrong in one sex can be right in another. It is time to consider why 
if a woman commits a fault, too often from ignorance, from inexperience, 
from poverty, because of degradation and oppression aye! because of 

L. Hose. 145 

designing, cruel man; being made cruel by ignorance of laws and insti- 
tutions, why such a being, in her helplessness, in her ignorance, in h.-r 
inexperience and dependency why a being thus situated, not having her 
mind developed, her faculties called out: and not allowed to mix in 
society to give her experience, not being acquainted with human nature, 
is drawn down, owing often to her best and tenderest feelings; in con- 
sequence also of being accustomed to look up to man as her superior, as 
her guardian, as her master, why such a being should be cast out of the 
pale of humanity, while he M T !IO committed the crime, or who is, if not the 
main, the great secondary cause of it, he who is endowed with superior 
advantages of education and experience, he who has taken advantage of 
that weakness and confiding spirit, which the young always have, I 
ask, if the victim is cast out of the pale of society, shall the despoiler go 
free ?" The question was answered by a thunder of "No! no! no! " from 
all parts of the house. A profound sensation was observable. "And 
yet," said Mrs. Rose, " he does go free!! " 

Ernestine L. Rose, says the Plain Dealer, is the master-spirit of 
the Convention. She is described as a Polish lady of great beauty, 
being known in this country as an earnest advocate of human liberty. 
Though a slight foreign accent is perceptible, her delivery is effect- 
ive. She spoke with great animation. The impression made by 
her address was favorable both to. the speaker and the cause. In 
speaking of the personnel of the platform, it says : 

Mrs. Lydia Ann Jenkins, of New York, who made an effective speech, i.s 
habited in the Bloomer costume, and appears to much advantage on the 
stage. Her face is amiable, and her delivery excellent. She is as fine a 
female orator as we have heard. The address embodied the usual argu- 
ments offered in favor of this cause, and were put in a forcible and con- 
vincing manner. We say convincing, because such a speaker would con- 
vince the most obdurate unbeliever against his will. 

Miss Stone is somewhat celebrated for an extraordinary enthusiasm 
in the cause of her sex, and for certain eccentricities of speech and 
thought, as well as of outward attire. She is as independent in mind as 
in dress. She is as ready to throw off the restraints society seems to 
have placed on woman's mind, as she is to cast aside what she considers 
an absurd fashion in 'dress. Without endorsing the eliminated petticoats, 
we can not but admire Miss Stone's "stern old Saxon pluck/' and her 
total independence of the god, Fashion. Her dress is first a black velvet 
coat with collar, fastened in front with buttons, next a skirt of silk. 
reaching to the knees, then " she wears the breeches" of black silk, with 
neat-fitting gaiters. Her hair is cut short and combed straight hack. 
Her face is not beautiful, but there is mind in it; it is earnest, pleasant, 
prepossessing. Miss Stone must be set down as a lady of no comm<>n 
abilities, and of uncommon energy in the pursuit of a cherished idea. 
She is a marked favorite in the Conventions. 

During the proceedings, Miss Brown, in a long speech on the 

146 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Bible, had expounded many doctrines and passages of Scripture in 
regard to woman's position, in direct opposition to the truths gener- 
ally promulgated by General Assemblies, and the lesser lights of the 
Church. Mrs. Emma R. Ooe took an equally defiant position to- 
ward the Bench and the Bar, coolly assuming that she understood 
the spirit of Constitutions and Statute Laws. Some lawyer had made 
a criticism on the woman's petition then circulating in Ohio, and es- 
sayed to give the Convention some light on the laws of the State, to 
all of which Mrs. Coe says : 

I have very little to say this evening beyond reading a letter, received 
by me to-day. (Here follows the letter). I beg leave to inform the gentle- 
man, if he is present, that I believe I understand these laws, and this 
point particularly, very nearly as well as himself; and that I am well ac- 
quainted with the laws passed since 1840, as with those enacted previous 
to that time. I would also inform him that the committee, some of whom 
are much better read in law than myself, were perfectly aware of the ex- 
istence of the statutes he mentions, but did not see fit to incorporate 
them into the petition, not only on account of their great length, but be- 
cause they do not at all invalidate the position which the petition affects 
to establish, viz: the inequality of the sexes before the law. Their inser- 
tion, therefore, would have been utterly superfluous. This letter refers, 
evidently, to that portion of the petition which treats of the equalization 
of property, which I will now read. (Then follows the reading of one 
paragraph of the petition). Again I refer you to the letter, the first par- 
agraph of which is as follows : 

"Mrs. Emma R. Coe, will you look at Vol. 44, General Laws of Ohio, 
page 75, where you will find that the property of the wife can not be 
taken for the debts of her husband, etc.; and all articles of household 
furniture, and goods which a wife shall have brought with her in mar- 
riage, or which shall have come to her by bequest, gift, etc., after mar- 
riage, or purchased with her separate money or other property, shall be 
exempt from liability for the debts of her husband, during her life, and 
during the life of any heir of her body." 

Very true: we readily admit the law of which the gentleman has given 
an abstract; and so long as the wife holds the property in her hands, just 
as she received it, it can not be taken for the husband's debts, but the 
moment she permits her husband to convert that property into another 
shape, it becomes his, and may be taken for his debts. The gentleman 
I presume will admit this at once. 

The next paragraph of the letter reads thus: " Also in Vol. 51, General 
Laws of Ohio, page 449, the act regulating descent, etc., provides, that real 
estate, which shall have come to the wife by descent, devise, or gift, from 
her ancestor, shall descend first, to her children, or their legal repre- 
sentatives. Second, if there be no children, or their legal representa- 
tives living, the estate shall pass to the brothers and sisters of the intes- 
tate, who maybe of the blood of the ancestor from whom the estate came, 
or their legal representatives," etc. True again: So long as the wife 

Partiality wrong in Print-;, 

holds real estate in her own name, in title, and in title only, it N 
for her husband even then controls its profits, and it she leave i; 
will descend to her heirs so long as she has an heir, and so long as -he 
can trace the descent. But if she suffers her husband to sell that prop- 
erty and receive the money, it instantly becomes his; and instead of de- 
scending to her heirs, it descends to his heirs. This the gentleman will 
not deny. Now, we readily admit, that while the wife abides by the 
statutes, of which our article has given us an abstract, her husband can 
not take the property from her, he can only take the use of it. But the 
moment she departs from the statute, she comes under the provisions of 
the common law ; which, when they do not conflict, is equally binding in 
Ohio, as the statute law. And in this case the common and statute 
laws do not conflict. Departing from the statute, that is, suffering her 
property to be exchanged, the provision is thus : (Here follows the com- 
mon law, taken from the petition). I have nothing further to add on 
this point, but will quote the last paragraphs in the letter. 

"If you would know what our laws are, you must refer to the laws 
passed in Ohio since 1840." 

This has already been answered. 

' ' You said last night, that the property of the wife passed to the hus- 
band, even to his sixteenth cousin! Will you correct your error ? And 
oblige A BUCKEYE." 

I should be extremely happy to oblige the gentleman, but having 
committed no error there is nothing to correct; and I do not, therefore, 
see that I can in conscience comply with his request. I am, however, 
exceedingly thankful for any expression of interest from that quarter. 
There are other laws which might be mentioned, which really give woman 
an apparent advantage over man; yet, having no relevancy to the sub- 
ject in the petition, we did not see fit to introduce them. One of these 
is, that no woman shall be subject to arrest and imprisonment for debt; 
while no man, that is, no ordinary man, none unless he has a halo of 
military glory around his brow, is held sacred from civil process of this 
kind. But this exemption is of very little benefit to woman, since, if the 
laws were as severe to her as to man, she would seldom risk the penalty. 
For this there are two very good reasons. One is, that conscious of her 
inability to discharge obligations of this kind, she has little disposition 
to run deeply into debt; and the other is, that she has not the credit to 
do it if she wished! If, however, she does involve herself in this way, 
the law exempts her from imprisonment. This, perhaps, is offered as a 
:sort of palliation for the disabilities which she suffers in other respects. 
The only object of the petition is, I believe, that the husband and wito 
be placed upon a legal and political equality. If the law gives woman 
;an advantage over man, we deprecate it as much as he can. Partiality 
lo either, to the injury of the other, is wrong in principle, and we must 
therefore oppose it. We do not wish to be placed in the position which 
the husband now occupies. We do not wish that control over his inter- 
ests, which he may now exercise over the interests of the wife. We 
~would no sooner intrust this power to woman than to man. We would 
never place her in authority over her husband. 

148 History of Woman Suffrage. 

The question of woman's voting, of the propriety of woman's appear- 
ing at the polls, is already settled. See what has been done in Detroit: 
On the day of the late election, the women went to the offices and stores 
of gentlemen, asking them if they had voted. If the reply happened to 
be in the negative, as was often the case, the next question was, "Will 
you be kind enough to take this vote, sir, and deposit it in the ballot- 
box for me ?" Which was seldom, if ever, refused. And so, many a man 
voted for the "Maine Law," who would not, otherwise, have voted at all. 
But this was not all ; many women kept themselves in the vicinity of the 
polls, and when they found a man undecided, they ceased not their en- 
treaties until they had gained him to the Temperance cause. More than 
this, two women finding an intemperate man in the street, talked to him 
four hours, before they could get him to promise to vote as they wished. 
Upon his doing so, they escorted him, one on each side, to the ballot- 
box, saw him deposit the vote they had given him, and then treated him 
to a good supper. 

Now, this is more than any Woman's Rights advocate ever thought of 
proposing. Yet no one thinks of saying a word against it, because it 
was done for temperance. But how much worse would it have been for 
those women to have gone to the polls with a brother or husband, in- 
stead of with this man ? Or to have deposited two votes in perhaps five 
minutes' time, than to have spent four hours in soliciting some other 
person to give one ? Why is it worse to go to the ballot-box with our 
male friends, than to the church, parties, or picnics, etc.? If a man 
should control the political principles of his wife, he should also control 
her religious principles. 

CHARLES C. BURLEIGH: Among the resolutions which have been acted 
upon and adopted by this meeting is one which affirms that for man to 
attempt to fix the sphere of woman, is cool assumption. I purpose to 
take that sentiment for the text of a few words of remark this evening, 
for it is just there that I think the whole controversy 'hinges. It is not 
so much what is woman's appropriate sphere; it is not so much what 
she may do and what she may not do, that we have to contend about ; 
as whether one human being or one class of human beings is to fix for 
another human being, or another class of human beings, the proper field 
of action and the proper mode of employing the faculties which God has 
given them. If I understand aright the principles of liberty, just here is 
the point of controversy, between the despot and the champion of human 
rights, in any department. Just when one human being assumes to 
decide for another what is that other's sphere of action, just then des- 
potism begins. Everything else is but the legitimate consequence of this. 

I have said it is not so much a matter of controversy what woman may 
do or may not do. Why, it would be a hard matter to say what has been 
recognized by men themselves, as the legitimate sphere of woman. We 
have a great deal of contradiction and opposition nowadays when woman 
attempts to do this, that, or the other thing, although that very thing 
has sometime or other, and somewhere or other, been performed or at- 
tempted to be performed by woman, with man's approval. If you talk 
about politics, why, woman's participation in politics is no new thing, is 

W< lot Safe in Freedom. 149 

no mere assumption on her part, bat has been recognized as right and 
proper by men. 

You have already been told of distinguished women who have born.- a 
very prominent part in politics, both in ancient and modern tim-s. and 
yet the multitude of men have believed and acknowledged that it \va> 
all right; and are now acknowledging it with all the enthusiasm ofdi'v>if<l 
loyalty. They are now acknowledging it in the case of an Empiiv <m 
which it has been said that the sun never sets an Empire, " The morn- 
ing drumbeat of whose military stations circles the earth with one con- 
tinued peal of the martial airs of England." It is recognized, too, not 
by the ignorant and thoughtless only, or the radical and heretical alone, 
but also by multitudes of educated and pious men. That bench of 
Bishops, sitting in the House of Lords, receiving its very warrant to act 
politically, from the hands of a woman, listening to a speech from, a 
woman on the throne, endorses every day the doctrine that a woman 
may engage in politics. 

If you seize the young tree, when it just begins to put forth to the air 
and sunshine and dews, and bend it in all directions for fear it will not 
grow in proper shape, do not hold the tree accountable for its distortion. 
There is no danger that from acorns planted last year, pine trees will 
grow, if you do not take some special care to prevent it. There is no 
danger that from an apple will grow an oak, or, from a peach-stone an 
elm ; leave nature to work out her own results, or, in other words, leave 
God to work out His own purpose, and be not so anxious to intrude 
yourselves upon Him and to help Him govern the Universe He has 
made. Some of us have too high an estimation of His goodness and 
wisdom to be desirous of thrusting ourselves into His government. We 
are willing to leave the nature of woman to manifest itself in its own apti- 
tudes. Try it. Did one ever trust in God and meet with disappoint- 
ment? Never! Tyrants always say it is not safe to trust their subjects 
with freedom. Austria says it is not safe to trust the Hungarian with 
freedom. Man says woman is not safe in freedom, she will get beyond 
her sphere. 

After having oppressed her for centuries, what wonder if she should re- 
bound, and at the first spring, even manifest that law of reaction some- 
what to your inconvenience, and somewhat even beyond the dictates of 
the wisest judgment. What then? Is the fault to be charged to the re- 
moval of the restraint; or is it to be charged to the first imposition of the 
restraint? The objection of our opponents remind one of the Irishman 
walking among the bushes just behind his companion, who caught hold 
of a branch, and passing on, let it fly back into the face of his friend: 
"Indade I am thankful to ye! " said the injured man, " for taking hold of 
that same; it a'most knocked the brains out of me body as it was, an' SUP-. 
if ye hadn't caught hold of it, it would have kilt me intirely! " 

The winds come lashing over your lake, the waters piling upon each 
other, wave rolling upon wave, and you may say what a pity we could 
not bridge the lake over with ice, so as to keep down these billows which 
may rise so high as to submerge us. But stand still! God has fixed the 
law upon the waters, "thus far slialt thou come "; and as you watch the 

150 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ever piling floods, it secures their timely downfall. When they come as 
far as their appointed limits, the combing crest of the wave tells that the 
hour of safety has arrived, proving that God was wiser than you in writ- 
ing down laws for His creation. We need not bridge over woman's 
nature with the ice of conventionalism, for fear she will swell up, aye, and 
overflow the continent of manhood. There is no danger. Trust to the 
nature God has given to humanity, and do not except the nature He has 
given to this portion of humanity. 

But I need not dwell upon such an argument before an audience who 
have witnessed the bearing of women in this Convention. It is a cool, 
aye, insolent assumption for man to prescribe the sphere of woman. 
AVhat is the sphere of woman? Clearly, you say, her powers, her natural 
instincts and desires determine her sphere. Who, then, best knows those 
instincts and desires? Is it he who has all his knowledge at second-hand, 
rather than she who has it in all her consciousness? 

If, then, you find in the progress of the race hitherto, that woman has 
revealed herself pure, true, and beautiful, and lofty in spirit, just in pro- 
portion as she has enjoyed the right to reveal herself; if this is the testi- 
mony of all past experience, I ask you where you will find the beginning 
of an argument against the claim of woman to the right to enlarge her 
sphere yet more widely, than she has hitherto done. Wait until you see 
some of these apprehended evils, aye, a little later even, than that, until 
you see the natural subsidence of the reaction from the first out-bound 
of their oppression, before you tell us it is not safe or wise to permit 
woman the enlargement of her own sphere. 

The argument which I have thus based upon the very nature of man, 
and of humanity and God, is confirmed in every particular is most im- 
pregnably fortified on every point, by the facts of all past experience and 
all present observation; and out of all this evidence of woman's right 
and fitness to determine her own sphere, I draw a high prophecy of the 
future. I look upon this longing of hers for a yet higher and broader 
field, as an evidence that God designed her to enter upon it. 

"Want, is the garner of our bounteous Sire ; 
Hunger, the premise of its own supply." 

I might even add the rest of the passage as an address to woman her- 
self, who still hesitates to assert the rights which she feels to be hers and 
longs to enjoy; I might repeat to her in the words of the same poet: 

"We weep, because the good we seek is not, 
When but for this it is not, that we weep ; 
We creep in dust to wail our lowly lot, 
Which were not lowty, if we scorned to creep ; 
That which we dare we shall be, when the will 
Bows to prevailing Hope, its would-be to fulfill." 

It can be done. This demand of woman can be nobly and successfully 
asserted. It can be, because it is but the out-speaking of the divine sen- 
timent of woman. Let us not then tremble, or falter, or despair 
I know we shall not. I know that those who have taken hold of this 
great work, and carried it forward hitherto, against obloquy, and perse- 

the Truth. 

oution, and contempt, will not falter now. No! Every step is bearing 
11 s to ; higher eminence, and thus revealing a broader promise of hope, a 
briirhte: prospect of success. Though they who are foremost in this eanae 
must bear obloquy and reproach, and though it may seem to the care- 
ooker-on, that they advance but little or not at all; they know that 
the instinct which impels them being divine, it can not be that th.-y >hnll 
fail. They know that every quality of their nature, every attribute of 
their Creator, is pledged to their success. 

" They never fail who gravely plead for right, 
God's faithful martyrs can not suffer loss. 
Their blazing; faggots sow the world with light, 

Heaven's gate swings open on their bloody cross." 

Pres. MAHAX: If I would not be interrupting at all, there are a few 
thoughts having weight upon my mind which I should be very happy to 
express. I have nothing to say to excite controversy at all, but ther 
things which are said, the ultimate bearing of which I believe is not al- 
ways understood. I have heard during these discussions, things said 
which bear this aspect that the relation of ruler and subject is that ^i 
master and slave. The idea of the equality of woman with man, seems 
to be argued upon this idea. I am not now to speak whether it is lawful 
for man to rule the woman at all ; but I wish to make a remark upon 
the principles of governor and governed. The idea seems to be suggested 
that if the wife is subject to the husband, the wife is a slave to the 
man if He has said, in the sense in which some would have it, rv< -\\ 
that the woman should be subject to the man, and the wife to the hus- 
band, you will find that in no other position will woman attain her dig- 
nity; for God has never dropped an inadvertent thought, never penne-1 
an inadvertent line. There is not a law or principle of His being, that 
whoever penned that Book did not understand. There is not a right 
which that Book does not recognize; and there is not a duty which man 
owes to woman, or woman to man, that is not there enjoined. It is my 
firm conviction, that there is but one thing to be done on this subject 
if the women of this State want the elective franchise, they can have it. 
I don't believe it is in the heart of man to refuse it. Only spread the 
truth, adhere to Woman's Rights, and adhere to that one principle, and 
when the people are convinced that her claim is just, it will be allowed. 

Of Charles C. Burleigh the Plain Dealer saye : 

This noble poet had not said much in the Convention. He had tak.-n 
no part in the interferences and interruptions of other gentlemen, Mr. 
Barker and Mr. Nevin for instance. 

When at length he took the stand he did indeed speak out a nnble '!<- 
fense of woman's rights. It was the only speech made before tin- Con- 
vention by man in which the cause of woman was advocated exdu>iv-ly. 
When Mr. Burleigh arose, two or three geese hissed ; when he clo> 
shower of applause greeted him. 

We hope the reader will not weary of these debates. As the 
efforts of many of our early speakers were extemporaneous, lut 

152 History of Woman Suffrage. 

little of what they said will be preserved beyond this generation 
unless recorded now. These debates show the wit, logic, and -readi- 
ness of our women ; the clear moral perception, the courage, and 
honesty of our noble Garrison ; the skill and fiery zeal of Stephen 
Foster ; the majesty and beauty of Charles Burleigh ; and, in Asa 
Mihan, the vain struggles of the wily priest, to veil with sophistry 
the degrading slavery of woman, in order to reconcile her position 
as set forth in certain man-made texts of Scripture with eternal 
justice and natural law. Mr. Mahan would not have been willing 
himself, to accept even the mild form of subjection he so cunningly 
assigns to woman. The deadliest opponents to the recognition of 
the equal rights of woman, have ever been among: the orthodox 
clergy as a class. 


Just previous to this, two stormy Conventions had been held in 
the city of New York ; one called to discuss Woman's Rights, the 
other a World's Temperance Convention. Thus many of the lead- 
ers of each movement met for the first time to measure their pow- 
ers of logic and persuasion. 

Antoinette L. Brown was appointed a delegate by two Temper- 
ance associations. Her credentials were accepted, and she took her 
seat as a member of the Convention ; but when she arose to speak 
a tempest of indignation poured upon her from every side. As this 
page in history was frequently referred to in the Cleveland Conven- 
tion, we will let Miss Brown here tell her own story : 

Why did we go to that World's Convention ? We went there because 
the call was extended to " the world." On the 12th of May a preliminary 
meeting had been held at New York the far-famed meeting at the Brick 
Chapel. There, because of the objection taken by some who were not 
willing to have the " rest of mankind " come into the Convention, a part 
of those present withdrew. They thought they would have a " Whole 
World's Temperance Convention," and they thought well, as the result 
proved. When it was known that such a Convention would be called, 
that all persons would be invited to consider themselves members of the 
Convention, who considered themselves members of the world, some of 
the leaders of the other Convention the half world's Convention felt that 
if it were possible, they would not have such a meeting held ; therefore 
they took measures to prevent it. Now, let me read a statement from 
another delegate to that Convention, Rev. Wm. H. Channing, of Roches- 
ter. (Miss Brown read an extract from the Tribune, giving the facts in 
regard to her appointment as delegate, by a society of long standing, in 
Rochester, and extracts, also, of letters from persons prominent in the 
Brick Chapel meeting, urging Mr. Greeley to persuade his party to aban- 

Go by all Means. 153 

don the idea of a separate Convention, a part of such writers pleading 
that it was an unnecessary movement, as the call to the World's 'IVm- 
perance Convention was broad enough, and intended to include all). This 
appointment was made without my knowledge or consent, but with my 
hearty endorsement, when I knew it was done. Let me state also, that 
a society organized and for years in existence in South Butler. N. Y., also 
appointed delegates to that Convention, and myself among the number. 
They did so because, though they knew the call invited all the world to 
be present, yet they thought it best to have their delegations prepared 
with credentials, if being prepared would do any good. 

"When we reached New York, we heard some persons saying that wom- 
en would be received as delegates, and others saying they would not. 
\Ve thought we ought to test that matter, and do it, too, as delicately 
and quietly as possible. There were quite a number of ladies appointed 
delegates to that meeting, but it was felt that not many would be neces- 
sary to make the test of their sincerity. 

We met at the Woman's Rights Convention on the day of the opening 
of the half world's Temperance Convention, and had all decided to be 
content with our own Temperance Convention, which had passed off so 
quietly and triumphantly. Wendell Phillips and I sat reconsidering the 
whole matter. I referred him to the fact, which had come to me more 
than once during the few last days, that the officials of the Convention 
in session at Metropolitan Hall, and others, had been saying that women 
would be received no doubt; that the Brick Chapel meeting was merely 
an informal preliminary meeting, and its decisions of no authority upon 
the Convention proper; and that the women were unjust in saying, that 
their brethren would not accept their co-operation before it had been 
fairly tested. Then, said Phillips, "Go, by all means; if they receive 
you, you have only to thank them for rebuking the action of the Brick 
Chapel meeting. Then we will withdraw and come back to our own 
meeting. If, on the other hand, they do not receive you, we will quietly 
and without protest, withdraw, and, in that case, not be gone half an 
hour." I turned and invited one lady, now on this platform, as gentle 
and lady-like as woman can be, Caroline M. Severance, of your own 
city, to go with me. She said: " I am quite willing to go, both in com- 
pliance with your wish, and from interest in the it>elt'. Hut I 
am not a delegate, and I have in this city venerated grandpaivm ;, 
whose feelings I greatly regard, and would not willingly or unnecessarily 
wound; so that I prefer to go in quietly, but take no active part in what 
will seem to them an antagonistic position for woman, and unralle.l for 
on my part. In that way I am quite ready to go." And so we went out 
from our own meeting, Mr. Phillips, Mrs. S., and myself; none others 
went with us, nor knew we were going. 

After arriving at Metropolitan Hall, accompanied by these I 
did quietly what we had predetermined was the best to do. The 8 
tary was sitting upon the platform. I handed him my credentials in .in 
both societies. He said: "lean not now tell whether you will b 
ceived or not. There is a resolution before the house, stating, in >ub- 
stance, that they would receive all delegates without distinction of color 

154 History of Woman Suffrage. 

or sex. If this resolution is adopted, you can be received." I then left 
my credentials in his hands, and went down from the platform. It was 
rather trying, in the sight of all that audience, to go upon the platform 
and come down again; and I shall not soon forget the sensations with 
which I stepped off the platform. After a little time they decided that 
the call admitted all delegates. I thought this decision settled my ad- 
mission, and I went again upon the platform. In the meantime a perma- 
nent organization was effected. I went there, for the purpose of thank- 
ing them for their course, and merely to express my sympathy with the 
cause and their present movement, and then intended to leave the Hall. 
I arose, and inquired of the President, Neal Dow, if I was rightly a mem- 
ber of the Convention. He said, "Yes, if you have credentials from any 
abstinence societies." I told him I had, and then attempted to thank 
him. There was no appeal from the President's decision, but yet they 
would not receive my expression of thanks; therefore I took my seat and 
waited for a better opportunity. 

And now let me read a paragraph again from this paper, the temper- 
ance organ of your State. The writer is still Gen. Carey. (The extract in- 
timated that Miss Brown, supported and urged on by several others, 
made an unwomanly entrance into the Convention, and upon the plat- 
form itself, which was reserved for officers, and as it would imply, already 
filled). There were only the two other persons I mentioned who went 
with me to that Convention, but they took their seats back among the 
audience, and did not approach the platform. There were friends I 
found in that audience to sustain me, but none others came with me for 
that purpose. The platform was far from being full ; it is a large plat- 
form, and there might a hundred persons sit there, and not incommode 
each other at all. 

(Here Miss Brown read another extract from the same article, in which 
Gen. Carey implies, that concerted measures had been set on foot at tho 
Woman's Rights meeting at the Tabernacle, the evening after 
Brown's first attempt at a hearing before the Temperance Convention, 
for coming in upon them again en masse, and revengefully). 

Not a word was said that night upon the subject, in the Convention at 
the Tabernacle, except what was said by myself; and I said what I did, 
because some one inquired whether I was hissed on going upon the plat- 
form. As to that matter, when I went upon the platform I was not hiss- 
ed, at others times I did not know whether they hissed me or others, and 

" Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." 

I stated some of the facts to our own Convention, but I did not refer to 
this resolution (the one which was to exclude all but officers or invited 
guests from the platform), for I was not entirely clear with regard to the 
nature of it, it was passed in so much confusion. I did state this, that 
there had been a discussion raised upon such a resolution, and that it 
was decided that only officers and invited guests should sit upon the 
platform ; but that they had received me as a delegate, and had thus re- 
voked the action of the Brick Chapel meeting, and that on the morrow 
Neal Dow might invite me to sit upon the platform. That was the sub- 

Variom Mi&statements. 155 

stance of my remarks, and not one word of objection was taken, or n-ply 
made by our Convention. 

I read again from this paper. (An extract implying that among th- 
measures taken to browbeat the Convention into receiving Miss Hi-own, 
was the forming of a society instantly, under the special urgency of her- 
self and friends, for this especial object, etc.) That again is a statement 
without foundation. I intend to-night to use no harsh words, and I 
shall say nothing with regard to motives. You may draw your own 
conclusions in regard to all this. I shall state dispassionately, the sim- 
ple, literal facts as they occurred, and they may speak for themselv 

When Wendell Phillips went out of the Convention, he told persons 
with whom he came in contact, that a delegate had been received by the 
President, and that delegate had been insulted, and nobody had risen to 
sustain her. He said to me, too, "I shall not go to-morrow, but do you 
go. I can do nothing for you, because I am not a delegate." There were 
a few earnest friends in New York, however, who felt that the rights of a 
delegate were sacred. They organized a society and appointed just three 
delegates to that Temperance Convention. Those three persons were 
Wendell Phillips, of Boston; Mr. Cleveland, one of the editors of the 
Tribune; and Mr. Gibbon, son-in-law of the late venerated Isaac T. Hop- 
per. The last two were men from New York City. The question was al- 
ready decided that women might be received as delegates to that Con- 
vention ; therefore there was no need of appointing any one to insist upon 
woman's right to appear, and no one was appointed for that purpose. 

The next morning we went there with Mr. Phillips, who presented his 
credentials. During the discussion, Mr. Phillips took part, and persisted 
in holding the Convention to parliamentary rules. He carried in his 
hand a book of rules, which is received everywhere as authority, and 
when he saw that they were wrong, he quoted the standard authority to 
them. After a while the preliminary business was disposed of. and va- 
rious resolutions were brought forward. I arose, and the President 
I had the floor. I was invited upon the stand, and was therefore an 
'invited guest" within their own rules; but when once there, I was not 
allowed to speak, although the President said repeatedly that the floor 
was mine. The opposition arose from a dozen or more around the plat- 
form, who were incessantly raising u points of order "the extempore 
bantlings of great minds in great emergencies. For the space of thn-e 
hours I endeavored to be heard, but they would not hear me (although 
as a delegate, and I spoke simply as a delegate), I could have spoken but 
ten minutes by a law of the house. Twice the President was sustained 
in his decision by the house ; but finally some one insisted that there migh* 
be persons voting in the house who were not delegates, and it was de- 
cided that the Hall should be cleared by the police, and that those who 
were delegates might come in, one by one, and resume their seats. 

There were printed lists of the delegates of the Convention, but there 
were several new delegates whose names were not on the lists. \\Vndi-ll 
Phillips and his colleagues were among them. He went to the Pre.-i<l<-nt 
and said: "I rely upon you to be admitted to the Hall, for we kn<>\\ that 
our names are not yet on the list." The President assented. As the 

156 History of Woman Suffrage. 

delegates returned, the names upon the printed lists were called, and 
while the rest of us were earnest to be admitted to the house, and while 
they were examining our credentials and deciding whether or not we 
should be received, Neal Dow had gone out of the Hall, and Gen. Carey 
had taken the Chair ! The action of a part of the delegates who were in 
the house while the other part were shut out, was like to nothing that 
ever had occurred in the annals of parliamentary history. Those per- 
sons who came in afterward, asked what was the business before the 
house, and on being informed, moved that it be reconsidered. The Pres- 
ident decided upon putting it to the house, that they had not voted in 
the affirmative, and would not reconsider. Gen. Samuel F. Carey is a 
man of firmness, and I could not but admire the firmness with which he 
presided, although I felt that his decisions were wrong. "Gentlemen,' 1 
said he, " there can be no order when you are raising so many points of 
order; take your seats! " and they took their seats. 

Previous to the adjournment, a question was raised about Wendell 
Phillips' credentials, and again next morning they raised it and decided 
it against him, so that he felt all further effort vain, and left the Hall. 
After this, there came up a multitude of resolutions, which were passed 
so rapidly that no one could get the opportunity of speaking to them. A 
resolution also written by Gen. Carey, was presented by him, as follows: 

"Resolved, That the common usages have excluded women from the 
public platform," etc. 

That resolution, amid great confusion, was declared as passed. Of 
course, then soon after, I left the Hall. I ought to say, in regard to Mr. 
Phillips' credentials, that they had been referred to a committee, who 
decided that he had not .properly been sent to the Convention, for no 
reason in the world, but because the society who sent him, had been 
organized only the night before; while I know positively, and others 
knew, that there were societies organized one week before, for the very 
purpose of sending delegates to that Convention; which societies will 
never be heard of again, I fear. But the Neal Dow Association, of New 
York, exists yet. Their society shall not die ; so good conies out of evil 

A motion was also made by some one, as better justice to Mr. Phillips, 
to refer the credentials of all the delegates of Massachusetts to the Com- 
mittee on Credentials, but for very obvious and prudent reasons, it was 
not suffered to have a moment's hearing or consideration. (Miss Brown 
here read a few additional lines from the same article, asserting that she 
was merely the tool of others, and thrust by them upon the platform; 
and charging all the disorder and disturbance of that Convention to her- 
self and friends, etc.) I needed no thrusting upon the platform. I was 
able to rise and speak without urging or suggestion. And as to the 
disorder which prevailed throughout the Convention, who made that 
disorder ? I said not a word to cause it, for they gave me no opportunity 
to say a word, and the other delegates with me, sat quietly. No men- 
tion is made in this paper that I had credentials. It is stated that 
throughout Ohio the impression is that I had none; and it is generally 
believed that I went there without proper credentials. 

He Fol>l<:<l. >f/> 7//.v II<in<1s. 157 

One word more as to Mr. Carey. He says, "The negro question was n< t 
discussed as Greeley & Co. wished it to be. O Greeley, how art tliou 
fallen! '' These are Gen. Carey's words, not mine. Mr. Greeley has ri>,-i 
trivatly in my estimation, and not fallen. A colored delegate* did tak- his 
credentials to the Convention, but he was not received. I saw him my- 
self, and asked him what could be done about it. He folded up his 
hands and said it was too late. And this was a " World's Temperance 
Convention ! " 

And this paper says that the New York Tribune, which has usually been 
an accredited sheet, has most shamefully misrepresented the whole affair, 
and refers to what was said in the Tribune, as to what the Convention 
had accomplished: "The first day, crowding a woman from the plat- 
form; second day, gaerging her; and the third day voting she should 
stay gagged; " and asserts that it is a misrepresentation. 

The evenings of that Convention were not devoted to this discussion, 
and were not noisy or fruitless. There were burning words spoken for 
temperance during the evenings; but whether the Tribune's report of the 
day-sessions be correct or not, you yourselves can be the judges. I 
must say, however, the Tribune did not misrepresent that affair in its 
regular report; and I call upon Gen. Carey, in all kindness and courtesy, 
to point out just what the misstatements are and upon any one ac- 
quainted with the facts, to show the false statement, if it can be shown. 

And now I leave the action of the Convention to say what were our 
motives in going there. From what I have related of the circumstances 
which conspired to induce us to go, and the manner of our going, you 
can but see that no absurd desire for notoriety, no coveting of such un- 
enviable fame as we know must await us, were the inducements. And 
as a simple fact, there was nothing so very important in a feeble woman's 
going as a delegate to that Convention; but the fact was made an un- 
pleasant one in the experience of that delegate, and was blown into 
notoriety by the unmanly action of that Convention itself. But what 
were our reasons for going to that Convention ? Did we go there to 
forward the cause of Temperance or to forward the cause of woman, 
or what were our motives in going ? Woman was pleading her own 
cause in the Convention at the Tabernacle, and she had no need 
that any should go there to forward her cause for her; and much 
as I love temperance, and love those poor sisters who suffer because 
of intemperance, it was not especially to plead their cause that I went 
there. I went to assert a principle, a principle relevant to the cir- 
cumstances of the World's Convention to be sure, but one, at the same 
time, which, acknowledged, must forward all good causes, and, disn-- 
garded, must retard them. I went there, asking no favor as a woman, 
asking no special recognition of the woman-cause. I went there in be* 
half of the cause of humanity. I went there, asking the indorsement of 
no ism, and as the exponent of no measure, but as a simple item of the 
world in the name of the world, claiming that all the sons and daughter* 
of the race should be received in that Convention, if they went there 

* James McCune Smith. 

158 History of Woman Suffrage. 

with the proper credentials. 'I simply planted my feet upon the rights of a 
delegate. I asked for nothing more, and dare take nothing less. The princi- 
ple which we were theie to assert, was that which is the soul of the Golden 
Rule, the soul of that which says, "All things whatsoever ye would that men 
should do unto you, do ye even so unto them." I went there to see if they 
would be true to their own call, and recognize delegates without distinction of 
color, sex, creed, party, or condition ; to see if they would recognize each mem- 
ber of the human family, as belonging to the human family ; to see if they 
would grant the simple rights of a delegate to all delegates. 

And do you ask, did this not retard the cause of Temperance? No; it car- 
ried it forward, as it carries every good cause forward. It awakened thought, 
and mankind need only to be aroused to thought, to forever destroy all wrong 
customs, and among them the rum traffic. They need only to think to the 
purpose, and when this shall be done, all good causes are bound to go forward 
together. Christianity is the heart and soul of them all, and those reforms 
which seek to elevate mankind and better their condition, cling around our 
Christianity, and are a part of it. They are like the cluster of grapes, all cling- 
ing about the central stem. 

A wrong was done in that Convention to a delegate, and many people saw 
and felt that wrong, and they began to inquire for the cause of it ; and so the 
causes of things were searched more nearly than before, and this was a good 
which promoted temperance. It is absurd to believe that any man or woman 
is any less a temperance man or woman, or a " Maine law " man or woman now, 
than before. If ever they loved that cause they love it now as before. 

Water is the very symbol of democracy ! a single jet of it in a tube will bal- 
ance the whole ocean. We went there, only to claim in the name of Democ- 
racy and Christianity, that all be treated alike and impartially. The human 
soul is a holy thing; it is the temple of living joy or sorrow. It is freighted 
with vital realities. It can outlengthen Heaven itself, and it should be rever- 
enced everywhere, and treated always as a holy thing. We only went there in 
the name of the world, in the name of humanity, to promote a good cause; 
and it is what I pledge myself now anew to do, at all times and under all cir- 
cumstances, when the opportunity shall present itself to me. It was a good 
act, a Christian duty, to go there under those circumstances. 

But let me now leave this matter, and say something which may have a direct 
bearing upon the circumstances of our Convention, and show why it is proper 
to bring up these facts here. Let us suppose ourselves gathered in Metropoli- 
tan Hall. It is a large hall, with two galleries around its sides. I could see 
men up there in checked blouses, who looked as though they might disturb 
a Convention, but they looked down upon the rowdyism of the platform, a 
thing unprecedented before, with simple expressions of wonder, while they 
were quiet. Well, here we are upon the platform. The President is speaking. 

PRESIDENT: l ' Miss Brown has the floor." 

A DELEGATE : " Mr. President, I rise to a point of order." 

PRESIDENT : k ' State your point of order." 

It is stated, but at the same time, in the general whirl and confusion all 
around, another voice from the floor exclaims : " I rise to a point of order ! " 

The PRESIDENT : " State it ! " 

But while these things are going on, a voice arises, " She sha'n't speak ! " 

TJ7/// not Withdraw? 

another, " She sha'n't be heard ! " another. lk You raise a point of order when 
he is done, and I will raise another." In the confusion I hear something 
al'nost like swearing, but not swearing, for most of those men are * holy men. 1 ' 
who do not think of swearing. The confusion continues. Most of this time I 
am standing, but presently a chair is presented me, and now a new ch 
comforters gathers around me, speaking smooth, consoling words in my ear 
while upon the other side are angry disputants, clinching their fists and grow- 
ing red in the face. Are the former good Samaritans, pouring into my wounded 
heart the oil and the wine? Listen. "I know you are acting conscientioush : 
but now that you have made your protest, do, for your own sake, withdraw from 
this disgraceful scene." 

'I can not withdraw," I say; "it is not now the time to withdraw; here is 
a principle at stake." 

k - Well, in what way can you better the cause ? Do you feel you are doing 
any good ? " Another voice chimes in with : " Do you love the Temperance 
cause ? Can you continue here and see all this confusion prevailing around 
you? Why not withdraw, and then the Convention will be quiet;" and all 
this in most mournful, dolorous tones. I think if the man cries, I shall cer- 
tainly cry too. 

But then a new interval of quiet occurs, and so I rise to get the floor. I 
fancy myself in a melting mood enough to beg them, with prayers and tears, 
to be just and righteous; but no, " this kind goeth not out by prayer and fast- 
ing," and so I stand up again. Directly Rev. John Chambers points his 
finger at me, and calls aloud : " Shame on the woman ! Shame on the woman ! " 
Then I feel cool and calm enough again, and sit down until his anger has way. 
Again the ''friends" gather around me, and there come more appeals to me, 
while the public ear is filled with " points of order"; and the two fall together, 
in a somewhat odd, but very pointed contrast, somewhere in the center of my 
brain. "Do you think," says one, ''that Christ would have done so?" spoken 
with a somewhat negative emphasis. li I think He would," spoken with a posi- 
tive emphasis. " Do you love peace as well as Christ loved it, and can you 
do thus?" 

What answer I made I know not, but there came rushing over my soul the 
words of Christ : " I came not to send peace, but a sword." It seems almost to 
be spoken with an audible voice, and it sways the spirit more than all things 
else. I remember that Christ's doctrine was, "first pure, then peaceable ;" that 
He, too, was persecuted. So are my doctrines good ; they ask only for the 
simple rights of a delegate, only that which must be recognized as just, by the 
impartial Father of the human race, and by His holy Son. Then come these 
mock pleading tones again upon my ear, and instinctively I think of the Judas 
and I arise, turning away from them all, and feeling a power which may. 
perhaps, never come to me again. There were angry men confronting mi 1 , and 
I caught the flashing of defiant eyes; but above me, and within inc. and all 
around me, there was a spirit stronger than they all. At that moment not the 
combined powers of earth and hell could have tempted me to do otherwise 
than to stand firm. Moral and physical cowardice were subdued, thanks to 
that Washington delegate for the sublime strength roused by his question : 
* Would Christ have done so ? " 

That stormy scene is passed ; that memorable time when chivalrous men 

160 History of Woman Suffrage. 

forgot the deference, which according to their creed is due to woman, and 
forgot it as they publicly said, because a woman claimed a right upon the 
platform ; and so they neither recognized her equality of rights, nor her con- 
ceded courtesy as a lady. This -was neither* just nor gallant, but to me it was 
vastly preferable to those appeals made to me as a lady appeals which never 
would have been made to a man under the same circumstances ; and which 
only served to show me the estimation in which they held womanhood. Tt 
reminded me of a remark which was made concerning the Brick Chapel meet- 
ing : "If you had spoken words of flattery, they would have done what you 

Let the past be the past. " Let the dead bury their dead," contains truths 
we well may heed. Is God the impartial Father of humanity? Is He no 
respecter of persons ? Is it true that there is known neither male nor female in 
Christ Jesus ? In my heart of hearts, I believe it is all true. I believe it is the 
foundation of the Golden Rule. And now let me tell you in conclusion : if it 
be true, this truth shall steal into your souls like the accents of childhood ; it 
shall come like a bright vision of hope to the desponding ; it shall flash upon 
the incredulous ; it shall twine like a chain of golden arguments about the 
reason of the skeptic. 

WM. LLOYD GARRISON, having listened to the narration of the action of the 
World's Convention in New York, said : I rise to offer some resolutions by 
which the sense of this Convention may be obtained. I happened to be an eye- 
witness of these proceedings, and I bear witness to the accuracy of the account 
given us this evening by Miss Brown. I have seen many tumultuous meetings 
in my day, but I think on no occasion have I ever seen anything more disgrace- 
ful to our common humanity, than when Miss Brown attempted to speak upon 
the platform of the World's Temperance Convention in aid of the glorious cause 
which had brought that Convention together. It was an outbreak of passion, 
contempt, indignation, and every vile emotion of the soul, throwing into the 
shade almost everything coming from the vilest of the vile, that I have ever 
witnessed on any occasion or under any circumstances ; venerable men, claim- 
ing to be holy men, the ambassadors of Jesus Christ, losing all self-respect and 
transforming themselves into the most unmannerly and violent spirits, merely 
on account of the sex of the individual who wished to address the assembly. 

Miss Brown was asked while standing on the platform, "Do you love the 
temperance cause ?" What could have been more insulting than such a ques- 
tion as that at that moment ? What but the temperance cause had brought her 
to the Convention ? Why had she been delegated to take her seat in that body 
except on the ground that she was a devoted friend of the temperance enterprise, 
and had an interest in every movement pertaining to the total abstinence cause ? 
She had been delegated there by total abstinence societies because of her fitness 
as a temperance woman to advocate the temperance cause, so dear to the hearts 
of all those who love perishing humanity. Was it the love of the temperance 
cause that raised the outcry against her ? or was it not simply contempt of 
woman, and an unwillingness that she should stand up anywhere to bear her 
testimony against popular wrongs and crimes, the curses of the race? 

Miss BROWN: Allow me to state one incident. A Doctor of Divinity was 
present at the meeting. His son and daughter-in-law stated to me the fact. 
<l I said to my father, you had stormy times at the Convention to-day." " Yes," 

The Resolution. 

said tin- lather, "stormy times." Said the son, "Why didn't you allow !. 
speak ? " - 4 Ah," said the Doctor, u it was the principle of the tiling ! " But it 
so happened that the son and daughter thought the principle a wrong one. 

Mr. (iAKuisoN : Yes, it was the principle that was at stake. It was not sim- 
ply the making of a speech at that Convention, by a woman. By her speaking 
something more was implied, for if woman could speak there and for that ob- 
-he might speak elsewhere for another object, and she might, peradvent- 
ure, as my friend does, proceed to occupy a pulpit and settle over a congrega- 
tion. In fact, there is no knowing where the precedent would lead ; reminding 
me of the man who hesitated to leave off his profanity, because having left that 
off he should have to leave off drinking, and if he left off drinking he should 
have to leave off his tobacco and other vile habits. He liked symmetry of char- 
acter, and so he was unwilling to take the first step toward reform. 

The principle for which Miss Brown contended, was this : every society has 
a right to determine who shall represent it in convention. Invitation 
given to the " whole world " to meet there in convention, to promote the cause 
of Temperance. Our friend needed no credentials under the call. It is true 
all societies were invited to send delegates, but in addition to that all the 
friends of Temperance throughout the .world were expressly and earnestly invited 
to be present, and under that last express invitation she had a right to come in 
as an earnest friend of the cause, and take her seat in the Convention. \N hen a 
body like that comes together, the principle is this, each delegate stands on the 
snme footing as every other delegate, and no one delegate nor any number of 
delegates has a right to exclude any other delegate who has been sent there by 
any like society. Our friend had credentials from two societies, and thus was 
doubly armed ; but she was put down by a most disgraceful minority of the 
Convention, who succeeded in carrying their point. In view of all this, I would 
present for the action of this Convention the following resolutions: 

WHEREAS, a cordial invitation having been extended to all temperance socie- 
ties and all the friends 0f temperance throughout the world, to meet personally 
or by delegates in a "World's Temperance Convention" in the city of New- 
York, Sept, 6th and 7th, 1853 ; 

And whereas, accepting this invitation in the spirit in which it was apparently 
given, the l ' South Butler Temperance Association," and the " Rochester Toronto 
Division of the Sons of Temperance," duly empowered the Rev. Antoinette L. 
Brown, to act in that Convention as their delegate, representative, and advocate. 

And whereas, on presenting herself at the time specified, her credentials were 
received by the Committee on the roll of the Convention, but on rising to ad- 
dress the assembly (though declared by the President to be entitled to the 
floor, and although his decision was repeatedly sustained by a majority of tin- 
delegates) she was met with derisive outcries, insulting jeers, and the most 
rowdyish manifestations, by a shameless minority, led on by the Rev. John 
Chambers, of Philadelphia, and encouraged by Gen. Carey, of Ohio, and other 
professed friends of the temperance cause so as to make it impossible for her 
to le heard, and thus virtually excluding her from ihe Convention in an igno- 
minious manner, solely on account of her being a woman ; therefore. 

Resolved, That in the judgment of this Convention, the treatment received by 
the Rev. Antoinette L. Brown in the ''World's Temperance Convention'' 
(falsely so called) was in the highest degree disgraceful to that body, insulting to 

162 History of Woman Suffrage. 

the societies whose credentials she bore, worthy only of those who are filled 
with strong drink, and a scandal to the temperance movement. 

Resolved,, That the thanks of this Convention be given to Miss Brown, for 
having accepted the credentials so, honorably proffered to her by the 
temperance societies aforesaid, and claiming a right, not as a woman, but as a 
duly authorized delegate, an eloquent and devoted advocate of the temperance 
enterprise, to a seat and voice in the " World's Temperance Convention ; " and 
for the firm, dignified, and admirable manner in which she met the storm of 
opprobrium and insult which so furiously assailed her on her attempting to ad- 
vocate the beneficent movement for the promotion of which the Convention was 
expressly called together. 

Hon. JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS : Ladies and gentlemen, although I had designed 
to take no active part in the proceedings, I can not avoid rising, to second that 
resolution. When I learned of the appointing of this Convention, it brought a 
thrill of joy to me. I had read the transactions to which the lady has made 
such feeling allusion. I had read and mourned over them, and I rejoiced that 
an opportunity was to be given to the people of Cleveland, and this Western Re- 
serve, to tender their thanks to this Convention, which had been appointed to 
meet upon the shores of Lake Erie; and that they also might see what sort of a 
greeting the friends of the rights of woman would receive here. And I now 
rejoice at the hearty manner in which the Convention has proceeded. I rejoice 
at the treatment the Convention has received. Then I was about to say, the 
fogies of New York, if they could see and know all that they might see here, 
would not be like some spirits, whom Swedenborg says he saw in the other 
world. He found spirits who had been departed several years, who had not yet 
learned that they were dead. I think Rev. John Chambers would now look down 
and begin to suspect that he had departed. 

My friends, I know not how the remarks of Miss Brown fell upon your ears. 
I can only say that they struck me with deep feelings of mortification, that at 
this noontide of the nineteenth century any human being, who can give her 
thoughts to an assembly in the eloquent manner in which she has spoken to us, 
has been treated as she was ; and when this resolution of reproof by my friend 
from Massachusetts was presented, I resolved to rise and second it, and express 
myself willing that it be sent out in the report, that I most heartily concur in 
the expressions contained in these resolutions. 

WILLIAM L. GARRISON : I wish to make one statement in regard to Genera] 
Carey, to show that he does not himself act on consistent principles, in this 
matter. The last number of the Pennsylvania Freeman contains an account of 
a temperance gathering 'held in Kennett Square. That square is for that region 
the headquarters of Abolitionists, Liberals, Corne-outers, and so forth. In that 
meeting women were appointed for Vice-Presidents and Secretaries with men, 
and there was a complete mixture throughout the committees without regard 
to sex ; and who do you think were those who spoke on that occasion recog- 
nizing that woman was equal with man in that gathering ? The first was G. 
W. Jackson, of Boston, who made himself very conspicuous in the exclusion 
of women from the "World's Convention"; second, Judge O'Neil, of South 
Carolina, who spoke at New York, and who was also very active in the efforts 
to exclude Miss Brown ; last of all was General Carey, of Ohio ; and three days 
afterward they wended their way to New York, and there conspired with others 

Chambers, Hewdt, an<1 J/^/ .>//. 

to prevent a delegate from being admitted, on the _ round of being a woman ; 
showing that while at old Krniu-tt they were willing to con! :Mr it 

would be popular ; in New Yoik they joined in this brutal proscription 
woman, only because she was a woman. 

LUCY STONE : I know it is time to take the question upon th- in^. 

but I wish to say one word. When a world's convention of any kind is . 
when the Rev. Drs. Chambers, Hewett, Marsh, and I don't know how many 
more, backed up by a part of those who were in that convention, are ready to 
ignore the existence of woman, it should show us something of the amour. t of 
labor we have to do, to teach the world even to know that we are a part of it ; 
and when women tell us they don't want any more rights, 1 wnnt them to know 
that they are held to have no right in any world's convention. I took up a 
book the other day, written by the Rev. Mr. Davis, in which he sketches tin- 
events of the last fifty years. He states that the Sandwich Islands at one time 
had one missionary at such a station ; Mr. Green and his wife ! Then he 
went on to state another where there were nineteen, and their wives ! Xow 
these are straws on the surface, but they indicate " which way the wind blows," 
and indicate, in some sense, the estimation in which woman is held. I men- 
tion these facts so that we may see something of the length of the way we must 
tread, before we shall even be recognized. 

The reader will see from these debates the amount of prejudice, 
wickedness, and violence, woman was compelled to meet from all 
classes of men, especially the clergy, in those early days, and on the 
other hand the wisdom, courage, and mild self-assertion with which 
she fought her battle and conquered. There is not a man living 
who took part in that disgraceful row who would not gladly blot 
out that page in his personal history. But the few noble men 
lawyers, statesmen, clergymen, philanthropists, poets, orators, phi- 
losophers who have remained steadfast and loyal to woman through 
all her struggles for freedom have been brave and generous enough 
to redeem their sex from the utter contempt and distrust of all 


In 1855, October 17th and 18th, the people of Cincinnati, Ohi>, 
Tvere summoned to the consideration of the question of Woman's 
Eights. A brief report in the city journals, is all we can find of 
the proceedings. From these we learn that the meetings were held 
in Nixon's Hall, that some ladies wore bloomers, and some gentle- 
men shawls, that the audiences were large and enthusiastic, that the 
curiosity to see women who could make a speech was int. 
Martha C.Wright, of Auburn, a sister of Lucretia Mott, was ch 
President. On the platform sat Mrs. Mott, Hannah Tracy Cutler, 
Josephine S. Griffing, Mary S. Anthony, of Kochester, X. Y. ; Er- 

164 History of Woman Suffrage. 

nestine L. Kose, Adeline Swift, Joseph Barker, an Englishman, an 
ex-meniber of Parliament, Lucy Stone and her husband, Henry B. 
Blackwell, recently married. Mrs. Stone did not take her husband's 
name, because she believed a woman had a right to an individual 
existence, and an individual name to designate that existence. 

After the election of officers,* the President stated the object of the 
Convention to be to secure equality with man in social, civil, and 
political rights. It was only seven years, she said, since this move- 
ment commenced, since our first Convention was called, in timidity 
and doubt of our own strength, our own capacity, our own powers ; 
now, east, west, north, and even south, there were found advocates 
of woman's rights. The newspapers which ridiculed and slandered 
us at first, are beginning to give impartial accounts of our meetings. 
Newspapers do not lead, but follow public opinion ; and doing so, 
they go through three stages in regard to reforms ; they first ridi- 
cule them, then report them without comment, and at last openly 
advocate them. We seem to be still in the first stage on this 

Mrs. CUTLER said: "Let there be light, and there was light," '' And many 
shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." This light, this in- 
crease of knowledge, we are seeking. Men have always applied the last text 
to themselves, and did not expect woman to run to and fro and increase in 
knowledge. They objected to her raising her voice <<n this platform in the 
pursuit or diffusion of knowledge ; but when she is employed upon the stage to 
minister to everything that pollutes and degrades man, no voice was raised 
against it. It was but a few years ago that a French queen brought over with 
her to the British Isles, a male mantua-maker. It was not supposed then that 
woman was capable of fitting woman's clothes properly. She has since advanced 
to have the charge of man's wardrobe ; and it will be right when the time 
comes, for man to take care of himself. Conservatism opposes this now ; but 
I love conservatism ; it is guarding our institutions until the new mother is 
prepared to take the charge. 

I desire that marriage shall not be simply a domestic union as in early days, 
or a social one as it has now become, but a complete and perfect union, con- 
ferring equal rights on both parties. I desire light from the source of light. 
The question is frequently asked, "What more do these women want ?" A 
lady in Cincinnati told me that she did not desire any change, for she thought 
we had now entirely the best of it ; while the men toiled in their shops and 
offices, the women walked the streets splendidly dressed, or lounged at home 
with nothing to do but spend the money their husbands earned. I never 
understood the elevating effect of the elective franchise until I went toEngland^ 
where so few enjoy it. I attended a political meeting during the canvass of 
Derby, as a reporter for three or four political papers in the United States. 
One of the candidates proposed to legislate for universal suffrage ; his opponent 

* See Appendix. 

Tlin-e Millions of Slaves. ~h;;> 

replied by showing the effect of it upon France, which he declared wa 
only country in which it existed. "You forget," exclaimed one, "Aim-rim !" 
11 America ! never name her ! a land of three millions of slaves." The multi- 
tude would not believe this; they shouted in derision, whenever the sj- 
attempted to resume. America was their last hope. If that country wa- 
up to slavery, they could only despair. Party leaders rose and tried to calm 
them as Christ calmed the sea, but they could do nothing. "You are an Amer- 
ican/' said one near me; "get up and defend your country! 1 ' What could I 
>ay i I spoke, however, and pledged them that the stain of slavery should be 
wiped out. 

Mr. WISE, of North Carolina, made a long and learned address, treating prin- 
cipally of geology and women. He claimed for woman more even than she for 
herself. He said: "Women are generally more competent to vote than their 
husbands, and sisters better fitted to be judges than their brothers, the mother 
more capable of wisely exercising the elective franchise than her booby son." 

LUCY STONE said : The last speaker alluded to this movement as being that of 
a few disappointed women. From the first years to which my memory stretches, 
I have been a disappointed woman. When, with my brothers, I reached forth 
after the sources of knowledge, I was reproved with "It isn't fit for you; it 
doesn't belong to women." Then there was but one college in the world where 
women were admitted, and that was in Brazil. I would have found my way 
there, but by the time I was prepared to go, one was opened in the young State 
of Ohio the first in the United States where women and negroes could enjoy 
opportunities with white men. I was disappointed when I came to seek a pro- 
fession worthy an immortal being every employment was closed to me, except 
those of the teacher, the seamstress, and the housekeeper. In education, in 
marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It 
shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's 
heart until she bows down to it no longer. I wish that women, instead of bein^r 
walking show-cases, instead of begging of their fathers and brothers the latest 
and gayest new bonnet, would ask of them their rights. 

The question of Woman's Rights is a practical one. The notion has pre- 
vailed that it was only an ephemeral idea ; that it was but women claiming the 
right to smoke cigars in the streets, and to frequent bar-rooms. Others have 
supposed it a question of comparative intellect; others still, of sphere. Too 
much has already been said and written about woman's sphere. Trace all the 
doctrines to their source and they will be found to have no basi* except in the 
usages and prejudices of the age. This is seen in the fact that what is tolerate* 1 
in woman in one country is not tolerated in another. In this country women 
may hold prayer-meetings, etc., but in Mohammedan countries it is written upon 
their mosques, "Women and dogs, and other impure animals, are not permitted 
to enter." Wendell Phillips says, "The best and greatest thing one is caj 
of doing, that is his sphere." I have confidence in the Father to believe that 
when He gives us the capacity to do anything I If docs not make a blunder. 
Leave women, then, to find their sphere. And do not tell us before we are 
born even, that our province is to cook dinners, darn stockings, an 1 srw n 
buttons. We are told woman has all the rights she wants; and even women, 
I am ashamed to say, tell us so. They mist ike the politeness of mm tor 
rights seats while men stand in this hall to-iiight, and their adulations ; but 

166 History of Woman Suffrage. 

these are mere courtesies. We want rights. The flour-merchant, the house- 
builder, and the postman charge us no less on account of our sex ; but when 
we endeavor to earn money to pay all these, then, indeed, we find the difference. 
Man, if he have energy, may hew out for himself a path where no mortal has 
ever trod, held back by nothing but what is in himself; the world is all be- 
fore him, where to choose ; and we are glad for you, brothers, men, that it is 
so. But the same society that drives forth the young man, keeps woman at 
home a dependent working little cats on worsted, and little dogs on punc- 
tured paper ; but if she goes heartily and bravely to give herself to some wor- 
thy purpose, she is out of her sphere and she loses caste. Women working in 
tailor-shops are paid one-third as much as men. Some one in Philadelphia has 
stated that women make fine shirts for twelve and a half cents apiece ; that no 
woman can make more than nine a week, and the sum thus earned, after 
deducting rent, fuel, etc., leaves her just three and a half cents a day for bread. 
Is it a wonder that women are driven to prostitution ? Female teachers in 
New York are paid fifty dollars a year, and for every such situation there are 
five hundred applicants. I know not what you believe of God, but I believe 
He gave yearnings and longings to be filled, and that He did not mean all our 
time should be devoted to feeding and clothing the body. The present con- 
dition of woman causes a horrible perversion of the marriage relation. It is 
asked of a lady, " Has she married well ? " " Oh, yes, her husband is rich." 
Woman must marry for a home, and you men are the sufferers by this ; for a 
woman who loathes you may marry you because you have the means to get 
money which she can not have. But when woman can enter the lists with you 
and make money for herself, she will marry you only for deep and earnest 

I am detaining you too long, many of you standing, that I ought to 
apologize, but women have been wronged so long that I may wrong you 
a little. (Applause). A woman undertook in Lowell to sell shoes to ladies. 
Men laughed at her, but in six years she has run them all out, and has 
a monopoly of the trade. Sarah Tyndale, whose husband was an importer of 
china, and died bankrupt, continued his business, paid off his debts, and has 
made a fortune and built the largest china warehouse in the world. (Mrs. Mott 
here corrected Lucy. Mrs. Tyndale has not the largest china warehouse, but 
the largest assortment of china in the world). Mrs. Tyndale, herself, drew the 
plan of her warehouse, and it is the best plan ever drawn. A laborer to whom 
the architect showed it, said : " Don't she know e'en as much as some men ? " 
I have seen a woman at manual labor turning out chair-legs in a cabinet-shop, 
with a dress short enough not to drag in the shavings. I wish other women 
wo-uld imitate her in this. It made her hands harder and broader, it is true, 
but I think a hand with a dollar and a quarter a day in it, better than one with 
a crossed ninepence. The men in the shop didn't use tobacco, nor swear 
they can't do those things where there are women, and we owe it to our broth- 
ers to go wherever they work to keep them decent. The widening of woman's 
sphere is to improve her lot. Let us do it, and if the world scoff, let it scoff 
if it sneer, let it sneer but we will 'go on emulating the example of the sisters 
Grimke and Abby Kelly. When they first lectured against slavery they were 
not listened to as respectfully as you listen to us. So the first female physician 
meets many diffic ilties, but to the next the path will be made easy. 

Hisses for John Chambers. 167 

Lucretia Mott has been a preacher for years ; her right to do so is nor <jiie< 
tioned among Friends. But when Antoinette Brown felt that she was com- 
manded to preach, and to arrest the progress of thousands that were on the road 
to hell ; why, when she applied for ordination they acted as though they had 
rather the whole world should go to hell, than that Antoinette Brown should !< 
allowed to tell them how to keep out of it. She is now ordained over a p irish in 
the State of New York, but when she meets on the Temperance platform the Hi-v. 
John Chambers, or your own Gen. Carey (applause) they greet her with hisses. 
Theodore Parker said : " The acorn that the school-boy carries in his pocket 
and the squirrel stows in his cheek, has in it the possibility of an oak, able to 
withstand, for ages, the cold winter and the driving blast." I have seen the 
acorn men and women, but never the perfect oak ; all are but abortions. The 
young mother, when first the new-born babe nestles in her bosom, and a hereto- 
fore unknown love springs up in her heart, finds herself unprepared for this 
new relation in life, and she sends forth the child scarred and dwarfed by her 
own weakness and imbecility, as no stream can rise higher than its fountain. 

We find no report of the speeches of Frances D. Ga^e, Lydia Ann 
Jenkins, Ernestine L. Rose. Euphemia Cochrane, of Michigan, nor 
J. Mitchell, of Missouri, editor of the St. Louis Intelligencer, nor 
of the presence of James Mott, whose services were always invalu- 
able on the committees for business and resolutions. 

In 185T, the Legislature of Ohio passed a bill enacting that no 
married man shall dispose of any personal property without having 
first obtained the consent of his wife ; the wife being empowered in 
case of the violation of such act, to commence a civil suit in her own 
name for the recovery of said property ; and also that any married 
woman whose husband shall desert her or neglect to provide for his 
family, shall be entitled to his wages and to those of her minor chil- 
dren. These amendments were warmly recommended by Gov. Sal- 
mon P. Chase in his annual message. The Select Committee* of 
the Senate on the petition asking the right of suffrage for woman, 
reported in favor of the proposed amendment, recommending the 
adoption of the following resolution : 

Resolved, That the Judiciary Committee be instructed to report to the Sen- 
ate a bill to submit to the qualified electors at the next election for Senators and 
Representatives an amendment to the Constitution, whereby the elective fran- 
chise shall be extended to the citizens of Ohio without distinction of 

But the bill VMS defeated in the Senate by a vote of 44 to 44. 
The petition had received 10,000 signatures. We give this able re- 
port in full.f 

The proceedings of these early Conventions might bo read with 
pride and satisfaction by the women of Ohio to-day, with all their 

* J. D. Cattell and H. Canfield. + See Appendix. 

168 History of Woman Suffrage. 

superior advantages of education. Frances D. Gage was a natura. 
orator. Her wit and pathos always delighted her audiences, and 
were highly appreciated by those on the platform. Her off-hand 
speeches, ready for any occasion, were exactly complemented by J. 
Elizabeth Jones, whose carefully prepared essays on philosophy, law, 
and government, would do honor to any statesman. Together they 
were a great power in Ohio. From this time Conventions were 
held annually for several years, the friends of woman suffrage being 
thoroughly organized ; J. Elizabeth Jones was made General Agent. 
In her report of May 16th, 1861, she says : 

And through the earnest efforts of Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Gage, Mrs. Wilson, 
Mrs. Tilden, and many others, the Legislature was petitioned from year to year 
for a redress of legal and political wrongs. _ At a later period, the indefatigable 
exertions of Mrs. Adeline T. Swift sustained the interest and the agitation in 
such portions of the State as she could reach. As the fruit of her labor, many 
thousands of names, pleading for equality, have been presented to the General 
Assembly, which labor has been continued to the present time. 

Our last effort, of which I am now more particularly to speak, was commenced 
early in the season, by extensive correspondence to enlist sympathy and aid in 
behalf of petitions. As soon as we could get the public ear, several lecturing 
agents were secured, and they did most efficient service, both with tongue and 
with pen. One of these was Mrs. C. I. H. .Nichols, of Kansas, formerly of Ver- 
mont ; and perhaps no person was ever better qualified than she. Ever ready 
and ever faithful, in public and in private, and ever capable, too, whether dis- 
cussing the condition of woman with the best informed members of the legal 
profession, or striving at the fireside of some indolent and ignorant sister, over 
whose best energies " death is creeping like an untimely frost," to waken in her 
heart a desire for that which is truly noble and good. 

Of another of our agents Mrs. Cutler, of Illinois equally as much can be 
said of her -qualifications and her efficiency. Having been very widely ac- 
quainted with the sorrowful experiences of women, both abroad and in our 
own country, which have been caused by their inferior position, and by legal 
disabilities ; and lamenting, too, as only great and elevated natures can, the 
utter wreck of true, noble womanhood in the higher circles of society, a neces- 
sity is thus laid upon her to do all in her power to lift both classes into a freer, 
better life. 

Mrs. Frances D. Gage, of Ohio, deeply interested herself in this question in 
the beginning, and has never failed in faithful testimony and timely word, to 
promote its success. Although not identified with us as an agent, yet we had 
her active co-operation during the campaign. Her editorial connection with 
the press, and her lectures on the West India Islands, gave Tier abundant oppor- 
tunity, which she did not fail to embrace, of circulating petitions and advo- 
cating the cause to which she has so largely given her energies. 

Besides the General Agent, whose time was divided between correspondence, 
lecturing, and the general details of the movement, there were other and most 
efficient workers, especially in canvassing for signatures. We are indebted to 
Mrs. Anne Ryder, of Cincinnati, for much labor in t,his direction ; and also to 

Wo)iu : n in tin: Capitol. 169 

iMrs. Howard, of Columbu*, for similar service. Mis- Olympia Brown, a gradu- 
ate of Antioch College, canvassed several towns m:>.st successfully adding 
thousands of names to the lists heretofore obtained. Equally zealous 
-women, and men also, in various sections of the State. By means of this 1. 
co-operation, both branches of the Legislature were flooded with Woman'-; 
Rights petitions during the first part of the session a thousand and even tuo 
thousand names were presented at a time. 

Our main object this year, as heretofore, has been to secure personal proper- 
ty and parental rights, never ignoring, however, the right to legislate for our- 
selves. We were fortunate in the commencement in enlisting some of the lead- 
ing influences of the State in favor of the movement. Persons occupying the 
highest social and political position, very fully endorsed our claims to legal 
equality, and rendered valuable aid by public approval of the same. We took 
measures at an early period to obtain the assistance of the press ; and by means 
of this auxiliary our work has been more fully recognized, and more generally 
appreciated than it could otherwise have been. Without exception, the lead- 
ing journals of the State have treated our cause with consideration, and gener- 
ously commended the efforts of its agents. 

So numerous were the petitions, and so largely did they represent the best 
constituency of the State, that the committees in whose hands they were placed, 
felt that by all just parliamentary usage, they were entitled to a candid consid- 
eration. Accordingly they invited several of us who had been prominent, to 
defend our own cause in the Senate chamber, before their joint Committee and 
such of the General Assembly and of the public, as might choose to come and 
listen. From the reports of the numerous letter-writers who were present, 1 
will place one extract, only upon record. 

t The Senate chamber was filled to overflowing to hear Mrs. Jones, Cutler, and 
Gage, and hundreds went away for want of a place to stand. Columbus lias 
seldom seen so refined and intelligent an audience as that which uat 
round those earnest women, who had none of the charm of youth or beauty to 
challenge admiration, but whose heads were already sprinkled with tin- lr><ts 
of life's winter. Earnest, truthful, womanly, richly cultivated by the experiences 
of practical life, those women, mothers, and two of them grandmothers, pl.adrd 
for the right of woman to the fruit of her own genius, labor, or skill, and tor 
the mother her right to be the joint guardian of her own offspring. I wish 
I could give you even the faintest idea of the brilliancy of the scene, or the 
splendor of the triumph achieved over the legions of prejudice, the colic 1 
injustice, and the old national guard of hoary conservatism. If the triumph of 
a prima donna is something to boast, what was the triumph of these toil-worn 
women, when not only the members of the Committee, but Senatois and Mem- 
bers of the House, crowded around them with congratulations and a>snram ( * 
that their able and earnest arguments had fully prevailed, and the pra\< 
their petitioners must be granted." 

The address of the first speaker was a written argument on legal rights. It 
was solicited by members of the General Assembly for publication, and distrib- 
uted over the State at their expense. 

The change in public sentiment, the marked favor with which our . 
began to be regarded in the judicial and legislative departments, encour 
us to hope that if equal and exact justice were not established, which we could 

170 History of Woman Suffrage. 

hardly expect, we should at least obtain legal equality in many particulars. 
The Senate committee soon reported a bill, drafted by one of their number 
Judge Key and fully endorsed by all the judges of the Supreme Court, secur- 
ing to the married woman the use of her real estate, and the avails of her own 
separate labor, together with such power to protect her property, and do busi- 
ness in her own name, as men possess. The last provision was stricken out 
and the bill thus amended passed both Houses, the Senate by a veiy large ma- 

Although this secures to us property rights in a measure only, yet it is a 
great gain. He, who in abject bondage has striven with his fetters, rejoices 
to have the smallest amount of their weight removed. We have, therefore, 
reason to be grateful not only for the benefits we shall derive from this Act, but 
for the evidence of a growing sense of justice on the part of those who claim 
for themselves the exclusive right to legislate. Senator Parish had already 
prepared a Bill for Guardianship, and to change the Laws of Descent, that 
something more than a paltry dower should be secured to the widow in the 
common estate; but the press of business, and the sudden commencement of 
open hostilities between the North and South, precluded all possibility of 
further legislation in our behalf. While Judge Key has deservedly received 
universal thanks from the women of Ohio, for proposing and carrying througli 
the Legislature the Property Bill, they are no less indebted to the Hon. Mr. 
Parish for his faithful defense of their cause, not only during the present ses- 
sion, but in years past. If all the Honorable Senators and Representatives 
who have given their influence in favor of it were to be mentioned, and all the 
faithful men and earnest women who have labored to promote it, the list 
would be long and distinguished. J. ELIZABETH JONES. 

Thus, in a measure, were the civil rights of the women of Ohio 
secured. Some of those who were influential in winning this modi- 
cum of justice have already passed away ; some, enfeebled by age, 
are incapable of active work ; others are seeking in many latitudes 
that rest so necessary in the declining years of life. 

The question naturally suggests itself, where are the young women 
of Ohio, who will take up this noble cause and carry it to its final 
triumph ? They are reaping on all sides the benefits achieved for 
them by others, and they in turn, by earnest efforts for the enfran- 
chisement of woman, should do what they can to broaden the lives 
of the next generation. 

In Ohio, as elsewhere, the great conflict between the North, and 
South turned the thoughts of women from the consideration of their 
own rights, to the life of the nation. Many of them spent their last 
days and waning powers in the military hospitals and sanitariums, 
ministering to sick and dying soldiers ; others at a later period in the 
service of the freed men, guiding them in their labors, and instructing 
them in their schools ; all alike forgetting that justice to woman was 
a more important step in national safety than freedom or franchise 
to any race of men. 


VERMONT : Editor Windltam County Democrat Property Laws, 1847 and 1849 Ad- 
dressed the Legislature on school suffrage, 1852. 

WISCONSIN : Woman's State Temperance Society Lydia F. Fowler in company Op- 
position of Clergy" Woman's Rights " wouldn't do Advertised " Men's Rights." 

KANSAS : Free State Emigration, 1854 Gov. Robinson and Senator Pomeroy Woman's 
Rights speeches on Steamboat, and at Lawrence Constitutional Convention, 1859 
State Woman Suffrage Association John O. Wattles, President Aid from the Francis 
Jackson Fund Canvassing the State School Suffrage gained. 

MISSOURI : Lecturing at St. Joseph, 1858, on Col. Scott's invitation Westport and the 
John Brown raid, 1859 St. Louis, 1854 Frances D. Gage, Rev. Win. G. Eliot, and 
Rev. Mr. Weaver. 

Ix gathering up these individual memories of the past, we feel 
there will be an added interest in the fact that we shall thus have a 
subjective, as well as an objective view of this grand movement for 
woman's enfranchisement. To our older readers, who have known 
the actors in these scenes, they will come like the far-off whispers of 
by-gone friends ; to younger ones who will never see the faces of 
the noble band of women who took the initiative in this struggle, it 
will be almost as pleasant as a personal introduction, to have them 
speak for themselves ; each in her own peculiar style recount the 
experiences of those eventful years. As but few remain to tell the 
story, and each life has made a channel of its own, there will be no 
danger of wearying the reader with much repetition. 

To Clarina Howard Nichols the women of Kansas aiv indebted 
for many civil rights they have as yet been too apathetic to exer 

Her personal presence in the Constitutional Convention of 1859, 
secured for the women of that State liberal property rights, equal 
guardianship of their children, and the right to vote on all school 
questions. She is a large-hearted, brave, faithful woman, and her 
life speaks for itself. Her experiences are indeed the history of all 
that was done in the above-mentioned Star- 


I was bom in Townshend, Windliam County, Vermont, January 
25, 1810. 

From 1843 to 1853 inclusive, I edited 77/^ WtntlJutm Count*, 


172 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Democrat, published by my husband, Geo. W. Nichols, at Brattle- 

Early in 1847, I addressed to the voters of the State a series of 
editorials setting forth the injustice and miserable economy of the 
property disabilities of married women. In October of the same 
year, Hon. Larkin Mead, of Brattleboro, " moved," as he said, " by 
Mrs. Nichols' presentation of the subject " in the Democrat, intro- 
duced in the Yerinont Senate a bill securing to the wife real and 
personal property, with its use, and power to defend, convey, and 
devise as if " sole." The bill as passed, secured to the wife real 
estate owned by her at marriage, or acquired by gift, devise, or in- 
heritance during marriage, with the rents, issues, and profits, as 
against any debts of the husband ; but to make a sale or conveyance 
of either her realty or its use valid, it must be the joint act of hus- 
band and wife. She might by last will and testament dispose of her 
lands, tenements, hereditaments, and any interest therein descend- 
able to her heirs, as if " sole." A subsequent Legislature added to 
the latter clause, moneys, notes, bonds, and other assets, accruing 
from sale or use of real estate. And this was the first breath of a 
legal civil existence to Yermont wives. 

In 1849, Yermont enacted a Homestead law. In 1850, a bill em- 
powering the wife to insure, in her own interest, the life, or a term 
of the life of her husband ; the annual premium on such insurance 
not to exceed $300 ; also an act giving to widows of childless hus- 
bands the whole of an estate not exceeding $1,000 in value, and 
half of any amount in excess of $1,000 ; and if he left no kin, the 
whole estate, however large, became the property of the widow. 
Prior to this Act, the widow of a childless husband had only half, 
however small the estate, and if he left no kindred to claim it, the 
remaining half went into the treasury of the State, whose gain, was 
the town's loss, if, as occasionally happened, the widow's half was 
not sufficient for her support* 

In 1852, I drew up a petition signed by more than 200 of the 
most substantial business men, including the staunchest conserva- 
tives, and tax-paying widows of Brattleboro, asking the Legislature 
to make the women of the State voters in district school meetings. 

Up to 1850 I had not taken position for suffrage, but instead of 

* Mrs. Nichols had written up a case occurring among the subscribers to the Democrat, 
in which $500, the whole estate, was divided, the half of that amount being all the law 
allowed for the support of a woman, then in the decline of life, and sent fifty marked 
copies of the paper to members of the Legislature elect. One of them introduced the 
bill, which passed the first da}- of the session. 

Green Mountain Freeman. 173 

disclaiming its advocacy as improper, I had, since 1849, shown the 
absurdity of regarding suffrage as unwomanly. Having failed to 
sir ure her legal rights by reason of her disfranchisement, a woman 
must look to the ballot for self-protection. In this cautions \\i\\ I 
proceeded, aware that not a house would be opened to me, did I de- 
mand the suffrage before convicting men of legal robbery, through 
woman's inability to defend herself. 

The petition was referred to the Educational Committee of the 
House, whose chairman, editor of the Rutland Herald, was a bitter 
opponent, and I felt that he would, in his report, lampoon " Wom- 
an's Rights" and their most prominent advocates, thus sending his 
poison into all the towns ignorant of our objects, and strengthening 
the already repellant prejudices of the leading women at the capital. 
I wrote to Judge Thompson, editor of the Green Mountain free- 
man (a recent accession to the press of the State and friendly to our 
cause), what I feared, and asked him to plead before the Committee 
and interest influential members to protect woman's cause against 
abuse before the House. He counseled with leading members of 
the three political parties Whig, Free-Soil, and Democrat includ- 
ing the Speaker of the House, and they advised, as the best course, 
that. " Mrs. Nichols come to Montpelier, and they would invite her, 
by a handsome vote, to speak to her petition before the House." 
" When," added Judge T., u you can use your privilege to present 
the whole subject of Woman's "Rights. Come, and I will stick by 
you like a brother." I went. The resolution of invitation was 
adopted with a single dissenting vote, and that from the Chairman 
of the Educational Committee, who unwittingly made the vote 
unanimous by the unfortunate exclamation, " If the lady wants to 
make herself ridiculous, let her come and make herself as ridiculous 
as possible and as soon as possible, but I don't believe in this scram- 
ble for the breeches ! v 

In concluding my plea before the House (in which I had cited 
the statutes and decisions of courts, showing that the husband owned 
even the wife's clothing), I thanked the House for its resolution, and 
referred to the concluding remark of the Chairman of the Educa- 
tional Committee, and said that though I "had earned the dress 
I wore, my husband owned it not of his own will, but by a 
law adopted by bachelors and other women's husbands," and added : 
u I will not appeal to the gallantry of this House, but to its manli- 
ness, if such a taunt does not come with an ill grace from gentle- 
men who have legislated our skirts into their possession ? And 
will it not be quite time enough for them to taunt us with being 

174 History of Woma 


after their wardrobes, when they shall have restored to us the legal 
light to our own ? " 

With a bow I turned from the Speaker's stand, when the profound 
hush of as fine an audience as earnest woman ever addressed, was 
broken by the muffled thunder of stamping feet, and the low, deep 
hum of pent-up feeling loosed suddenly from restraint. A crowd 
of ladies from the galleries, who had come only at the urgent per- 
sonal appeal of Judge Thompson, who had spent the day calling 
from house, to house, and who a few months before had utterly 
failed to persuade them to attend a course of physiological lectures 
from Mrs. Mariana Johnson, on account of her having once presided 
over a Woman's Rights Convention, these women met me at the 
foot of the Speaker's desk, exclaiming with earnest expressions of 
sympathy : " We did not know before what Woman's Eights were, 
Mrs. Nichols, but we are for Woman's Rights." 

Said Mrs. Thompson to me upon our return to her home t u I 
"broke out in a cold perspiration when your voice failed and you 
leaned your head on your hand." * "I thought you were going to 
fail," continued Mrs. Thompson. " Yes," said the Judge, " I was 
very doubtful how it would come out when I saw how sensitive 
Mrs. Nichols was. But," (turning to me), " you have had a com- 
plete triumph ! That final expression of your audience was perfect. 
Mr. Herald with his outside recruits did not come forward with 
the suit of male attire at the close, as he had advertised he would, 
(I did not tell Mrs. N. this, my dear," said the Judge.) " He'll 
catch it now, in the House and out." And he did " catch it." 

The effort brought me no reproach, no ridicule from any quarter, 
but instead, cordial recognition and delicate sympathy from unex- 
pected quarters, and even from those who had heard but the report 
of persons present. The editorial criticism of the Chairman of the 
Educational Committee, paid me the high compliment of saying, 
that "in spite of her efforts Mrs. Nichols could not unsex herself ; 
even her voice was full of womanly pathos." The report of the 
Committee was adverse to my petition, but not disrespectful. 
Though the petition failed, the favorable impression created was 
regarded as a great triumph for woman's rights. 

* The violent throbbing of Mrs. Nichols' heart, caused by her unusual position and her 
intense anxiety that her plea might be successful, had stopped her speaking at the close 
of a brief preface to her plea. She, however, soon rallied, though her voice was tremu- 
lous throughout, from the conviction that only an eminently successful presentation of 
her subject, could spike the enemy's batteries and win a verdict of "just and wom- 
anly." Mrs. Nichols hoped no further than that. She did not expect conservative Ver- 
mont to yield at once for what she asked, as she stood alone with her paper among the 
press ; and there was no other advocate in the State to take the field. 

Let your Wife Go. 1 :;> 

From the time I spoke at the "Worcester Convention, 1850, until 
I left for Kansas, October, 1854, I responded to frequent i-alls fn.m 
town and neighborhood committees and lyceums in the county 
and adjoining territory of New Hampshire and Massacliux -r 
well as Vermont, to lecture or join in debate with men and women, 
the women voting me their time, on the subject of woman's h-n.-d 
and political equality. In these neighborhood lyceums, mini 
and deacons and their wives and daughters took part. Generally 
wives were appointed in opposition to their husbands, and from 
their rich and varied experience did excellent execution. In order 
to secure opposition, I used to let the negative open and close, other- 
wise the debate was sure to be tame or no debate at all. In all in- 
experience it w^as the same; the "affirmative" had the merit and 
the argument. 

The clergy often spoke always when present and in the n 
tive, if it was their first hearing ; and without a single exception 
they faced the audience at the close with a cordial endorsement of 
the cause. Said one such : " I told you, ladies and gentlemen, that I 
had given little attention to the subject, and you see that I told the 
truth. Mrs. Nichols has made out her case, and let her and the 
women laboring like her, persevere, and woman will gain her 
rights." " Let your wife go all she can," said one of these con- 
verts to Mr. Nichols, u she is breaking down prejudices and making 
friends for your paper. Your political opponents have represented 
her as a masculine brawler for rights, and those who have never met 
her know no better. I went to hear her, full of misgivings that it 
might be so." 

In the winter of 1852 I went as often as twice a week late P.M. 
and returned early A.M. from six to twenty miles. I was sent for 
where there was no railroad. I often heard of "ready-made pants," 
and once of a " rail," but the greater the opposition, the greater 
the victory. 

On a clear, cold morning of January, 1852, I found myself some 
six miles from home at a station on the Vermont side of the Ma a- 
chusetts State line, on my way to Templeton, Mass., whither I had 
been invited by a Lyceum Committee to lecture upon the subject of 
" Woman's Eights." I had scarcely settled myself in the rear of the 
saloon for a restful, careless two hours' ride, when two men ent 
the car. In the younger man I recognized the sheriff of our county. 
Having given a searching glance around the car, the older man, with 
a significant nod to his companion, laid his hand upon the saloon 
door an instant, and every person in the car had risen to his feet, 

176 History of Woman Suffrage. 

electrified by the wail of a " Eachel mourning for her children." " O 
father ! she's my child ! she's my child ! " I reached the door, which 
was guarded by the sheriff, in a condition of mental exaltation (or 
concentration), which to this day reflects itself at the recollection of 
that agonizing cry of the beautiful young mother, set upon by tho 
myrmidons of the law whose base inhumanity shames the brute! 
"Who is it?" "What is it?" "What does it all mean?" were 
the anxious queries put up on all sides. I answered : " It means, 
my friends, that a woman has no legal right to her own babies ; that 
the law-makers of this Christian country (!) have given the custody 
of the babies to the father, drunken or sober, and he may send the 
sheriff as in this case to arrest and rob her of her little ones ! 
You. have heard sneers at c Woman's Eights.' This is one of the 
rights a mother's right to the care and custody of her helpless lit- 
tle ones ! " 

From that excited crowd all young men and grown boys, I be- 
ing the only woman among them rose thick and fast " They've 
no business with the woman's babies!" "Pitch 'em overboard!" 
"I'll help." "Good for you; so'll II" "All aboard." (The 
conductor had come upon the scene). "All aboard." " Wait a 
minute till he gets the other child," cries the old man, rushing out 
of the saloon with a little three-year-old girl in his arms, while the 
sheriff rushed in. Standing behind the old man, I beckoned to the 
conductor, who knew me, to " go on" and in five minutes we were 
across the Massachusetts line, and I was in the saloon. With his 
hand on her child, the sheriff was urging the mother to let go her 
hold. " Hold on to your baby," I cried, "he has no take it 
from you, and is liable to fine and imprisonment for attempting it. 

Tell me, Mr. C , are you helping the other party as a favor, or 

in your official capacity ? In the latter case you might have taken 
her child in Vermont, but we are in Massachusetts now, quite out 
of your sheriff's beat." " The grandfather made legal custodian by 
the father, was he ? That would do in Vermont, sir, but under the 
recent decision of a Massachusetts Court, given in a case like this, 
only the father can take the child from its mother, and in attempt- 
ing it you have made yourselves liable to fine and imprisonment." 
Thus the " sheriffalty " was extinguished, and mother and child took 
their seat beside me in the car. 

Meantime the conductor had made the old gentleman understand 
that they could get off at the next station, where they might take 
the " up train," and get back to their " team " on the Vermont side 
of the "line." As they could get no carriage at the bare little 

The Mother Jiiuh her Baby. 177 

station, and with the encumbrance of the child, could not foot it 
six miles in the cold and snow, they must wait some three or 
four hours for the train, which suggested the possibility of a 
rescue. I could not stop over a train, but I could take the baby 
along with me, if some one could be found The conductor calls. 
The car stops. As the child robbers step out (the little girl, 
clutched in the old grandfather's arms) 'mid the frantic cries of 
the mother and the execrations of the passengers, two middle- 
aged gentlemen of fine matter-of-fact presence, entered. I at once 
met their questioning faces with a hurried statement of facts, and 
the need of some intelligent, humane gentleman to aid the young 
mother in the recovery of her little girl. Having spoken together 

aside, the younger man introduced " Dr. B , who lives in the next 

town, where papers can be made out, and a sheriff be sent back to 
bring the men and child; the lady can go with the doctor, and the 
baby with Mrs. Nichols. I would stop, but I must be in my seat in 
the Legislature." " I have no money, only my ticket to take me to 
my friends," exclaimed the anxious mother. " I will take care of 
that," said the good doctor; "you won't need any." "They will 
have to pay," I whispered 

I gave my lecture at Templeton to a fine audience ; accepted an 
invitation to return and give a second on the same subject, and 
having left the dear little toddler happy and amply protected, at 
noon next day found myself back at Orange, where I had left 
the mother. Here the conductor, who by previous arrangement, 
left a note from me telling her where to go for her baby, reported 
that the party had been brought to Orange for trial, spent the 
night in care of the sheriff, and were released on giving up the 
little girl and paying a handsome sum of the needful to the 
mother. He had scarcely ended his report when the pair entered 
the car, like myself, homeward bound. The old gentleman, care- 
worn and anxious, probably thinking of his team left standing at the 
Vermont station, looked straight ahead, but the kind-hearted sheriff 
caught my eye and smiled. In my happiness I could not do other- 
wise than give smile for smile. 

Arrived at home, I found the affair, reported by the conductor 
of the evening train, had created quite an excitement, sympathy 
being decidedly with the mother. I was credited with being privy 
to the escapade and the pursuit, and as having gone purposely to 
the rescue. Had this been true, I could not have managed it better, 
for a good Providence went with me. I received several memo- 
rial " hanks " of yam, with messages from the donors that " they 

178 History of Woman Suffrage. 

would keep me in knitting-work while preaching woman's rights on 
the railroad " a reference to my practice of knitting on the cars, 
and the report that I gave a lecture on the occasion to my audience 

And thus was the seed of woman's educational, industrial, and polit- 
ical rights sown in Vermont, through infinite labor, but in the faith 
and perseverance which bring their courage to all workers for the 


In September and October, 1853, 1 traveled 900 miles in Wiscon- 
sin, as agent of the Woman's State Temperance Society, speaking in 
forty-three towns to audiences estimated at 30,000 in the aggregate, 
people coming in their own conveyances from five to twenty miles. 
I went to Wisconsin under an engagement to labor as agent of the 
State Temperance League, an organization composed of both sexes 
and officered by leading temperance men at the earnest and re- 
peated solicitations of its delegates whom I met at the " Whole 
World's Temperance Convention," held in New York City in Sep- 
tember, and who were commissioned by the League to employ 
speakers to canvass the State; the object being to procure the 
enactment of a " Maine Law " by the next Legislature. These 
delegates had counseled, among others, with Horace Greeley, who 
advised my employment, curiosity to hear a woman promising to 
call out larger audiences and more votes for temperance candidates 
in the pending election. 

I, at first, declined to make the engagement, on the ground that I 
could not be spared from my newspaper duties ; but to escape further 
importunity, finally consented to u ask my husband at home," and 
report at New York, where one of the gentlemen would await my 
answer, and myself, if I decided to accept their proposition. My 
husband's cheerful, " Go, wife, you will be doing just the work you 
love, and enjoying a journey which you have not means otherwise 
to undertake," and a notice from Mrs. Lydia F. Fowler, that she 
would join us in the trip with a view to arranging for physiological 
lectures at eligible points in the State, decided me to go. Mrs. F.'s 
company was not only a social acquisition, but a happy insurance 
against pot-house witlings on the alert to impale upon the world's 
dread laugh, any woman who, to accomplish some public good, 
should venture for a space to cut loose from the marital " buttons ' 
and go out into the world alone ! 

In making the engagement, I had taken it for granted, that the 

The Ji ' Tr<t<lucer. 179 

right and propriety of woman's public advocacy of temper 
was a settled question in the field to which I was invited, l.ut 
arrived at Milwaukee, I found that the popular prejudice again.-t 
women as public speakers, and especially the advocacy of "Woman's 
Rights, with which I had for years been identified, had been stinvd 
to its most disgusting depths by a reverend gentleman who had piv- 
cedecl us, and who had for years been a salaried " agent at large," of 
the New York State Temperance Society. A highly respectable mi- 
nority of the Executive Committee of the League endorsed the ac- 
tion of their delegation, but were overruled by a numerical major- 
ity, and I found myself in the position of agent " at large," while 
the reverend tradueer secured his engagement in ray place. 

This turn of affairs, embarrassing at first, proved in the end prov- 
idential a timely clearance for a more congenial craft since the 
women of the State had organized a Woman's State Temperance 
Society, and advertised a Convention to meet the following week at 
Delavan, the populous shire town of Walworth County, fifty miles 
distant in the interior. Thither the friendly Leaguers proposed to 
take us. Meantime it was arranged that Mrs. F. and I should ad- 
dress the citizens of Milwaukee. A capacious church was engaged 
for Sabbath evening, from which hundreds went away unable to get 
in. But neither clergyman nor layman could be found willing to 
commit himself by opening the services ; and with " head uncovered," 
in a church in which it was " a shame for a woman to speak," I 
rested* my burden with the dear Father, as only burdens are rested 
with Him, in conscious unity of purpose. 

Mrs. F. addressed the audience on the physiological effects of 
alcoholic drinks. I followed, quoting from the prophecy of King 
Lemuel, that " his mother taught him," Proverbs xxxi., verses 4, 5, 
8, 9, " Open thy mouth for the dumb ; in the cause of all such as 
Are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously 
and plead the cause of the poor and needy." The spirit moved 
-audience and speaker. We forgot ourselves ; forgot everything but 
"" the poor and needy," the drunkard's wife and children " appoint- 
ed to destruction " through license laws and alienated civil rights. 

At Delavan we met a body of earnest men and women, indignant 
at the action of the Executive Committee of the League, to which 
many of them had contributed funds for the campaign, and ready 
to assume the responsibility of my engagement, and the expenses 
of Mrs. F., who in following out her original plan, generously con- 
sented to precede my lectures with a brief physiological disserta- 
tion apropos to the object of the canvass. The burden of the 

180 History of Woman Suffrage. 

speaking, as planned, rested with me, provided my hitherto untested 
physical ability proved equal, as it did, to the daily effort. 

In counsel with Mrs. R. Ostrander, President of the Society, and 
her sister officials, women of character and intelligence, I could 
explain, as I could not have done to any body of equally worthy 
men, that in justice to ourselves, to them, and to the cause we had 
at heart, we must make the canvass in a spirit and in conditions 
above reproach. '| I can not come down from my work," said Miss 
Lyon, founder of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, when impor- 
tuned to rebut some baseless scandal. To fight our way would be 
to mar the spirit and effect of our work. We must place the oppo- 
sition at a disadvantage from the first; then we could afford to 
ignore it altogether and rise to a level with the humane issues of 
the campaign. It was accordingly arranged that the friends should 
make appointments and secure us suitable escort to neighboring 
towns ; and to distant and less accessible points a gentleman was 
engaged to take us in a private carnage, his wife, a woman of rare 
talent and fine culture, to accompany us. A programme which was 
advertised in the local papers and happily carried out. 

From Delavan we returned to Milwaukee to perfect our arrange- 
ments. From thence our next move was to Waukesha, the shire 
town of Waukesha County, twenty miles by rail, to a Temperance 
meeting advertised for " speaking and the transaction of business." 
The meeting was held in the Congregational church, the pastor 
acting as chairman. The real business of the meeting was sodn dis- 
posed of, and then was enacted the most amusing farce it was ever 
my lot to witness. The chairman and his deacon led off in a long- 
drawn debate on sundry matters of no importance, and of less in- 
terest to the audience, members of which attempted in vain, by 
motions and votes, to cut it short. "When it had become sufficiently 
apparent that the gentlemen were. " talking against time " to pre- 
vent speaking, there were calls for speakers. The chairman replied 

that it was a u business meeting, but Rev. Mr. , from Illinois, 

would lecture in the evening." Several gentlemen rose to protest. 
One said he <c had walked seven miles that his wife and daughters 
might ride, to hear the ladies speak." Another had " ridden horse- 
back twelve miles to hear them." A storm was impending ; the 
chairman was prepared ; he declared the meeting adjourned and 
with his deacon left the house. 

There was a hurried consultation in the ante-room, which resulted 
in an urgent request for " Mrs. Nichols to remain and speak in the 
evening." The speaker noticed for the evening, joined heartily in 

/ Remembered the Dear 181 

the request ; "half an hour was all the time he wanted.*' Hut when 
the evening came, he insisted that I should speak first, and when I 
should have given way for him, assured me that he " had ma; 
rangementa to speak the next evening," and joined in tip- 
go on! " of the audience. So it was decided that I should remain 
over the Sabbath, and Mrs. F. return with the friends to Milwaukee. 

Meantime it had transpired that in the andience were several \ 
monters from a settlement of fourteen families from the vicinity of 
my home; among them a lady from my native town : we had 
girls together. "We know all about Mrs. N.," said one. ' We 
take the Tribune, and friends at home send us her paper." So the 
good Father had sent vouchers for His agent at large. But this was 
not all. I had a pleasant reserve for the evening. I had recognized 
in the deacon, a friend from whom I had parted twenty-one \ 
before in Western New York. In the generous confidence of 
youthful enthusiasm we had enlisted in the cold-water army ; t< >- 
gether pledged ourselves to fight the liquor interest to the death. 
And here my old friend, whose debut on the Temperance platform 
I had aided and cheered, had talked a full hour to prevent me from 
being heard! Was I indignant? Was I grieved? Nay! It was 
not a personal matter. Time's graver had made us strange to eaeli 
other. His name and voice had revealed him to me ; but the name 
I bore was not that by which he had known me. Besides, I remem- 
bered that twenty-one years before, I could not have been persuaded 
to hear a woman speak on any public occasion, and I had nothing 
to forgive, my friend had only stood still where I had left him. 
Such, suppressing his name, was the story I told my audience on 
that evening. And with his puzzled and kindly face intently re- 
garding me, I assured my hearers that I had not a doubt of his 
whole-souled and manly support in my present work. Nor was I 

Next morning, (Sabbath) I listened to a scholarly sermon <>n 
infidel issues and innovations from the chairman of the "busiiu-s> 
meeting " of the previous afternoon, he having stayed away from 
my lecture to prepare it. In the evening, after the temper 
lecture of my Illinois friend, I improved the opportunity of a call 
from the audience, the Rev. Chairman being present, to meet cer- 
tain points of the sermon, personal to myself and the ad\ 
rights for women, closing with a brief confession of my faith in 
Christ's rule of love and duty as impressing every human 1 
into the service of a common humanity the right to serve being 
commensurate with the obli>iti<>n, as of God and not of man. 

182 History of Woman Suffrage. 

One week later, another business meeting was held in the same 
house, and in its published proceedings was a resolution introduced 
by the Rev. Chairman, endorsing Mrs. Nichols, and inviting her 
" to be present and speak " at a County Convention appointed for a 
subsequent day. Not long after he sent me, through a brother 
clergyman, an apology that would have disarmed resentment, had I 
felt any, toward a man who, having opposed me without discourtesy 
and retracted by a published resolution, was yet not satisfied without 
tendering a private apology. 

I had achieved a grateful success; license to "plead the cause 
of the poor and needy," where, how to do so, without offending old- 
time ideas of woman's sphere, had seemed to the women under 
whose direction I had taken the field, the real question at issue. In 
consideration of existing prejudices, they had suggested the pru- 
dence of silence on the subject of Woman's Rights. And here, on 
the very threshold of the campaign, I had been compelled to vin- 
dicate my right to speak for woman ; as a woman, to speak for her 
from any stand-point of life to which nature, custom, or law had 
assigned her. I had no choice, no hope of success, but in presenting 
her case as it stood before God and my own soul. To neither could 
I turn traitor, and do the work, or satisfy the aspirations of a true 
and loving woman. 

For more than a quarter of a century earnest men had spoken, 
and failed to secure justice to the poor and needy, "appointed to 
destruction " by the liquor traffic. They had failed because they 
had denied woman's right to help them, and taken from her the 
means to help herself. In speaking for woman, I must be heard 
from a domestic level of legal pauperism disenchanted of all politi- 
cal prestige. In appealing to the powers that be, I must appeal 
from sovereigns drunk to sovereigns sober, with eight chances in 
ten that the decision would be controlled by sovereigns drunk. 

To impress the paramount claim of women to a no-license law, 
without laying bare the legal and political disabilities that make 
them " the greatest sufferers," the helpless victims of the liquor 
traffic, was impossible. It would have been stupidly unwise to with- 
hold what with a majority of voters is the weightier consideration, 
that in alienating from women their earnings, governments impose 
upon community taxes for the support of the paupered children of 
drunken fathers, whose mothers would joyfully support and train 
them for usefulness ; and who, as a rule, have done so when by the 
death or divorce of the husband they have regained the control of 
their earnings and the custodv of their children. Thus proving, that 

Talk on Merf* Biyhts. 183 

man, by Ins disabling laws, has made woman helpless and depen- 
and not God. who has endowed her with capabilities e<|iial to th 
sponsibilities He has imp >sed. 

Worse than unwise would it have been to allow an unjii.-t preju- 
dice against Woman's Rights, to turn the edge of my appeals tor a 
law in the interest of temperance, when by showing the connection, 
as of cause and effect, between men's rights and women's wrongs, 
between women's /^-rights and their helplessness and dependence, I 
could disarm that prejudice and win an intelligent support for both 
temperance and equal rights. On such a showing I based my appeals 
to the noble men and women of Wisconsin. I assured my audiei 
that I had not come to talk to them of " Woman's Rights," that in- 
deed I did not find that women had any rights in the matter, but to 
" suffer and be still ; to die and give no sign." But I had come to 
them to speak of man's rig/its and woman's needs. 

From the Lake Shore cities, from the inland villages, the shire 
towns, and the mining communities of the Mississippi, who-,.- 
churches, court-houses, and halls, with two or three exceptions, 
could not hold the audiences, much less seat them ; the responses 
were hearty, and when outspoken, curiously alike in language as well 
as sentiment on the subject of rights. " I like Mrs. Nichols' idea of 
talking man's rights ; the result will be woman's rights," said a 
gentleman rising in his place in the audience at the close of one of 
my lectures. On another occasion, " Let Mrs. Nichols go on talking 
men's rights and we'll have women's rights." "Mrs. Nichols has 
made me ashamed of myself ashamed of my sex ! I didn't know 
we had been so mean to the women," was the outspoken conclusion 
of a man who had lived honored and respected, his threescore ; 
and ten. This reaction from the curiosity and doubt which every- 
where met us in the expressive faces of the people, often reminded 
me of an incident in my Vermont labors for a Maine law. 

In accepting an invitation to address an audience of ladies in the 
aristocratic old town of C , in an adjoining county, I had sug- 
gested, that as it was votes we needed, I would prefer to address an 
audience of both sexes. Arrived at C- , I found that the 1 
of the committee, having acted upon my suggestion, were inn : 
anxious as to the result. "An audience," they said, u could DO 
collected to listen to woman's rights; the people were sensitive 
even to the innovation of a mixed audience for a woman, and they 
felt that I ought to be informed of the facts/' And I felt in every 
nerve, that they were suffering from fear lest I should fail to vindi- 
cate the womanliness of our joint venture. But the people came, a 

184 History of Woman Suffrage. 

church full ; intelligent, expectant, and curious to hear a woman 
The resident clergyman, of my own faith, declined to be present and 
open with prayer. A resident Universalist clergyman present, de- 
clined to pray. A young Methodist licentiate in the audience, not 
feeling at liberty to decline, tried. His ideas stumbled ; his words 
hitched, and when he prayed : " Bless thy serv a'hem thy hand- 
maid, and a'hein and let all things be done decently and in order; " 
we in the committee pew felt as relieved as did the young Timothy 
when he had achieved his amen ! 

Utterly unnerved by the anxious faces of my committee, I turned 
to my audience with only the inspiration of homes devastated and 
families paupered, to sustain me in a desperate exhibit of the need 
and the " determination of women, impelled by the mother-love that 
shrinks neither from fire or flood, to rescue their loved ones from 
the fires and floods of the liquor traffic, though to do so they must 
make their way through every platform and pulpit in the land ! " 
" Thank God ! " exclaimed the licentiate on my right. " Amen ! " 
emphasized the chairman on my left. My committee were radiant. 
My audience had accepted woman's rights in her wrongs; and I 

only woman's recording angel can tell the sensations of a 

disfranchised woman when her " declaration of intentions " is en- 
dorsed by an Anti-Woman's Eights audience with fervent thanks to 

Latter-day laborers can have little idea of the trials of the early 
worker, driven by the stress of right and duty against popular prej- 
udices, to which her own training and early habits of thought have 
made her painfully sensitive. St. Paul, our patron saint, I think 
had just come through such a trial of his nerves when he wrote : 
" The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." The memory of the 
beautiful scenery, the charming Indian summer skies, the restful 
companionship of our family party in the daily drive, and the gen- 
erous hospitality of the people of Wisconsin, is one of the pleasant- 
est of a life, as full of sweet memories as of trials, amid and through 
which they have clung to me with a saving grace. 

The Temperance majority in the ensuing election, so far as influ- 
enced by canvassing agents, was due to the combined efforts of all 
who labored for it, and of these it was my good fortune to meet a 
younger brother of William H. and C. C. Burleigh, who from his 
man's stand-point of precedents and statistics did excellent service. 

The law enacted by the Legislature securing to the wives of 
drunkards their earnings and the custody and earnings of their 
minor children, I think I may claim as a result of appeals from the 

Lectures oti iJ M!ouri River. 185 

Lome stand-point of woman's sphere. As a financial measure divert- 
ing the supplies and lessening the profits of the liquor traffic, this 
law is a civil service reform of no mean promise for the abatement 
of pauper and criminal taxes. In a plea of counsel for defendant 
in a case of wife-beating to which I once listened, said the gentle- 
manly attorney : " If Patrick will let the bottle alone" " Please, 
jour honor,' 3 broke in the weeping wife, " if you will stop Misthur 
Kelly from filling it." 


In October, 1854, with my two eldest sons, I joined a company 
of two hundred and twenty-five men, women, and children, emi- 
grants from the East to Kansas. In our passage up the Missouri 
.River I gave two lectures by invitation of a committee of emigrants 
and Captain Choteau and brother, owners of the boat. A pious 
M.D. was terribly shocked at the prospect, and hurried his young 
wife to bed, but returned to the cabin himself in good time to hear. 
As the position was quite central, and I wished to be heard dis- 
tinctly by the crowd which occupied all the standing room around 
the cabin, 1 took my stand opposite the Doctor's berth. Next morn- 
ing, poor man ! his wife was an outspoken advocate of woman's 
rights. The next evening she punched his ribs vigorously, at every 
point made for suffrage, which was the subject of my second lecture. 

The 1st of November, 1854 a day never to be forgotten heaven 
and earth clasped hands in silent benedictions on that band of immi- 
grants, some on foot, some on horseback, women and children, 
seventy-five in number, with the company's baggage, in ox-carts 
and wagons drawn by the fat, the broken-down, and the indifferent 
4i hacks " of wondering, scowling Missouri, scattered all along the 
prairie road from Kansas City to Lawrence, the Mecca of their 

In advance of all these, at 11 o'clock A.M., Mrs. II and n:_ 

were sitting in front of the Lawrence office of the New England 
Emigrant Aid Company, in the covered wagon of lion. S. C. Pome- 
roy, who had brought us from Kansas City, and entered the office 
to announce the arrival of our company ; \vhen a hilarious explosion 
of several voices assured us that good lungs as well as brave h 
were within. Directly Col. P. and Dr. (Governor) Robinson cam<> 
out. " Did you hear the cheering?" asked the Doctor. "I did, 
and was thinking when you came out, what a popular man the Col- 
onel must be to call forth such a greeting I " " But the cheers were 
for Mrs. Nichols," was the reply ; and the Doctor proceeded to t-Il 
as that, "the boys" had been hotly discussing women's rights, when 

186 History of Woman Suffrage. 

one of their advocates who had heard her lecture, expressed a wish 
that his opponents could hear Antoinette Brown on the subject ; a 
second wished they could hear Susan B. Anthony ; and a third 
wished they could hear Mrs. Nichols. On the heels of these wishes,, 
the announcement of Colonel Pomeroy, that " Mrs. Nichols was at 
the door," was the signal for triumphant cheering. "The boys"' 
wanted a lecture in the evening. The Doctor said : " No ; Mrs, 
Nichols is tired. To-morrow the thatching of the church will be 
completed, and she can dedicate the building." 

Thus truths sown broadcast among the stereotyped beliefs and 
prejudices of the old and populous communities of the East, had 
wrought a genial welcome for myself and the advocacy of woman's 
cause on the disputed soil of Kansas. But, alas ! for the " stony 
ground." One of "the boys" didn't stay to the "dedication."" 
He had " come to Kansas to get away from the women," and left 
at once for Leaven worth. I wonder if the Judge he is that now r 
and a benedict remembers ? I still regret that lost opportunity 
for making his acquaintance. 

At Lawrence, the objective point of all the Free State immigra- 
tion, where I spent six weeks in assisting my sons to make a home 
for the winter, I mingled freely with the incoming population, and 
gave several lectures to audiences of from two to three hundred, the 
entire population coming together at the ringing of the city dinner- 
bell. I returned to Vermont early in January, 1855, and in April 
following, with two hundred and fifty emigrants (my husband and 
younger son accompanying me), rejoined my other sons in the 
vicinity of Baldwin City, where we took claims and commenced 
homes. I presented the whole subject of Woman's Eights on the 
boats in going and returning, as at first, by invitation. In the sum- 
mer of 1855, delegates were elected to a Constitutional Convention^ 
which later convened at Topeka. Governor Robinson, who with 
'six other delegates voted for the exclusion of the word "male" 
from qualification for elector, sent me an invitation to attend its 
sessions, speak before it for woman's equality, and they would vote 
me a secretary's or clerk's position in the Convention. My husband's 
fatal illness prevented me from going. 

In January, 1856, I returned from Kansas to Vermont, widowed 
and broken in health, to attend to matters connected with my hus- 
band's estate. Prevented by the ruffian blockade of the Missouri 
from returning as intended, I spent some time in the summer and 
all of the autumn of 1856 and January, 1857, lecturing upon Kansas, 
the character and significance of its political involvements, its promise 

Horace Greeley Suggest*. 187 

and importance as a free or slave* State, and its claims to an em< 
support in the interest of freedom. In September, bein^ npi>< 
to by the "'Kansas National Aid Committee," at the instance of 
Horace Greeley, I engaged for two months in a canvass of Western 
New York, lecturing and procuring the appointment of committees 
of women to collect supplies for the suffering people of Kansas ; my 
two oldest sons, C. H. and A. O. Carpenter being among its armed 
defenders, the latter having been wounded in the fight between the 
invaders under Captain Pate and the forces under John Brown and 
Captain S. Shores, at Black Jack. 

Between May, 1856, and February, 1857 (not counting my engage- 
ment with the Aid Committee), I gave some fifty Kansas lectures 
in the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecti- 
cut, Pennsylvania, and New York, followed occasionally by one or 
two lectures on the legal and political disabilities of women ; receiv- 
ing more invitations on both subjects than I could possibly fill. 

My experiences in these semi-political labors were often racy, 
never unsatisfactory. In a public conveyance one day, an honest 
old Pennsylvania farmer asked if I was " the lady who made an 
appointment to speak in his place on Kansas, and did not come ? " 
I replied that I had filled all the appointments made for me with 
my knowledge ; that I made a point of keeping my promises. " I 
believe you, ma'am," said he. " I suspicioned then it was jest a 
republican trick. You see, ma'am, our folks all are dimocrats and 
wouldn't turn out to hear the republican speakers ; so they appointed 
a meeting for you and everybody turned out, for we'd hearn of your 

lectures. But instid of you, General D and Lawyer C 

came, and w r e were mad enough. I was madder, 'cause I'd opened 
my house, seem' as it was the largest and most convenient in the 

Occasionally I stumbled on a loose segment of woman's sphere, 
even among the friends of "free Kansas." In a populous Vermont 
village, at a meeting called for the purpose, a committee was ap- 
pointed to invite me to speak, composed of the two clergymen of 

the village and Judge S . Reverend W excused himself 

from the service on the ground of u conscientious scruples as to the 

propriety of women speaking in public." Judge S , a man who 

for a quarter of a century had, by a racy combination of wit and 
logic, maintained his ground against the foes of temperance and 
freedom, with inimitable gravity thanked the audience for the honor 
conferred on him ; adding, " I have no conscientious scruples about 
getting desirable information wherever I can find it." 

188 History of Woman Suffrage. 

In Sinclairville, Chautauque County, New York, where I arrived 
late, in consequence of a railroad accident, I found a crowded church. 
A gentleman introduced to me as " Mr. Bull " was sitting at a table 
in the extreme front corner of the spacious platform, recording the 
names and advance payments of a class in music, which, as I had 
been told outside, was being organized by a gentleman who had 
arrived with the news of my probable detention. 

During the next half hour gentlemen rose at three several times 

and requested Mr. B to " postpone the class business till the 

close of the lecture : that people had come from a distance to hear 
the lecture, and were anxious to return home, the night being dark 
and rainy." " I will be through soon. I like to finish a thing when 
I begin." " There'll be time enough," were the several replies, 
given in a tone and with an emphasis that suggested to my mind a 
doubt of the speaker's sympathy with my subject. When the clock 
pointed to eight, I quietly took my seat in the desk and was smooth- 
ing my page of notes when there fell on my astonished ear u I was 
about to introduce the lady speaker, but she has suddenly disap- 
peared." Stepping forward, I said, u Excuse me, sir; as the hour 
is very late I took my place to be in readiness when you should be 
through with your class." " Madam, you will speak on this plat- 
form." u 1 noticed, sir, that I could not see my audience from the 
platform, also that the desk was lighted for me." "Madam, you 
can't speak in that pulpit ! " " This is very strange. Will you give 
me your reasons ? " " It's none of your business ! " " Indeed, sir, 
I do not understand it. Will you give me your authority ? " " It's 
my pulpit, and if you speak in this house to-night you speak from 
this platform ! " " Excuse me, sir ; I mistook you for the music- 
teacher, who, as I was told, was organizing a class in music." And 
stepping quickly to the platform to restore the equanimity of the 
house, I remarked, as indicating my position, that my self-respect 
admonished me to be the lady always, no matter how ungentlemanly 
the treatment I might receive ; that the cause of humanity, the 
cause of suffering Kansas was above all personal considerations, and 
proceeded with my lecture. 

At the close, Mr. B arose and said : " I owe this audience an 

apology for my ungentlemanly language to Mrs. Nichols. I am 
aware that I shall get into the public prints, and I wish to set my- 
self right." A gentleman in the audience rose and moved, " that 

we excuse the Rev. R. B for his ungentlemanly language to 

Mrs. Nichols to-night, on the score of his ignorance." The mo- 
tion was seconded with emphasis by a man of venerable presence. 

A ClerytfiiKtn 1-ttlnil, 189 

k - Fru-ii'ls." I appealed, ^ this \s a personal matter; it gives me no 
i- rn. It will affect neither me nor my work. Please name suita- 
ble women for the committee of relief which I am here to ask/' 

Business being concluded, I turned to Mr. B , who was shut in 

with me by a press of sympathizing friends, and expressed inv regret, 
that he should have said anything; to place him under the necessity 
of apologizing, adding, "but I hope in future you will remember 
the words of Solomon : ' Greater is he that controlleth his own 
.-pirit, than he that taketh a city.' Good-night, sir." I learned that 
a few months before he had prevented his people from inviting An- 
toinette Brown to speak to them on Temperance, by declaring that 
he would never set his foot in a pulpit that had been occupied by 
a woman." When three weeks later I heard of his dismissal from 

his charge in S , I could appreciate the remark of his brother 

clergyman in a neighboring town, to whom I related the incident, 

that " Brother B is rather given to hooking with those horns of 

his, but he's in hot water now." 

In the winter and spring of 1856, 1 had, by invitation of its editor, 
written a series of articles on the subject of woman's legal disabili- 
ties, preparatory to a plea for political equality, for the columns of the 
Kansas Herald of Freedom,, the last number of which went down 
with the "form " and press of the office to the bottom of the Kansas 
river, when the Border ruffians sacked Lawrence in 1856. 

In March, 1857, 1 again returned to Kansas, and with my daughter 
and youngest son, made a permanent home in Wyandotte County. 

The Constitution was adopted in November, 1859, by popular 
vote. In January, 1860, Kansas having been admitted to the Union, 
the first State Legislature met at Topeka, the capital of the new 
State. 1 attended its sessions, as I had those of the Convention, 
and addressed both in behalf of justice for the women of the State, 
as delegate of the Kansas Woman's Eights Association. This 
Association was formed in the spring of 1859 with special reference 
to the Convention which had already been called to meet in the July 
following, in the city of Wyandotte. 

The Association if I recollect aright numbered some twenty- 
five earnest men and women of the John Brown type, living in 
Moneka, Linn County ; John O. Wattles, President ; Susan Wattles, 
Secretary. Wendell Phillips, treasurer of the Francis Jackson 
Woman's Rights Fund, guaranteed payment of expenses, and the 
Association sent me, with limited hopes and unstinted blessings, to 
canvass the principal settlements in the Territory, obtain names to 
petitions and represent them if allowed by courtesy of the Conven- 

190 History of Woman Suffrage. 

tion in behalf of equal civil and political rights for the women of 
the State to be organized. I was appealed to as the only woman 
in the Territory who had experience and could take the field, which 
was I believe true. 

We had no material for Conventions, and the population was so 
sparse, distances so great, and means of conveyance and communi- 
cation so slow and uncertain, that I felt sure an attempt at Conven- 
tions would be disastrous, only betraying the weakness of our re- 
serves, for I must have done most, if not all the speaking. 

It was the policy of the Republicans to " keep shady," as a party. 
John Wattles came to Wyandotte before I addressed the Conven- 
tion, counseled with members, and reported to me that u I didn't 
need him, that it was better that no man appear in it." 

After spending some four weeks in the field, I went to the Con- 
vention, and with a very dear friend, Mrs. Lucy B. Armstrong, of 
Wyandotte, was given a permanent seat beside the chaplain, Rev. 
Mr. Davis, Presiding Elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
of the District, which 1 occupied till the adjournment of the Con- 
vention, laboring to develop an active and corresponding interest in 
outsiders as well as members, until my petitions had been acted upon 
and the provisions finally passed ; purposely late in the session. 

Having at the commencement, only two known friends of our 
cause among the delegates to rely upon for its advocacy, against the 
compact opposition of the sixteen Democratic members, and the 
bitter prejudices of several of the strongest Republicans, including 
the first Chief Justice of the new State and its present unrecon- 
structed Senator Ingalls, an early report upon our petitions would 
have been utter defeat. Perpistent " button-holing " of the dele- 
gates, any " unwomanly obtrusiveness '' of manners, a vague ap- 
prehension of which, at that period of our movement, was associ- 
ated in the minds of eren good men and women, with the advocacy 
of the cause, was the " big-'fraid " followed by more than one 
" little 'f raid," that made my course one of anxiety, less only than 
nay faith in the ultimate adoption of the provisions named. 

Of political suffrage I had, as I confidentially told my friends of 
the Association, no hope, and for the very reason given me later by 
members of the Convention who consented to school suffrage; viz : 
" even if endorsed by popular vote, such a provision would probably 
defeat admission to the Union." None the less, however, was the 
necessity for disarming the prejudices and impressing upon dele- 
gates and citizens the justice of the demand for political enfran- 

/ will 8ign tic />Y//." 191 

Fortunately, the hospitable tea-table of Mrs. Armstrong, with 
whom I was domiciled for the session, offered abundant womanly 
opportunity for conference and discussion with delegates; and in 
the homes of leading citizens I met a hearty sympathy which I can 
never forget. 

During a recess of the Convention, a friendly member introduced 
me to Governor Medary, as " the lady who, by vote of the Conven- 
tion, will speak here this evening in behalf of equal Constitutional 
rights for the women of Kansas." " But, Mrs. Nichols, you would 
not have women go down into the muddy pool of politics? " asked 
the Governor. " Even so, Governor, I admit that you know best 
how muddy that pool is, but you remember the Bethesda of old ; 
how r the angel had to go in and trouble the waters before the sick 
could be healed. So I would have the angels trouble this muddy 
pool that it may be well with the people; for you know, Governor 
Medary, that this people is very sick. But here is a petition to 
which I am adding names as I find opportunity ; will you place 
your name on the roll of honor?" "Not now, Madam, not now. 
1 will sign the ~bill" And the Governor, quite unconscious of his 
mistake, with a smile and a bow, hurried away amid the good-nat- 
ured raillery of the little circle that had gathered around us. But 
it was Governor Robinson, the life-long friend of woman and a free 
humanity, that had the pleasure of " signing the bills." 

In compliance with the earnest request of delegates, supported by 
the action of the Association, I labored from the adjournment of 
the Convention till the vote on the adoption of the Constitution, to 
" remove the prejudices " as the delegates expressed it " of their 
constituents, against the Woman's Eights provisions" of that docu- 
ment. The death of Mr. Wattles on the eve of the campaign sent 
me alone into the lecture field. For with the exception of Hon. 
Charles Robinson, our first State Governor, and always an outspoken 
friend of our cause, the politicians in the field either ignored or 
ridiculed the idea of women being entitled under the school pro- 
vision to vote. 

At Bloomington, when I had presented its merits in contrast with 
existing legal provisions, a venerable man in the audience rose and 
remarked that the Hon. James H. Lane, in addressing them a few 
days before, denied that the provision regarding Common Schools 
meant anything more than equal educational privileges, and that 
the Courts would so decide. That it would never do to allow women 
.to vote, for only vile women would go to the polls. And no\v. 
.added the old gentleman, " I would like to hear what Mrs. .Nichols 

192 History of Woman Suffrage. 

has to say on this point ? " Taking counsel only of my indignation y 
I replied : " Mrs. Nichols has to say, that vile men who seek out 
vile women elsewhere, may better meet them at the polls under the- 
eyes of good men and good women : " and dropped into my seat 'mid 
a- perfect storm of applause, in which women joined as heartily as- 

Policy restrained the few Republican members who' had voted 
against the provisions* from open opposition, and the more that 
everywhere Democrats, whom I appealed to as " friends in political 
disguise," treated me with marked courtesy ; often contributing to- 
my expenses. One such remarked, " There, Mrs. Nichols, is a Dem- 
ocratic half-dollar ; I like your Woman's Eights." 

At Troy, Don. Co., sitting behind the closed shutters of an open win- 
dow, I heard outside a debate between Republicans and Democrats 
One of the latter, an ex-Secretary of the Territory, at one time act- 
ing Governor, and a member of the Constitutional Convention, who 
had dwelt much on the superior prerogatives of the Anglo-Saxon 
race, was saying, " You go for political equality with the negro ; we 
Democrats won't stand that, it would demoralize the white man." 
On my way to lecture in the evening, a friend forewarned me 
that the ex-Secretary, with two or three of his political stripe, had 
engaged a shrewd Democratic lawyer, by getting him half drunk, 
to reply to me. So when in my concluding appeal I turned as usu- 
al to the Democrats, I narrated the above incident and bowed smil- 
ingly to the ex-Secretary, with whom I was acquainted, and said, 
" Gentlemen who turn up their c Anglo-Saxon ' noses at the idea of 
6 political equality with the negro,' as demoralizing to the white man, 
forget that in all these years the white woman has been ' on a politi- 
cal equality with the negro ' ; they forget, that in keeping their own 
mothers, wives and daughters in the negro pew, to save them from 
demoralization by political equality with the white man, they are 
paying themselves a sorry compliment." The drunken lawyer was 
quietly hustled out by his friends, the Democrats themselves joining 
the audience in expressions of respect at the close of my lecture. But 

* The head and front of the opposition was Judge Kingman, Chairman of the Judiciary 
Committee, to which, with the Committee on Elections, my petition was referred. He wrote 
the Report against granting our demand, and of those who signed it all but (Gen.) Blunt 
and himself were Democrats. The report was adopted by a solid vote of the Democrats 
(16), and enough Republicans to make a majority. Thirty-six Republicans and 16 Dem- 
ocrats comprised the whole delegation. If my memory is not at fault, 27 Republicans 
voted in caucus for the provisions which were ultimately carried in our behalf, which was 
*>. majority of the whole Convention. In caucus a majority were in favor of political 
rights ; but only a minority, from conviction that Woman Suffrage would prevent admission 
to the Union, would vote it in Convention. 

Why I Wtnt to Kansas. 198 

these from hundreds of telling incidents must suffice to initiate YOU 
in the spirit of that ever memorable campaign. 

In 1854, when I was about leaving Vermont for Kansas, an car- 
nest friend of our cause protested that I was " going to bury myself 
in Kansas, just as I had won an influence and awakened a pub- 
lic sentiment that assured the success of our demand for equal rights." 
I replied that it was a thousand times more difficult to procure the 
repeal of unjust laws in an old State, than the adoption of just laws 
in the organization of a new State. That I could accomplish more 
for woman, even the women of the old States, and with less effort, 
in the new State of Kansas, than I could in conservative old Ver- 
mont, whose prejudices were so much stronger than its convictions, 
that justice to women must stand a criminal trial in every Court of 
the State to win, and then pay the costs. 

My husband went to Kansas for a milder climate ; my sons to 
make homes under conditions better suited than the old States to 
their tastes and means. I went to work for a Government of 
" equality, liberty, fraternity," in the State to be. 

I had learned from my experience with the legal fraternity, that as 
a profession they were dead-weights on our demands, and the reason 
why. When pressed to logical conclusions, which they were always 
quick to see, and in fair proportion to admit, were in our favor, they 
almost invariably retreated under the plea that the reforms we asked 
" being fundamental, would destroy the harmony of the statutes ! " 
And I had come to the conclusion that it would cost more time and 
effort to disrupt the woman's " disabilities " attachment from the 
legal and political harmoiiicoris of the old States, than it would to se- 
cure vantage ground for legal and political equality in the new. T be- 
lieved then and believe now that Woman Suffrage would have received 
a majority vote in Kansas if it could have been submitted unembar- 
rassed by the possibility of its being made a pretext for keeping 
Kansas out of the Union. And but for Judge Kingman, I believe 
it would have received the vote of a majority in convention. He 
played upon the old harmonicon, "organic law," and "the harmony 
of the statutes." 

My pleas before the Constitutional Convention and the people, 
were for equal legal and political rights for women. In detail 1 
asked : 

1st. Equal educational rights and privileges in all the schools and 
institutions of learning fostered or controlled by the State. 

2d. An equal right in all matters pertaining to the organization 
and conduct of the Common Schools. 

194 History of Woman Suffrage. 

3d. Recognition of the mother's equal right with the father to the 
control and custody of their mutual offspring. 

4th. Protection in person, property, and earnings for married 
women and widows the same as for men. 

The first three were fully granted. In the final reading, King- 
man changed the wording of the fourth, so as to leave the Legislature 
a chance to preserve the infamous common law right to personal 
services. There were too many old lawyers in the Convention. The 
Democracy had four or five who pulled with Kingman, or he with 
them against us. Not a Democrat put his name to the Constitution 
when adopted. 

The debate published in the Wyandotte Gazette of July 13, 1859, 
on granting Mrs. Nichols a hearing in the Constitutional Convention, 
and the Committee's report on the Woman's Petition, furnishes a 
page of history of which some of the actors, at least, will have no 
reason to read with special pride. 


The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom in connection with the Committee 
on Franchise was referred the petition of sundry citizens of Kansas, " protest- 
ing against any constitutional distinctions based on difference of sex," have 
had the same under consideration, and beg leave to make the following report : 

Your Committee concede the point in the petition upon which the right is 
claimed, that " the women of the State have individually an evident common 
interest with its men in the protection of life, liberty, property, and intellectual 
culture, and are not disposed to deny, that sex involves greater and more 
complex responsibilities, but the Committee are compelled to dissent from con- 
clusion of petition ; they think the rights of women are safe in present hands. 
The proof that they are so is found in the growing disposition on the part of 
different Legislatures to extend and protect their rights of property, and in the 
enlightened and progressive spirit of the age which acts gently, but effi- 
ciently upon the legislation of the day. Such rights as are natural are now 
enjoyed as fully by women as men. Such rights and duties as arc merely polit- 
ical they should be relieved from, that they may have more time to attend to 
those greater and more complicated responsibilities which petitioners claim, and 
which your Committee admit devolves upon woman. 

All of which is respectfully submitted. 



In the spring of 1858, having arranged my home affairs, I set 
about the prosecution of a plan for widening the area of woman's 
work and influence on the Missouri border. Separated only by the 

Colonel Scott, of St. Joa^Jt. 195 

a-plowed river 1'n in my K-msas home, Missouri towns and ham- 
lets lay invitingly before me. For more thau three years I had la-Id 
my opportunity in reserve. The time to improve it seemed to have 

When our company landed at Kansas City, October, 1854, mem- 
bers of a Missouri delegation opposed to the Free State emigre 
to that Territory met us. More than half the company that pre- 
ceded ours had been turned back by their representations without a 
look at the territory. As our boat touched the landing, Col. Scott, 
of St. Joseph, stepped on board, and commenced questioning Hon. 
K. M. Thurston, of Maine, who, as Committee of Arrangements for 
the transfer of the company's baggage, excused himself, and turning 
to me, added : " Here, sir, is a lady who can give you the informa- 
tion you desire Mrs. Nichols, editor of the Windham County 
Democrat" In accepting the introduction, I caught the surprised 
and quizzical survey of a pair of keen, black eyes, culminating in 
an unmistakable expression of humorous anticipation ; and, certain 
that my interviewer was intelligent and a gentleman, I resolved to 
follow his lead in kind. " Madam," he inquired, " can you tell me 
where all these people are from, and where they are going ? " They 
arc from the New England States, and are going to Kansas. " And 
what are they going to do in Kansas ? " Make homes and surround 
themselves with the institutions, social and political, to which they 
are accustomed. " But, madam, they can't make homes on the Kan- 
sas prairies with free labor ; it is impossible ! " 

"Why, sir, our ancestors felled the primitive forests and cleared 
the ground to grow their bread, but Kansas prairies are ready for 
the plow ; their rank grasses invite the flocks and herds. Do you 
know what a country we come from ? did you never hear how in 
New Hampshire and Yermont the sheeps' noses have to be sharp- 
ened, so that they can pluck the spires of grass from between the 
rocks ? 

AVith a humorous, give-it-up sort of laugh, he remarked, abruptly : 
" You are an editor ; do you ever lecture ? " Sometimes I do. 
" On what subjects ?" Education, Temperance, Woman's Right> 
" Oh, woman's rights ! Will you go to St. Joseph and lecture on 
woman's rights ? Our people are all anxious to hear on that 
ject." Why, sir, I am an Abolitionist, and they would tar and 
feather me ! " You don't say anything about slavery in your wom- 
an's rights' lectures, do you ?" No, sir ; I never mix things. 

After a sharp, but good natured tilt on the slavery question, the 
Colonel returned to the lecture, about which he was so evidently in 

196 History of Woman Suffrage. 

earnest guaranteeing "a fine audience, courteous treatment, and 
ample compensation " ; that I gave a promise to visit St. Joseph on 
my return if there should be time before the closing of navigation, 
a promise I was prevented from fulfilling. And now after three 
years, in which the emigrants had made homes and secured them 
against the aggressions of the slave power, I wrote him that if the 
people of St. Joseph still wished to hear, and it pleased him to 
renew his guarantees of aid and protection, I was at leisure to lect- 
ure on woman's rights. His reply was prompt ; his assurances 
hearty. I had " only to name the time," and I would find every- 
thing in readiness. That the truce-like courtesy of the compact 
between us may be appreciated, I copy a postscript appended to his 
letter and a postscript in reply added to my note of appointment ; 
with the explanation, that in our Kansas City interview, the Colonel 
had declared the negro incapable of education, and that emancipa- 
tion would result in amalgamation. 

Postscript No. 1. Have you tried your experiment of education 
on an} T little nigger yet ? J. S. 

Postscript No. 2. No, I have not tried my educational experi- 
ment, for the reason that the horrid amalgamationists preceded us, 
and so bleached the "niggers" that I have not been able to find a 
pure-blood specimen. C. I. H. N. 

The subject of slavery was not again mentioned between us. And 
when we shook hands in the cabin of the steamer at parting, he 
remarked, with a manly frankness in grateful contrast with the 
covert contempt felt, rather than expressed, in his previous courte- 
sies, that he thought it proper I should know, that my audiences, 
composed of the most intelligent and respectable people of St. 
Joseph, were pleased with my lectures. One of its most eminent 
citizens had said to him, that he " had not thought of the subject in 
the light presented, but he really could see no objection to women 

Only one lecture had been proposed. By a vote of my audience 
I gave a second, and had reason to feel that I had effectually broken 
ground in Missouri ; that I had not only won a respectful consider- 
ation for woman's cause and its advocacy, but improved my oppor- 
tunity to vindicate New England training, in face of Southern prej- 
udices. One little episode, as rich in its significance, as in the 
inspiration it communicated, will serve to round out my St. Joseph 

In introducing me to my audience, the Colonel remembering, 
perhaps, that I did not " mix things," or feeling that he might trust 

Hurried Consultations. 107 

my consciousness of being cornered on the slavery queetion re- 
marked in a vein of' courteously concealed irony : " It looks very 
strange to us for a lady to speak in public, but we must ivmi>mlu'r 
that in the section of country from which this lady comes, the 
necessity of self-support bears equally upon women, and crowds 
them out of domestic life into vocations more congenial to the 
sterner sex. Happily our domestic institutions, by relieving \v. -men 
of the necessity to labor, protect them in the sacred privacy of 

In his ignorance of the subject, my friend had unwittingly roined 
the bow. In bringing his " domestic institution " to the front, he 
had so "mixed things," that in my showing of the legal disabilities 
of women, of the Bright of the white wife and mother to herself, 
her children, and her earnings, my audience could not fail to 
appreciate the anomalous character of a " protection " so pathetically 
suggestive of the legal level of the slave woman, to which man, in 
his greed of wealth and power, had " crowded" both. 

Some months later, at the breakfast-table of a Missouri Kiver 
steamer, a gentleman of St. Joseph recognized me, and reported 
my lectures to ex-Governor Rollins, who was also on board, and 
asked an introduction. After a long and pleasant discussion with 
the Governor, who entered at once upon the subject, in its lei^al, 
political, and educational aspects, it was agreed that I should lecture 
at my earliest convenience in several of the principal towns of the 
State, the capital included; the Governor himself proposing to com- 
municate with influential citizens to make the necessary a IT.-: 

An early compliance with my promise was prevented by the Kan- 
sas movement for a constitutional convention ; my connection with 
which left me no leisure till late in the autumn, when I commenced 
my proposed lecture course in Missouri by an appointment at West- 
port, by arrangement of a gentleman of that place, whose acquaint- 
ance I had made in my Kansas campaign. Arrived at the Westport 
hotel, where my entertainment had been bespoken, I was taken by the 
landlady to her own cosy sitting-room, and made pleasantly at home. 
Later in the day I became aware of considerable excitement in the 
bar-room and street of the town. The landlord held several hurried 
consultations with his wife in the ante-room. My dinner was served 
in the private room, it " being more pleasant," my hostess said, 
"than eating at the public table with a lot of strange men." An 
hour after time, the gentleman who was to call for myself and the 
landlady, announced an assembly of a "dozen rude boys," and that 

198 History of Woman Suffrage. 

in consequence of the news of John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry 
(of which I had not before heard), the excitement was such that he 
could not persuade the ladies to come out. With some hesitation 
he added, that it u had even been suggested that I might be an 
emissary or accomplice, in what was suspected to be a general and 
preconcerted abolition movement." This explained the question- 
ings of my hostess, and the provision against any possible rudeness 
which I might have received from the " strange men " at the public 
table. Thus ended my projected campaign in Missouri. For every 
city and hamlet in the State was so haunted by the marching spirit 
of the Kansas hero, that to have suggested a lecture on any subject 
from a known Abolitionist, would have ruined the political prospects 
of even an ex-Governor. 

Three years later, assisted by a former resident of Kansas, I lect- 
ured to a very small, but respectful audience in Kansas City ; and 
in the spring of 1867 was invited by a committee of ladies to lecture 
at a Fair of the Congregational Society of that city, with accompany- 
ing assurances from the pastor and his wife, of their confidence in 
the salutary influence of such a lecture, on a community which had 
been recently treated to an unfriendly presentation of the woman's 
rights movement and its advocates. I was too ill at the time to 
leave home, but the difference between my anxious efforts three 
years before to be heard, and this more than cordial assurance of a 
waiting audience, was a happy tonic. It was from persons who 
knew me only through my advocacy of woman's equality, and evi- 
denced the progress of our cause. 

In December, 1854, on my return from Kansas to Vermont, I 
spent several days in St. Louis, in the pleasant family of my friend, 
Mrs. Frances D. Gage, who, very much to my regret, was away in 
Illinois. The Judge having recently removed to the city, the family 
were comparatively strangers ; Abolitionists in a pro-slavery commu- 
nity. Mrs. Gage, I think, had broken ground for temperance, but 
they could tell me of no friends to woman's rights. Rev. Mr. 
Elliot was not then one of us, as I learned through a son of Mrs. 
Gage, who called on him in my behalf for the use of his lecture- 
room. I felt instinctively that, unfettered by home and business 
interests, I was less constrained than my friend, and resolved, if 
possible, to win a hearing for woman. Having secured a hall, I 
called at the business office of a gentleman of wealth and high social 
position a slave-holder and opposed to free Kansas, with whom I 
had formed a speaking acquaintance in Brattleboro' and procured 
from him a voucher for my respectability. Armed with this I 

Lectures in .sv. L< 

called on the editors of the RepiMia -la\vm, and seen: 

paid notice of my lecture. Ihe editor of the Democrat, who had 
an interest in free Kansas, and was glad <>f news items from ita 
immigrants, received me cordially, and gave the " lady lecturer '' 
a handsome "personal," though he had no more interest in my 
subject than either of the other gentlemen, and gave me little 
encouragement of an audience. Nevertheless, when the evening 
came, I met an audience intelligent and respectful, and larger than 
I had ventured to expect, but not numerous enough to warrant the 
venture of a second lecture in the expensive hall, which from the 
refusal of church lecture-rooms, I had been obliged to occupy. But 
here, as often before and after, a good Providence interposed. Rev. 
Mr. Weaver, Universalist, claimed recognition as "a reader in his 
boyhood of Mrs. Nichols' paper" his father was a patron of the 
Windham County Democrat and tendered the use of his church 
for further lectures. I had found a friend of the cause. Ihe result 
was a full house, and hearty appeals for " more." 

As isolated, historical facts, how very trivial .all these "reminis- 
cences" appear ! How egotistical the pen that presumes upon any- 
thing like a popular interest in their perusal ! But to the social and 
political reformer, as to the Kanes and Livingstons, trifles teach the 
relations of things, and indicate the methods and courses of action 
that result in world-wide good or evil. Seeds carried by the winds 
and waves plant forests and beautify the waste places of the earth. 
Truths that flowed from the silent nib of my pen in Vermont, had 
been garnered in a boy's sympathies to yield me a man's welcome 
and aid in St. Louis. How clear the lesson, that for seed-sowing, 
all seasons belong to God's truth ! 

Ihe autumn and winter of 1860-61 I spent in Wisconsin and 
Ohio ; in Wisconsin, visiting friends and lecturing. In Ohio. 
Frances D. Gage, Mrs. Hannah Tracy Cutler, and myself wen 
ployed under direction of Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, of Salem, to can- 
vass the State, lecturing and procuring names to petitions to the 
Legislature for equal legal and political rights for the women of the 
State. Ihe time chosen for this work was inopportune for imme- 
diate success the opening scenes of the rebellion alike absorbing 
the attention of the people and their Legislature. Women in goodly 
numbers came out to hear, but men of all classo waited in 
streets, or congregated in public places to hear the new.- and discuss 
the political situation. 

From December, 1863, to March, 1866, I was in Wellington, 
D. C., writing in the Military or Eevenue Departments, or occupy- 

200 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ing the position of Matron in the Home for Colored Orphans, which 
had been opened in the second year of the rebellion, by the help of 
the Government and the untiring energy of a few noble women 
intent on saving the helpless waifs of slavery cast by thousands 
upon the bare sands of military freedom. 

In the autumn of 1867, the Legislature of Kansas having submit- 
ted to the voters of the State a woman suffrage amendment to its 
Constitution, I gave some four weeks to the canvass, which was 
engaged in by some of the ablest friends of the cause from other 
States, among them Lucy Stone, Kev. Olympia Brown, Elizabeth 
Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony. In our own State, among 
others, Governor Robinson, John Ritchie, and S. N. Wood of the 
old Free State Guard, rallied to the work. With the canvass of 
Atchisou and Jefferson Counties, and a few lectures in Douglass, 
Shawnee, and Osage Counties, 1 retired from a field overlaid with 
happy reminders of past trials merged in present blessings. The 
work was in competent hands, but the time was ill-chosen on account 
of the political complications with negro suffrage, and failure was 
the result. 

Since December, 1871, my home has been in California, where 
family cares and the infirmities of age limit my efforts for a freer 
and a nobler humanity to the pen. Trusting that love of God and 
man will ever point it with truth and justice., I close this expose of 
my public life. 


Women in the Revolution Anti-Tea Leagues Phillis Wheatley Mistress Anne Hutch- 
inson Heroines iu the Slavery Conflict Women Voting under the Colonial Charter 
Mary Upton Ferrin Petitions the Legislature in 1848 Woman's Rights Conventions 
in 1850, '51 Letter of Harriet Martineau from England Letter of Jeannie Deroine 
from a Prison Cell in Paris Editorial from The Christian Inquirer The Una, edited 
by Paulina Wright Davis Constitutional Convention in 1853 Before the Legislature in 
1857 Harriet K. Hunt's Protest against Taxation Lucy Stone's Protest against the 
Marriage Laws Boston Conventions Theodore Parker on Woman's Position. 

DURING the Revolutionary period, the country was largely indebted 
to the women of Massachusetts. Their patriotism was not only shown 
in the political plans of Mercy Otis Warren,* and the sagacious 
counsels of Abigail Smith Adams, but by the action of many other 
women whose names history has not preserved. It was a woman 
who sent Paul Revere on his famous ride from Boston to Concord, 
on the night of April 18, 1775, to warn the inhabitants of the ex- 
pected invasion of the British on the morrow. The church bells 
pealing far and near on the midnight air, roused tired sleepers hur- 
riedly to arm themselves against the invaders of their homes. 

During the war two women of Concord dressed in men's clothing, 
captured a spy bearing papers which proved of the utmost impor- 
tance to the patriot forces. 

* Mercy Otis, born at Barnstable, Mass., September 25, 1728, married James Warren, 
about 1754. Reference has been made to her correspondence with the eminent men of 
the Revolution. Aside from her patriotism, Mrs. Warren was a woman of high literary 
ability. She wrote several dramatic and satirical works in 1773, against the royal i-t,-, 
which, with two tragedies, were included in a volume of Dramatic and Miscellaneous 
Poems, published in 1790. She also wrote "A History of the Rise, Progress, and Termi- 
nation of the American Revolution, interspersed with Biographical, Political, and Monil 
Observations," in three volumes, published in Boston, 1805. Mrs. Warren lived quite 
into the present century, dying October 19, 1814. 

Mrs. Ellet, "Queens of Society," says : " In point of influence, Mercy Warren was the 
most remarkable woman who lived in the days of the American Revolution." 

Rochefoucauld, " Tour in the United States," says : " Seldom has a woman in any age 
acquired such ascendency by the mere force of a powerful intellect, and her influence 
continued through her life. 1 ' 

Generals Lee and Gates were among her correspondents ; Knox wrote : " I should be 
happy to receive your counsels from time to time." Mrs. Wa>hinirt<>n was fre<|ui'ntly 
entertained by Mrs. Warren, at one time when the former was in Massachusetts with the 
General, Mrs. Warren going with her chariot to headquarters at Cambridge for her. 


202 History of Woman Suffrage. 

During these early days, the women of various Colonies Virginia, 
New York, Khode Island, Massachusetts formed Anti-Tea Leagues, 
In Providence, R. I., young ladies took the initiative ; twenty- 
nine daughters of prominent families, meeting under the shade of 
the sycamore trees at Roger Williams' spring, there resolving to drink 
no more tea until the duty upon it was repealed. The name of one 
of these young ladies, Miss Coddington, has been preserved, to whose 
house they all adjourned to partake of a frugal repast ; hyperion* 
taking the place of the hated bohea. In Newport, at a gathering of 
ladies, where both hyperion and bohea were offered, every lady pres- 
ent refused the hated bohea, emblem of political slavery. In Bos- 
ton, early in 1769, the matrons of three hundred families bound 
themselves to use no more tea until the tax upon it was taken off. 
The young ladies also entered into a similar covenant, declaring they 
took this step, not from personal motives, but from a sense of pa- 
triotism and a regard for posterity, f Liberty, as alone making life of 
value, looked as sweet to them as to their fathers. The Women's- 
Anti-Tea Leagues of Boston were formed nearly five years previous 
to the historic " Boston Tea Party," when men disguised as Indians,, 
threw the East India Company's tea overboard, and six years be- 
fore the declaration of war. 

American historians ignoring woman after man's usual custom, 
have neglected to mention the fact that every paper in Boston was 
suspended during its invasion by the British, except the chief rebel 
newspapers of New England, The Massachusetts Gazette and North 
Boston News-Letter, owned and edited by a woman, Margaret 

They make small note of Women's Anti-Tea Leagues, and the many 
instances of their heroism during the Revolutionary period, equaling, 
as they did, any deeds of self-sacrifice and bravery that man himself 
can boast. 

The men of Boston, in 1YT3, could with little loss to themselves, 
throw overboard a cargo of foreign tea, well knowing that for the 
last five years this drink had not been allowed in their houses by the 
women of their own families. Their reputation for patriotism was 

* Dried leaves of the raspberry. LOSSING. 

fLossing, "Field-Book of the Revolution," says: "On February 9, 1769, the Mis- 
tresses of three hundred families met and formed a league, and upon the second day 
the young ladies assembled in great numbers, signing the following covenant: 'We, 
the daughters of those patriots who have, aud do now, appear for public interest, and in 
proper regard for their posterity as such, do, with pleasure, engage with them in deny- 
ing ourselves the drink of foreign tea, in hopes to frustrate a plan which tends to de- 
prive a whole country of all that is valuable in life." 

Anti-Tea Leagues. 

thus cheaply earned in destroying- what did n ,t belong to them and 
what was of no use to them. Their wives, daughters, nmtheix and 
si>ters drank raspberry, sage, and birch, lest by the use of fo: 
tea they should help rivet the chains of oppression upon their . 
try. AVliy should not the American Revolution have been rac 
ful, when women so nobly sustained republican principle.-, taking 
the initiative in self-sacrifice and pointing the path to man by pa- 
triotic example. 

In Massachusetts, as in other States, were also formed associations 
known as " Daughters of Liberty."* These organizations did much to 
fan the nascent flames of freedom. 

The first naval battle of the Revolution was fought at Mad 
Maine, then a part of Massachusetts. An insult having been 
offered its inhabitants, by a vessel in the harbor, the men of the sur- 
rounding country joined with them to avenge this indignity to their 
"Liberty Tree," arming themselves, from scarcity of powder, with 
scythes, pitchforks, and other implements of peace. At a settlement 
some twenty miles distant, a quantity of powder was discovered, after 
the men had left for Machias. What was to be done, was the im- 
mediate question. Every able-bodied man had already left, onlv 
small boys and men too aged or too infirm for battle having remained 
at home. Upon that powder reaching them the defeat of the British 
might depend. In this emergency the heroism of woman was shown. 
Two young girls, Hannah and Rebecca Weston, volunteered their 
services. It was no holiday excursion for them, but a trip filled with 
unseen dangers. The way led through a trackless forest, the route 
merely indicated by blazed trees. Bears, wolves, and wild-cats were 
numerous. The distance was impossible to be traversed in a single 
day ; these young girls must spend the night in that dreary wil- 
ness. "Worse than danger from wild animals, was that to be 
apprehended from Indians, who might kill them, or capture and 
bear them away to some distant tribe. But undauntedly they set out 
on their perilous journey, carrying twenty pounds of powder. They 
icd Machias in safety, before the attack on the British ship, find- 
ing their powder a most welcome and effective aid in the victory 
which soon crowned the arms of the Colonists. The heroism of 
these young girls was far greater than if they had fought in the 

*Lossing's " Field-Book of the Revolution " states that on the 12th of Jinx-, l " 
4< Daughters of Liberty," met at the house of pastor Mooruhead, in such numl-ms that in 
one afternoon they spun two hundred and ninety skeins of fine yarn, which tiny pre- 
sented to him. After supper they were joined by many u Sons of Liberty," who united 
with the "Daughters" in patriotic sonirs 

204 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ranks, surrounded by companions, 'mid the accompaniments of beat- 
ing drums, waving flags, and all the paraphernalia of war. 

In the war of 1812 two young girls of Scituate, Rebecca and 
Abigail W. Bates, by their wit and sagacity, prevented the landing 
of the enemy at this point.* Congress, during its session of 1880, 
nearly seventy years afterward, granted them pensions, just as from 
extreme age they were about to drop into the grave. 

Though it is not considered important to celebrate the virtues of 
the Pilgrim Mothers in gala days, grand dinners, toasts, and speeches, 
yet a little retrospection would enable us to exhume from the past, 
many of their achievements worth recording. More facts than we 
have space to reproduce, testify to the heroism, religious zeal, and lit- 
erary industry of the women who helped to build up the early civili- 
zation of New England. Their writings, for some presumed on au- 
thorship, are quaint and cumbrous ; but in those days, when few men 
published books, it required marked courage for women to appear in 
print at all. They imitated the style popular among men, and re- 
ceived much attention for their literary ability. Charles T. Cong- 
don, as the result of his explorations through old book-stores, has 
brought to light some of these early writers. 

In 1630, Mrs. Anne Bradstreet, known as quite a pretentious 
writer, came to Boston with her husband, Simon Bradstreet, Gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts. Her first work was entitled " The Tenth 
Muse lately sprung up in America." The first edition was pub- 
lished in London in 1650, and the first Boston edition was published 
in 1678. If Mrs. Bradstreet loved praise, she was fortunate in her 
time and position. It would have been in bad taste, as it would 
have been bad policy, not to eulogize the poems of the Governor's 
wife. She was frequently complimented in verse as bad as her own. 
Her next great epic was entitled " A Complete Discourse and De- 
scription of the Four Elements, Constitutions, Ages of Man, Seasons 
of the Year, together with an exact epitome of the Four Monarchies, 
viz : the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman." " Glad as we 
were," says the owner, " to obtain this book at a considerable price, 

* These girls, then only about twelve and fourteen years of age, saw the enemy mak- 
ing preparations to land at an isolated point. No men were near to defend the place, 
or to whom warning could be given. A bright thought struck one of the girls. Accus- 
tomed to play the drum, she well knew how to beat the call to arms, and no sooner had 
this thought entered her mind, than she began a tattoo, calling her sister to take the fife 
as an accompaniment. Together they marched toward the shore, careful to keep hidden 
by the rocks, among whose intricacies they wound back and forth, the sound of their in- 
struments falling upon the enemy's ears, now far, now near, as though a force of many 
hundred men was inarching down upon them, and thoroughly frightened, they boat a 
retreat to their boats. 

The African Intellect. 

we are still gladder of the privilege of closing it." Although this 
lady had eight children, about whom she wrote some amusing 
rhymes, she found time in the wilds of America to perpetuate also 
these ponderous-titled poems. 

Phillis Wheatly, a colored girl, also wrote poetry in Colonial 
Boston, years before our Declaration of Independence startled the 
world. She was brought from Africa, and sold in the slave market 
of Boston, when only six years old. Mr. Sparks, the biographer of 
Washington, thinks u that the poems contained" in her published 
volume, exhibit the most favorable evidence on record, of the capac- 
ity of the African intellect for improvement." When the Rev. 
George Whitefield died, at Newburyport, Mass., in 1770, the same 
writer from whom we quote these facts, says : " It was quite natural, 
his demise being much talked of in religious families, that our sable 
Phillis should burst into monody. That expression of grief I have 
before me. Of the most rhetorical preacher of his age, it is not in- 
spiring to read : 

" He praj^ed that grace in every heart might dwell. 
He longed to see America excel." 

Phillis married badly, and died at the age of thirty-one, in 1784, 
utterly impoverished, leaving three little children. Her own copy 
of her poems is in the library of Harvard College. When she 
died it was sold for her husband's debts. 

In a letter thanking her for an acrostic on himself, General 
Washington said: "If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near 
headquarters, I shall be happy to see a person so gifted by the muses, 
and to whom Nature has been so liberal and beneficent in her dis- 

Was there ever any story, which had such a hold upon the readers 
of a generation, as " Charlotte Temple '' ? It is said 25,000 copies 
were sold soon after publication an enormous sale for that day. 
Mrs. Eowson, who wrote the book, was a daughter of a lieutenant in 
the Royal Navy ; she was an actress in Philadelphia, and afterward 
kept a school in Boston for young ladies, where she died, in 1824, 
Her seminary was highly recommended. 

Women in the last age naturally drifted into the didactic. They 
should have the credit of trying always to be useful. The; 
through so many pages, seeking to give the little people some notion 
of botany, of natural history, of other branches of human intelli- 
gence. There is no book cleverer in its way than Miss Hannah 
Adams' " History of New England," of which the second edition 

206 History of Woman Suffrage. 

was published in Boston in 180T. The object of this lady was, as 
she tells us in the preface, "to impress the minds of young persons 
with veneration for those eminent men to whom their posterity are 
so highly indebted." All the tradition is that Miss Adams was a 
wonderfully learned lady. She is best known by her " History of 
the Jews." She wrote pretty good English, of which this may be 
considered a specimen : " Exalted from a feeble state to opulence 
and independence, the Federal Americans are now recognized as a 
nation throughout the globe." To a sentence so admirably formed, 
possibly there is nothing to add. 


Mistress Anne Hutcliinson, founder of the Antinomian party of 
New England, was a woman who exerted great influence upon the 
religious and political free thought of those colonies. She was the 
daughter of an English clergyman, and with her husband, followed 
Pastor Cotton, to whom she was much attached, to this country in 
1634, and was admitted a member of the Boston church, becoming 
a resident of Massachusetts one hundred and forty years before the 
Revolutionary war. She was of commanding intellect, and exerted 
a powerful influence upon the infant colony. 

It was a long established custom for the brethren of the Boston 
church to hold, through the week, frequent public meetings for 
religious exercises. Women were prohibited from taking part in 
these meetings, which chafed the free spirit of Mistress Hutcliinson, 
and soon she called meetings of the sisters, where she repeated the 
sermons of the Lord's day, making comments upon them. Her illus- 
trations of Scripture were so new and striking that the meetings 
were rendered more interesting to the women than any they had 
attended. At iirst the clergy approved, but as the men attracted 
by the fame of her discourses, crowded into her meetings, they be- 
gan to perceive danger to their authority ; the church was passing 
out of their control. Her doctrines, too, were alarming. She taught 
the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in each believer, its inward reve- 
lations, and that the conscious judgment of the mind should be the 
paramount authority. She was the first woman in America to 
demand the right of individual judgment upon religious questions. 
Her influence was very great, yet she was not destined to escape 
the charge of heresy. 

The first Synod in America was called upon her account. It 
convened August 30, 1 637, sat three weeks, and proclaimed eighty- 
two errors extant ; among them the tenets taught by Mistress 

Mistress Anne Ilutrliii* 207 

Hutchinson. She was called before the church :uul nnlered t-> 
retract upon twenty-nine points. The infant colony was -haken 
by this discussion, which took on a political aspect.* Mis: 
Hutchinson remained steadfast, and was sustained by many im- 
portant people, among whom was the young Governor Vane. 

Church and State became united in their opposition to Mistress 
Anne Elutchinson. The fact that she presumed to teach men, was 
prominently brought up, and in November, 1637, she was arbitrarily 
tried before the Massachusetts General Court upon a joint charge 
of sedition and heresy. She was examined for two days by the 
Governor and prominent members of the clergy. The Boston 
Church, which knew her worth, sustained her, with the exception 
of live members, one of them the associate pastor, Wilson. But the 
country churches and clergy were against her, and she was convicted 
and sentenced to imprisonment and banishment. 

As the winter was very severe, she was allowed to remain in Rox- 
bury until spring, when she joined Roger Williams in Rhode Island, 
where she helped form a body-politic, democratic in principle, in. 
which no one was " accounted delinquent for doctrine." Mistress 
Hutchinson thus helped to dissever Church and State, and to found 
religious freedom in the United States. 

After her residence in Rhode Island, four men were sent to 
reclaim her, but she would not return. Upon, the death of her 
husband she moved, for greater security, to " The Dutch Colony," 
and died somewhere in the State of New York. 

Thus, through the protracted struggle of the American Colonies 
for religious and political freedom, woman bravely shared the dan- 
gers and persecutions of those eventful years. As spy in the enemy's 
camp ; messenger on the battle-field ; soldier in disguise ; defender of 
herself and children in the solitude of those primeval forests ; impris- 
oned for heresy; burned, hung, drowned as a witch: what sutlVr- 
ing and anxiety has she not endured! what lofty heroism has .-he 
not exemplified ! 

And when the crusade against slavery in our republic was inaugu- 
rated in 1830, another Spartan band of women stood ready for the 
battle, and the storm of that fierce conflict, surpassing in COUr 
moral heroism, and conscientious devotion to great principle.-, all 

* "This disput.- infused its spirit into everything. It intrrfVivd with tin- V 
troops for the Pequot war ; it influenced the respect shown to the magistrates, the dis- 
tribution of town lots, the assessment of nU-s, :md :it last tin- continued t 
the two parties was considered inconsistent with the public peace." Bancroft, "His- 
tory of the United States." 

208 History of Woman Suffrage. 

that woman in any age had done or dared. With reverent lips \\o 
mention the names of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, Lydia Maria 
Child, Maria Weston Chapman, Mary S. Parker, Abby Kelly, 
whose burning words of rebuke aroused a sleeping nation to a new- 
born love of liberty. To their brave deeds, pure lives, and glowing 
eloquence, we pay our tributes of esteem and admiration. 

To such as these let South Carolina and Massachusetts build future 
monuments, not in Quincy granite, or Parian marble, but in more 
enduring blessing to the people; inviolable homesteads for the 
laborer ; free schools and colleges for boys and girls, both black and 
white ; justice and mercy in the alms-house, jail, prison, and the 
marts of trade, thus securing equal rights to all. 


In Massachusetts, women voted at an early day. First, under the 
Old Province Charter, from 1691 to 1780, for all elective officers ; 
second, they voted under the Constitution for all elective officers 
except the Governor, Council, and Legislature, from 1780 to 1785. 
The Bill of Eights, adopted with the Constitution of 1780, declared 
that all men were born free and equal. Upon this, some slaves 
demanded their freedom, and their masters yielded.* Restrictions 
upon the right of suffrage were very great in this State ; church 
membership alone excluded for thirty years three-fourths of the 
male inhabitants from the ballot-box.f 

That women exercised the right of suffrage amid so many re- 
strictions, is very significant of the belief in her right to the ballot, 
by those early Fathers.:): 


Woman's rights petitions were circulated in Massachusetts as early 
as 1848. Mary Upton Ferrin, of Salem, in the spring of that year, 
consulting Samuel Merritt, known as " the honest lawyer of Salem," 
in regard to the property rights of married women, and the divorce 
laws, learned that the whole of the wife's personal property belonged 
to the husband, as also the improvements upon her real estate ; and 
that she could only retain her silver and other small valuables by 

* Atlantis Monthly, June, 1871. 

t In three New England colonies church membership was required for the franchise. 
Frothingham, "Rise of the Republic." 

J Dr. John Weis, of New York, now an aged gentleman, well remembers his grand- 
mother saying, that at an early day women were allowed to vote in all the New England 

Mary Upton Per r in Pditi<> 809 

secreting them, or proving them to have been loaned to her. T. 
such deception did the laws of Massachusetts, like those of nxt 
States, based on the Old Common Law idea of the wife's subjection 
to the husband, compel the married woman in case she desired to 
retain any portion of her own property. 

Mrs. Ferrin reported the substance of the above conversation to 
Mrs. Phebe King,* of Danvers, who at once became deeply inter- 
ested, saying, " If such are the laws by which women are governed, 
every woman in the State should sign a petition to have them al- 

" Will you sign one if drawn up ? " queried Mrs. Ferrin. 

"Yes," replied Mrs. King, "and I should think every wmim 
would sign such a petition." 

As the proper form of petitions was something with which wom- 
en were then quite unfamiliar, the aid of several gentlemen 
asked, among them Hon. D. P. King and Judge John Heart lev, 
but all refused. 

Miss Betsy King then suggested that Judge Pitkin f posse- 
sufficient influence to have the laws amended without the trouble of 
petitioning the Legislature. Strong in their faith that the enact- 
ment of just laws was the business of legislative bodies, thc.-e ladies 
believed they but had to bring injustice to the notice of a law-maker 
in order to have it done away. Therefore, full of courage and hope, 
Judge Pitkin was respectfully approached. But, to their infinite 
astonishment, he replied : 

" The law is very well as it is regarding the property of married 
women. Women are not capable of taking care of their <>wn 
property ; they never ought to have control of it. There is already 
a law by which a woman can have her property secured to her." 

" But not one woman in fifty knows of the existence of such a 
law," was the reply. 

u They ought to know it ; it is no fault of the law if they don't. 
I do not think the Legislature will alter the law regard ing divorce. 
If they do, they will make it more stringent than it now is." 

Repulsed, but not disheartened, Mrs. Ferrin herself drew up 
several petitions, circulated them, obtaining many hundred signa- 
tures of old and young; though finding the young more ready to 
ask for change than those inured to ill-usage and injustice. Many 

* Mother of the late Daniel P. Kinp, at that time a member of th MisetU 

Legislature, and since then a Representative in Congress. 
t Benj. C. Pitkin, of Salem, at that time State Senator. 


210 History of Woman Suffrage. 

persons laughed at her ; but knowing it to be a righteous work, and 
deeming laughter healthful to those indulging in it, Mrs. Ferrin 
continued to circulate her petitions. 

They were presented to the Legislature by Rev. John M. Usher, 
a Universalist minister of Lynn, and member of the lower House. 
Although too late in the session for action, these petitions form the 
initiative step for Woman Suffrage in Massachusetts. 

Early the next fall, similar petitions were circulated. It was de- 
termined to attack the Legislature in such good season, that lateness 
of time would not again be brought up as an excuse for n on -atten- 
tion to the prayers of women. Mrs. King's interest continued una- 
bated, and through her advice, Mrs. Ferrin prepared an address to 
accompany the petitions. Hon. Charles W. Upham, minister of the 
First Unitarian church of Salem, afterward Representative in Con- 
gress, was State Senator that year. From him they received much 
encouragement. " I concur with you in every sentiment," said he, 
" but please re-write your address, making two of it ; one in the form 
of a memorial to the Legislature, and the other, an address to the Judi- 
ciary Committee, to whom your petitions will be referred.'' These 
two documents will be found to suggest most of the important de- 
mands, afterward made in every State, for a change of laws relating 
to woman. The fallacy of " sacredness " for these restrictive laws was 
shown ; the rights of humanity as superior to any outside authority, 
asserted; and justice made the basis of the proposed reformation. 
The right of woman to trial by a jury of her peers was claimed, fol- 
lowed by the suggestion that woman is capable of making the laws 
by which she is governed. The memorial excited much attention, 
and was printed by order of the Legislature, though the possibility 
of a woman having written it was denied.* 

But in 1850, as in 1849, no action was taken, the petitioners hav- 
ing "leave to withdraw." Petitions of a similar character were 
again circulated throughout Salem and Danvers, in 1850, '51, '52, 
'53, making six successive years, in each of which the petitioners had 
" leave to withdraw,'' as the only reply to their prayers for relief. 
The Hon. Mr. Upham, however, remained woman's steadfast friend 
through all this period, and Mrs. Phebe Upton King was as con- 
stantly found among the petitioners. 

In 1852 the petitions were signed only by ladies over sixty years 
of age, women of large experience and matured judgment, whose 

* Hon. Mr. Upham saying : " A great many of the members told me they didu't believe 
a woman wrote it." 

/,,///- Amended. iM I 

prayers should have received at least respectful consideration from 
the legislators of the State. We give the appeal a<v^;np:m\ 111:4 
their petition : 

GEXTLEMEX : Your petitioners, who are tax-payers and originators of 
thr'se petitions, are upwards of three-score years; ten of them an- p.i-r 
throe-score years and ten; three of them three-score and twenty. Ii' liMiirtli 
of days, a knowledge of the world and the rights of man and woman 
entitle them to a respectful hearing, few, if any, have prior or more po- 
tent claims, for reason has taught them what individual rights are, expe- 
rience, what woman and her children suffer for the want of just protec- 
tion in those, and humanity impels them once more to appear before 
you, it may be for the last time. Let not their gray hairs go down in 
row to the grave for the want of this justice in your power to extend, a- 
liave several of their number whose names are no longer to be found with 
theirs, whose voices can plead never more in behalf of your own children 
and those of your constituents. 

In 1853 a petition* bearing only Mrs. King's name was presented. 
In 1854 the political organization called the "Know Nothings" 
came into power, and although no petition was presented, a bill se- 
curing the control of their own property to all women married sub- 
sequent to the passage of the law, was passed. The power to make 
a will without the husband's consent, was also secured to wives, 
though not permitted to thus will more than one-half of their per- 
sonal property. This law also gave to married women having no 
children, whose husbands should die without a will, live thousand 
dollars, and one-half of the remainder of the husband's property. 
The following year the Divorce Lawf was amended, and shortly 
thereafter two old ladies, nearly seventy years of age, having no 
future marriage in view, but solely influenced by a desire to secure 
their own property to their own children, which without such di- 
vorce they would be unable to do, although one of their husbands 
had not provided for his wife in twenty years, nor the other in 
thirty years, availed themselves of its new priviky 

The first change in the tyrannous laws of Massudiusrtt.- wa> really 
due to the work of this one woman, Mary Upton Ferrin, who foa 
years, after her own quaint method, poured the hot shot of her ear- 

* This petition was put in the hands of a gentleman to secure his mother's name <who 
had signed numbers of petitions before), and those of en-tain other l:uli->, but unfaithful 
to this trust, he forwarded the petition with but its sin-1.- mime, which, Mr.-. fW 
marks, was powerful in itself. 

t James W. North, a lawyer, of AuffUflta, Main.-, to hU honor be it sai.l, U 
Ferrin, by perfecting the divorce petition, in rin-uHtion h.-r six yvttl of. petll 

History of Woman Suffrage. 

nest conviction of woman's wrongs into the Legislature. In circu- 
lating petitions, she traveled six hundred miles, two-thirds of this 
distance on foot. Much money was expended besides her time and 
travel, and her name should be remembered as that of one of the 
brave pioneers in this work. 

Although two thousand petitions were sent into the Constitutional 
Convention of 1853, from other friends of woman's enfranchise- 
ment in the State, Mrs. Ferrin totally unacquainted with that step, 
herself petitioned this body for an amendment to the Constitution 
securing justice to women, referring to the large number of petitions 
sent to the Legislature during the last few years for this object. 
Working as she did, almost unaided and alone, Mrs. Ferrin is an 
exemplification of the dissatisfaction of women at this period with 
unjust laws.* 


Long have our liberties and our lives been lauded to the skies, to our 
amusement and edification, and until our sex has been as much regaled as 
has the Southern slave, with "liberty and law." But, says one, " Women are 
free." So likewise are slaves free to submit to the laws and to their masters. 
" A married woman is as much the property of her husband, likewise her 
goods and chattels, as is his horse," says an eminent judge, and he might have 
added, many of them are treated much worse. No more apt illustration could 
have been given. Though man can not beat his wife like his horse, he can 
kill her by abuse the most pernicious of slow poisons ; and, alas, too often 
does he do it. It is for such unfortunate ones that protection is needed. 
Existing laws neither do nor can protect them, nor can society, on account of 
the laws. If they were men, society would protect and defend them. Long, 
silently, and patiently have they waited until forbearance ceases to be a virtue. 

Should a woman n.ake her will without her husband's consent in writing, it 
is of no use. It is as just and proper that a woman should dispose of her own 
property to her own satisfaction as that a man should dispose of his. In many 
cases she is as competent, and sadly to be pitied if not in many cases more so. 
And even with her husband's consent she can not bequeath to him her real 

* A lady commenting upon unjust legislation, said : " When the laws were made re- 
garding women and children, the most impotent men were employed to make them ; de- 
cent men had other business to do." 

From time to time, Mrs. Ferrin sent in memorials and addresses with the petitions she 
yearly forwarded. One of these, in reply to the oft-made boast of man's unsolicited 
amelioration of woman's condition, carried the following retort: "The Powers tell us 
much has been done to ameliorate the condition of woman without any effort on 
woman's part. It would add a huge feather to their caps should they give us the history 
of the cause of the need of such reformation. It can not be because woman placed herself 
in so degrading a position. So, the merit of the up-lifting hardly reaches the demerit of 
the down-treading." 

Bible not ayainxt Divorce. 

estate. She can sell it with his consent, hut the deeds must pass and be 
recorded, and then, if the husband pleases, he can take tin- money :uid buy 
the property back again. Does justice require that a man and his uife 
should use so much deception, and be at so much unnecessary expense and 
trouble, to settle their own private affairs to their own satisfaction affairs 
which do not in the least affect any other individual ? Reason, humanity, and 
c minon sense answer No ! 

All men are created free and equal," and all women are born subject to 
laws which they have neither the power to make or to repeal, but which they 
are taxed, directly or indirectly, to support, and many of which are a disgrace 
to humanity and ought to be forthwith abolished. A woman is compelled by 
circumstances to work for less than half an ordinary man can earn, and yet 
she is as essential to the existence, happiness, and refinement of society as is 
in an. 

We are told " a great deal has already been done for woman ; " in return we 
would tender our grateful acknowledgments, with the assurance that when 
ours is the right, we will reciprocate the favor. Much that has been done, does 
not in the least affect those who are already married ; and not one in ten of 
those who are not married, will ever be appri-ed of the existence of the laws 
by which they might be benefited. Few, if any, would marry a man so incom- 
petent as in their opinion to render it necessary to avail themselves of such 
laws; neither would any spirited man knowingly marry a woman who con- 
sidered him so incompetent; hence, instead of being a blessing, much labor and 
expense accrue to those who desire to avail themselves of their benefit ; and 
such a step often induces the most bitter contention. 

^S'e are told "the Bible does not provide for divorce except for one offence." 
Xiither does the Bible prohibit divorce for any other justifiable cause. Inas- 
much as men take the liberty to legislate upon other subjects of which tin- 
Bible does, and does not. take particular notice, so likewise are they equally at 
liberty to legislate and improve upon this, when the state of society demands 

it A woman who has a good husband glides easily along under his 

protection, while those who have bad husbands, of which, alas ! there are too 
many, are not aware of the depths of their degradation until they suddenly 
and unexpectedly find themselves, through the influence of the law, totally 
destitute, condemned to hopeless poverty and servitude, with an ungrateful 
tyrant for a master. No respectable man with a decent woman for a wife, will 
ever demean himself so much as to insult or abuse his wife. Wherever such 
a state of things exists, it is a disgrace to the age and to society, by wh" 
ever practiced, encouraged, or protected, whether public or private whet h.r 
social, political, or religious. 

.V very estimable and influential lady, whose property was valued at over 
$150,000, married a man, in whom she had unbounded, but misplaced confi- 
dence, as is too often the case; consequently the most of her proper! 
squandered through intemperance and dissipation, before she was ftwan 
li-ast wrong-doing. So deeply was she shocked by the character of her 1m-- 
band, that she soon found a premature grave, leaving several small child i 
be reared and educated upon the remnant of her sc-att-.Ted wealth. 

Nearly twelve years since, a woman of a neighboring town, whose. hatband 
had forsaken her, hired a man to carry her furniture in a wagon to her native 

214 History of Woman Suffrage. 

place, with her family, which consisted of her husband's mother, herself, and 
six children, the eldest of which was but twelve years old. On her arrival 
there, she had only food enough for one meal, and nine-pence left. During the 
summer, in consequence of hardships and deprivations, she was taken violently 
sick, being deprived of her reason for several weeks. Her husband had not, 
as yet, appeared to offer her the least assistance, although apprised of her situ- 
a ion. But, being an uncommonly mean man, he had sold her furniture, piece 
by piece, and reduced her to penury, so that nothing but the aid of her friends 
and her own exertions, saved her and her family from the alms-house. 

Says the law to this heroic woman, "What, though your property is squan- 
dered, your health and spirits broken, and you have six small children, besides 
yourself and your husband's mother to support ! After five years of incessant 
toil in humility and degradation, why should not your lord and master intrude 
his loathsome person, like a blood-sucker upon your vitals, never offering you 
any ass^t .nee ; and should your precarious life be protracted to that extent of 
time, for twenty dollars you can buy a divorce from bed and board, and have 
your property secured to you. Such, Madam, is your high privilege. Com- 
plain then not to us, lest instead of alleviating your sufferings, we strengthen 
the cords that already bind you.' 1 

The moral courage of the " Hero of the Battle-field " would shrink in hor- 
ror from scenes like these; but such is the fate of woman, to whom God grant 
no future "hell." 

In case a man receives a trifle from a departed friend or any other source, the 
wife's signature is not required. Recently a poor man left his daughter twenty 
dollars, of which her husband allowed her ten, retaining the remainder for ac- 
knowledging its receipt. It was probably the only ten dollars the womau ever 
received, except for her own exertions, which were constantly required to sup- 
ply the necessities of her family, her husband being very intemperate and 
abusive, often pulling .her by the ears so as to cause the blood to flow freely. 

No bodily pain, however intense, can compare with the mental suffering 
which we witness and experience, and which would long since have filled our 
Insane Asylums to ovei flowing, were it not for the unceasing drudgery to 
which we are subjected, in order to save ourselves and families from starvation. 

Often does the drunkard bestow upon his wife from one to a dozen children 
to rear and support until old enough to render her a little assistance, when 
they are compelled to seek service in order to clothe themselves decently, and 
often are their earnings, with those of their mother, appropriated to pay for 
rum, tobacco, gambling, and other vices. ' Say not that we exaggerate these 
evils ; neither tongue nor pen can do it ! '' says the unfortunate wife of a man 
whose moral character, so far as she knew, was unimpeachable, but who proved 
to be an insufferable tyrant, depriving her of the necessaries of life, and often 
ordering her out of the house which her friends provided for them to live in, 
using the most abusive epithets which ingenuity, or the want of it, could sug- 
gest. Intemperance degraded the character of the man with whom she lived 
as long as apprehensions for the safety of her life would warrant ; from the fact 
that her health was rapidly failing under the severity and deprivation to which 
she was subjected, and the repeated threats of violence to her own life and 
that of her friends. " But one step farther and you drive us to desperation ! 
Sooner would I pour out my heart's blood, drop by drop, than suffer again 

f id -///.<; 

what I have hitherto experienced, or that my female friends should MiiFer as I 
have done, and I know that many of them do. Yrt. neither sacrifice, sympathy, 
argument, or influence can avail us anything under existing .-in-u nst.uu 

Such an appeal from helpless, down-trodden humanity, though it were made 
to a council of the most benighted North American savages, would not pass 
unheeded. Shall it be made in vain to you? 

To many of us death would be a luxury compared to what \vc suffer in con- 
sequence of the abusive treatment we receive from unprincipled men, which 
existing laws sanction and encourage by their indiscriminate severity, and with 
which we are told ' it would be difficult to meddle on account of their sac-red- 
ness and sublimity." The idea is sufficiently ludicrous to excite the risibility 
of the most grave. Though the sublime and the ridiculous may be too nearly 
allied f T females to distinguish the difference, unjust inequality is to them far 
more contemptible than sacred, having thus far been ungraciously subjected to 
it. Well may we be called '' the weaker sex" if the error in judgment is <>uis, 
although we have intellect and energy enough not to respect the circumstances 
under which we are placed, nor the powers which would designedly inflict such 
injustice upon us. 

Debased indeed would a man consider himself to employ a woman to plead 
his cause, with a woman for judge and twelve women for jurors. How much 
less degraded are women when exposed to a similar asssmbly of men, who 
have for them neither interest, sympathy, nor respect, subjected as they are to 
insolent questions and the uncharitable remarks of an indifferent multitude. 

It is urged that women are ignorant of the laws. They are sufficiently en- 
lightened to comprehend the meaning of justice a far more important thing 
which admit B of neither improvement nor modification, but is applicable to 
every emergency. With the perceptibility that some can boast, it would re- 
quire but a short time for them to enact laws sufficient to govern them^lv. 
which is all that the most aspiring can covet ; convinced as they are that, as in 
families, so likewise in government, the mild, indulgent parent who would con- 
sult the greatest good of the greatest number, is rewarded with agreeable and 
honorable children ; while the one who is unjust, partial, and severe, is propor- 
tionably recompensed for his indiscretion. 

In regard to unjust imprisonment we are told, '' It is of too rare occun 
to require legal enactments." How many a devoted wife, mother, and child 
can tell a far different story. Who of us or our children is secure from false 
accusation and imprisonment, or, perhaps, an ignominious death upon the gal- 
lows, to screen some miserable villain from justice ? Witnesses, lawyers, ju 
jurors, and executioners are paid for depriving innocent persons of their time. 
liberty, health, and reputation, which, to many, is dearer than life, while 
the nuilty one escapes, and society, when too late, laments the sad catastrophe. 
The life-blood of many a victim demands not only justice for the guilty, but 
protection for the innocent. 

OCTOBER 23d AND -Jltli. 1850. 

The Conventions in New York aii'l O1ii<, tlmuirli n>t extensively 
advertised, nor planned with much deliberation, for in l><>th cases 

216 History of Woman Suffrage. 

they were hastily decided upon, yet their novelty attracted much at- 
tention, and drew large audiences. Those who had long seen and 
felt woman's wrongs, were now for the first time inspired with the 
hope that something might be done for their redress by organized 
action. When Massachusetts decided to call a convention, the initia- 
tive steps were well considered, as there were many men and women 
in that State trained in the anti-slavery school, skilled in managing 
conventions, who were also interested in woman's enfranchisement. 
But to the energy and earnestness of Paulina Wright Davis, more 
than to any other one person, we may justly accord the success of 
the first Conventions in Massachusetts. 

In describing the preliminary arrangements in a report read in the 
second decade meeting in New York in 1870, she says : 

"In May, 1850, a few women in Boston attending an Anti- 
Slavery meeting, proposed that all who felt interested in a plan for 
a National Woman's Rights Convention, should consult in the ante- 
room. Of the nine who went out into that dark, dingy room, a 
committee of seven were chosen to do the work. Worcester was the 
place selected, and the 23d and 24th of October the appointed time. 
However, the work soon devolved upon one person.* Illness hinder- 
ed one, duty to a brother another, duty to the slave a third, profes- 
sional engagements a fourth, the fear of bringing the gray hairs of 
a father to the grave prevented another from serving ; but the pledge 
was made, and could not be withdrawn. 

u The call was prepared, an argument in itself, and sent forth 
with earnest private letters in all directions. It covered the entire 
question, as it now stands before the public. Though moderate in 
tone, carefully guarding the idea of the absolute unity of interests 
and of the destiny of the two sexes which nature has established, it 
still gave the alarm to conservatism. 

" Letters, curt, reproachful, and sometimes almost insulting, came 
with absolute refusals to have the names of the writers used, or 
added to the swelling list already in hand. There was astonishment 
at the temerity of the writer in presenting such a request. 

" Some few there wers, so cheering and so excellent, that it is but 
justice to give extracts from them : 

'"I doubt whether a more important movement has ever been launched, 
touching the destiny of the race, than this in regard to the equality of the sexes, 
You are at liberty to use my name. WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON.' 

Mrs. Davis herself. 

First Worcester Com^ntini,. :M7 

You do me but justice in supposing me deeply intnvsk-l in tl> 
of woman's elevation. CATHI:I:! 

11 The new movement lias my fullest sympathy, and my nanit- i- at i 


" Xone came with such perfect and entire fullness as the one i 
which I quote the closing paragraph : 

Yes, with all my heart I give my name to your noble call. 


" ' You are at liberty to append my own and my wife's name to your admira- 
ble call, "'ANN GREEN PHILLIPS, 


"Rev. Samuel J. May's letter, full of the warmest sympathy, well 
deserves to be quoted entire, but space forbids ; suffice it that we 
have always known just where to find him. 

"'Your business is to launch new ideas not one of them will ever bo 
wrecked or lost, Under the dominion of these ideas, right practice must grad- 
ually take the place of wrong, and the first we shall know we shall find the so- 
cial swallowing up the political, and the whole governing its parts. 
" ' With genuine respect, your co-worker, 


" Letters from Gerrit Smith, Joshua E. Giddings, John G. Whit- 
tier, Ralph Waldo Emerson, A. Bronson Alcott, Caroline Kirkland. 
Ann Estelle Lewis, Jane G. Swisshelm, "William Elder, Rev. Thomas 
Brainard, and many others, expressive of deep interest, are before us. 

" The Convention came together in the bright October days, a 
solemn, earnest crowd of noble men and women. 

" One great disappointment fell upon us. Margaret Fuller, to- 
ward whom many eyes were turned as the future leader in this 
movement, was not with us. The 'hungry, ravening sea,' had 
Slowed her up, and we were left to mourn her guiding hand 
her royal presence. To her, I, at least, had hoped to confide the leader- 
ship of this movement. It can never be known if she would have 
accepted it; the desire had been expressed to her by letter; but be 
that as it may, she was, and still is, a leader of thought; a position 
far more desirable than a leader of numbers. 

"The Convention was called to order by Mrs. Sarah II. Karl. 
AV>rcester, and a permanent list of officers presented in due order, 
and the whole business of the Convention was conducted in a par- 

Wife of John Milton Earl, editor of the Worcester Spy. 

218 History of Woman, Suffrage. 

liamentary manner. Mrs. Earl, to whose memory we pay tribute to- 
day as one gone before, not lost, was one of the loveliest embodi- 
ments of womanhood I have ever known. She possessed a rare com- 
bination of strength, gentleness, and earnestness, with a childlike 
freedom and cheerfulness. I miss to-day her clear voice, her grace- 
ful self-poise, her calm dignity. 

" From our midst another is missing : Mrs. Sarah Tyndale, of Phila- 
delphia one of the first to sign the call. Indeed, the idea of such a 
convention had often been discussed in her home, more than two years 
before, a home where every progressive thought found a cordial wel- 
come. To this noble woman, who gave herself to this work with 
genuine earnestness, it is fitting that we pay a tribute of affectionate 
respect. She was, perhaps, more widely known than any other 
woman of her time for her practical talents ; having conducted one 
of the largest business houses in her native city for nearly a quarter 
of 'a century. Genial and largely hospitable, there w r as for her great 
social sacrifice in taking up a cause so unpopular ; but she had no 
shrinking from duty, however trying it might be. Strong and grand 
as she was, in her womanly nature, she had nevertheless the largest 
and tenderest sympathies for the weak and erring. She was pres- 
cient, philosophical, just, and generous. The mother of a large 
family, who gathered around to honor and bless her, she had still 
room in her heart for the woes of the world, and the latter years of 
her life were given to earnest, philanthropic work. We miss to-day 
her sympathy, her wise counsel, her great, organizing power. 

" Many others there are, whose names well deserve to be graven in 
gold, and it is cause of thanksgiving to God that they are still pres- 
ent with u>, their lives speaking better than words. Some are in 
the Far West, doing brave service there; others are across the 
water ; others are withheld by cares and duties from being present ; 
but we would fain hope none are absent from choice. 

u Profound feeling pervaded the entire audience, and the talent 
displayed in the discussions, the eloquence of women who had never 
before spoken in public, surprised even those who expected most. 
Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols, of Vermont, made a profound impression. 
There was a touching, tender pathos in her stories which went hoaie 
to the heart ; and many eyes, all unused to tears, were moistened as 
she described the agony of the mother robbed of her child by the 

u Abby H. Price, large-hearted and large-brained, gentle and 
strong, presented an address on the social question not easily forgot- 
ten, and seldom to the present time bettered. 

Jf.Jt/t Xtmn-t J////. 

" Lucy Stone, a natural orator, with a silvery voice, a heart warm 
and glowing with youthful enthusiasm; Antoinette L. Brown, a 
young minister, met firmly the Scriptural arguments; and Dr. liar- 
riot Iv. Hunt, earnest for the medical education of woman, gave 
variety to the discussions of the Convention. 

" In this first national meeting the following resolution was pae 
which it may be proper here to reiterate, thus showing that our 
present demand has always been one and the same : 

"'Resolved, That women are clearly entitled to the right of suffrage, and to 
be considered eligible to office; the omission to demand which, on her part, is 
a palpable recreancy to duty, and a denial of which is a gross usurpation on the 
part of man, no longer to be endured ; and that every party which claims to rep- 
resent the humanity, civilization, and progress of the age, is bound to inscribe 
on its banners, "Equality before the Law, without distinction of Sex or Color." ' 

" From North to South the press found these reformers wonder- 
fully ridiculous people. The ' hen convention ' was served up in 
every variety of style, till refined women dreaded to look into a 
newspaper. Hitherto man had assumed to be the conscience of 
woman, now she indicated the will to think for herself ; hence all 
this odium. But, however the word was preached, whether for wrath 
or conscience sake, we rejoiced and thanked God. 

" In July, following this Convention, an able and elaborate notice 
appeared in the Westminster Review. This notice, candid in tone 
and spirit, as it was thorough and able in discussion, successfully vin- 
dicated every position we assumed, reaffirmed and established the 
highest ground taken in principle or policy by our movement. The 
wide-spread circulation and high authority of this paper told upon 
the public mind, both in Europe and this country. It was at the 
time supposed to be by Mr. John Stuart Mill. Later we learned 
that it was from the pen of his noble wife, to whom be all honor for 
thus coming to the aid of a struggling cause. 1 can pay no tribute 
to her memory so beautiful as the following extract from a letter 
iitly received from her husband: 

' 4 It gives me the greatest pleasure to know that the service rendered by my 
dear wife to the cause which was nearer her heart than any other, by her essay in 
the lV<-*t minster Review, has had so much effect and is so justly appreciated in 
th< Tinted State-. Were it passibb in a memoir to have the formation and 
growth of a mind like hers portrayed, to do so would IK- as valuable a benefit 
to mankind as was ever conferred by a biography. But such a psychological 
history is seldom possible, and in her case the materials for it do not * 
All that could be furnished is her birth-place, parentage, and a few dates, and it 
seems to me that her memory is more honored by the absence of any attempt at 
a biographical notice than by tie presence of a most mca :n- one. What >! 

220 History of Woman Suffrage. 

was, I have attempted, though most inadequately, to delineate in the remarks 
prefaced to her essay, as reprinted with my "Dissertations and Discussions.'" 

'"I am very glad to hear of the step in advance made by the Rhode Island 
Legislature in constituting a Board of Women for some important administrative 
purposes. Your intended proposal, that women be impaneled on every jury 
where women are to be tried, seems to me very good, and calculated to place 
the injustice to which women are at present subjected, by the entire hgal sys- 
tem, in a very striking light. 

" ' I am, dear madam, yours sincerely. 


" Immediately after the reports were published, they were sent to 
various persons in Europe, and before the second Convention was 
held, letters of cheer were received from Harriet Martineau, Marion 
Reid, and others. 

" Thus encouraged, we felt new zeal to go on with a work which 
had challenged the understanding and constrained the hearts of the 
best and soundest thinkers in the nation ; had given an impulse to 
the women of England and of Sweden for Frederika Bremer had 
quoted from our writings and reported our proceedings ; our words 
had been like an angel's visit to the prisoners of State in France and 
to the wronged and outraged at home ! 

" Many letters were received from literary women in this country 
as well as abroad. If not always ready to be identified with the 
work, they were appreciative of its good effects, and, like Nicode- 
mus, they came by night to inquire ' how these things could be.' 
Self-interest showed them the advantages accruing from the recog- 
nition of equality self-ism held them silent before the world till 
the reproach should be worn away ; but we credit them with a sense 
of justice and right, which prompts them now to action. The rear 
guard is as essential in the army as the advance ; each should select 
the place best adapted to their own powers." 

As Mrs. Davis has fallen asleep since writing the above, we have 
thought best to give what seemed to her the salient points of that 
period in her own words. 

October 23, 1850, a large audience assembled in Brinley Hall, 
Worcester, Mass. The Convention was called to order by Sarah H. 
Earle, of Worcester. Nine States were represented. There were 
Garrison, Phillips, Burleigh, Foster, Pillsbury, leaders in the anti- 
slavery struggle ; Frederick Douglass and Sojourn er Truth repre- 
senting the enslaved African race. The Channings, Sargents, Par- 
sons, Shaws, from the liberal pulpit and the aristocracy of Boston. 
From Ohio came Mariana and Oliver Johnson, who had edited the 

Paulina Wright /A//v'v, Prestik 

Anti-Slavery Biigle, that sent forth many a lla>t a^-iiii-t tlio Mark 
laws of that State, and many a stirring call for the woman's, con voli- 
tions. From Ohio, too, came Ellen and Mai-ion P.larkwrll, gii 
of Dr. Elizabeth Elackwell. Pennsylvania sent its Lucretia M<.tt, 
its Darlingtons, Plumlys, Hastings, Millers, Hicks, who had all 
taken part in the exciting divisions among the " Friends," as a sect. 
On motion of Mariana Johnson, a temporary chairman was chosen, 
and a nominating committee appointed, which reported the follow- 
ing list of officers adopted by the Convention : 

Pi'i-x'iilent PAULINA WRIGHT DAVIS, R. I. 


WAY, X. Y. 

The Call of the Convention was read. It contains so good a 
digest of the demands then made, in language so calm and choice, in 
thought so clear and philosophical, that we give it entire, that the 
women of the future may see how well their mothers understood 
their rights, and with what modesty and moderation they pressed 
their wrongs on the consideration of their rulers. 


A Convention will be held at Worcester, Mass., on the 23d and 24th of Octo- 
ber next, to consider the question of Woman's Rights, Duties, and Relations. 
The men and women who feel sufficient interest in the subject to give an ear- 
nest thought and effective effort to its rightful adjustment, are invited to meet 
each other in free conference at the time and placu appointed. 

The upward tending spirit of the age, busy in an hundred forms of effort 
for the world's redemption from the sins and sufferings which oppress it, 1ms 
brought this one, which yields to none in importance and urgency, into distin- 
guished prominence. One-half the race are its immediate objects, mid the 
other half are as deeply involved, by that absolute nniiy of interest and de>tiny 
which Nature has established between them. The neighbor is near enough to 
involve every human being in a general equality of rights and community of 
interests ; but men and women in their reciprocities of love and duty, ai 
nYsh and one blood; mother, sister, wife, and daughter conn- so near the heart 
and mind of every man, that they must be either his blrs<inr or hi- Lane. 
Where there is such mutuality of interests, such an interlinking of Hfe, there 
can be no real antagonism of position and action. The sexes should n 
any reason or by any chance, take hostile attitudes toward eaeli other, either 
in the apprehension or amendment of the wrongs which e\i~t in tln- : r ' 
sary relations; but they should harmoni/.e in opin'on and co-opeiatr in rtloit, 
for the reason that they must unite in the ultimate achievement of the d 

222 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Of the many points now under discu c sion, and demanding a just settlement, 
the general question of woman's rights and relations comprehends these : Her 
education literary, scientific, and artistic; her avocations industrial, com- 
mercial, and professional; her interests pecuniary, civil, and political; in a 
word, her rights as an individual, and her functions as a citizen. 

No one will pretend that all these interests, embracing as they do all that is 
not merely animal in a human life, are rightly understood, or justly provided for 
in the existing social order. Nor is it any more true that the constitutional dif- 
ferences of the sexes which should determine, define, and limit the resulting 
differences of office and duty, are adequately comprehended and practically 

Woman has been condemned for her greater delicacy of physical organiza- 
tion, to inferiority of intellectual and moral culture, and to the forfeiture of 
great social, civil, and religious privileges. In the relation of marriage she has 
been ideally annihilated and actually enslaved in all that concerns her personal 
and pecuniary rights, and even in widowed and single life, she is oppressed 
\\ith such limita'ion and degradation of labor and avocation, as clearly and 
cruelly mark the condition of a disabled caste. But by the inspiration of the 
.Aim ghty, the beneficent spirit of reform is roused to the redress of these 

The tyranny which degrades and crushes wives and mothers sits no longer 
lightly on the world's conscience ; the heart's home-worship feels the stain of 
stooping at a dishonored altar. Manhood begins to feel the shame of muddy- 
ing the springs from which it draws its highest life, and womanhood is every- 
where awakening to assert its divinely chartered rights and to fulfill its noble-t 
duties. It is the spirit of reviving truth and righteousness which -has moved 
upon the great deep of the public heart and aroused its redressing justice, 
,'ind through it the Providence of God is vindicating the order and appoint- 
ments of His creation. 

The signs are encouraging ; the time is opportune. Come, then, to this Con- 
vention. It is your duty, if you are worthy of your age and country. Give the 
nelp of your best thought to separate the light from the darkness. Wisely 
give the protection of your name and the benefit of your efforts to the great 
work of settling the principles, devising the methods, and achieving the suc- 
cess of this high and holy movement. 

This call was signed by eighty-nine leading men and women of 
six States.* 

On taking the chair, Mrs. DAVIS said : 

The reformation we propose in its utmost scope is radical and universal. It 
is not the mere perfecting of a reform already in motion, a detail of some 
established plan, but it is an epochal movement the emancipation of a class, 
the redemption of half the world, and a conforming reorganization of all social, 
political, and industrial interests and institution?. Moreover, it is a movement 
without example among the enterprises of associated reformations, for it ha3 

* See Appendix. 

Gen-it Xiititli.of Peterbora 

no purpose of arming the oppressed against the oppressor, or of separatii 
parties, or of setting up independence, or of severing tin- relation* of rithi-r. 

Its intended changes are to be wrought in the intimate texture of , 
cietary organizations, without violence or any form of antagonism. It leekfl to 
replace the worn-out with the living and the beautiful, so as to reconstruct 
without overturning, and to regenerate without destroying. 

Our claim must rest on its justice, and conquer by its power of truth. ^V 
take the ground that whatever has been achieved for the race belongs to it. 
and must not be usurped by any class or caste. The rights and liberties of 
one human bein<? can not be made the property of another, though they were 
redeemed for him or her by the life of that other; for rights cati not In- for- 
feited by way of salvage, and they are, in their nature, unpurchasable and in- 
alienable. We claim for woman a full and generous investiture of all the 
blessings which the other sex has solely, or by her aid, achieved for itself. We 
appeal from man's injustice and selfishness to his principles and affections. 

It was cheering to find in the very beginning many distinguished 
men ready to help us to the law, gospel, social ethics, and philosophy 
involved in our question. A letter from Gerrit Smith to William 

Lloyd Garrison says : 

PETERBORO, N. Y., Oct. 16, 1850. 

MY DEAR SIR : I this evening received from my friend H. H. Van Amringe, 
of Wisconsin, the accompanying argument on woman's rights. It is written 
by himself. He is, as you are aware, a highly intellectual man. He wishes me 
to present this argument to the Woman's Convention which is to be held in 
Worcester. Permit me to do so through yourself. 

My excessive business engagements compel me to refuse all invitations to 
attend public meetings not in my own county. May Heaven's richest blessings 
rest on the Convention. 

Very respectfully and fraternally yours, GERRIT SMITH. 

Mr. Yan Arnringe's paper on " Woman's Eights in Church and 
State" was read and discussed, and a large portion of it printed in 
the regular report of the proceedings. 

The papers read by the women, in style and argument, were in 
no way inferior to those of the men present. 

Letters were read from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rev. Samuel J. 
May, L. A. Hine, Elizur Wright, O. S. Eowler, Esther Ann Lukm-, 
Margaret Chappel Smith, Nancy M. Baird, Jane Cowen, Sophia L 
Little, Elizabeth Wilson, Maria L. Yarney, and Milfred A. Spafonl.'- 

Mrs. Abby H. Price, of llopedale, made an addivss <n the in- 

ju>tice of excluding girls from the colleges, the trades and the ]>n>- 

'>ns, and the importance of training them to some profitable 

labor, and thus to protect their virtue, dignity, and s!-lf-iv>iect by 

securing their pecuniary independence. 

* See Appendix. 

224 History of Woman Suffrage. 

She thought the speediest solution of the vexed problem of prostitution was 
profitable work for the rising generation of girls. The best legislation on the 
social vice was in removing the legal disabilities that cripple all their powers. 
Woman, in order to be equally independent with man, must have a fair and 
equal chance. He is in nowise restricted from doing, in every department of 
human exertion, all he is able to do. If he is bold and ambitious, and desires 
fame, every avenue is open to him. He may blend science and art, producing 
a competence for his support, until he chains them to the car of his genius, 
and, with Fulton and Morse, wins a crown of imperishable gratitude If he 
desires to tread the path of knowledge up to its glorious temple-summit, lie 
can, as he pleases, take either of the learned professions as instruments of 
pecuniary independence, while he plumes his wings for a higher and higher 
ascent. Not so with woman. Her rights are not recognized as equal ; her 
sphere is circumscribed not by her ability, but by her sex. If, perchance, her 
taste leads her to excellence, in the way they give her leave to tread, she is 
worshiped as almost divine ; but if she reaches for laurels they have in view, 
the wings of her genius are clipped because she is a woman. 

Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, of Boston, the first woman who practiced 
medicine in this country, spoke on the medical education of women. 

Sarah Tyndale, a successful merchant in Philadelphia, on the busi- 
ness capacity of woman. 

Antoinette L. Brown, a graduate of Oberlin College, and a student 
in Theology, made a logical argument on woman's position in the 
Bible, claiming her complete equality with man, the simultaneous 
creation of the sexes, and their moral responsibilities as individual 
and imperative. 

The debates on the resolutions were spicy, pointed, and logical, and 
were deeply interesting, continuing with crowded audiences through 
two entire days. In these debates Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Wen- 
dell Phillips, William Henry Channing, Ernestine L. Rose, Frederick 
Douglass, Martha Mowry, Abby Kelly and Stephen Foster, Elizabeth 
B. Chase, James 1ST. Buff am, Sojourner Truth, Eliab Capron, and 
Joseph C. Hathaway, took part. As there was no phonographic re- 
porter present, most of the best speaking, that was extemporaneous, 
can not be handed down to history. 

Among the letters to the Convention, there was one quite novel 
and interesting from Helene Marie Weber,* a lady of high literary 
character, who had published numerous tracts on the Rights of 
Woman. She contended that the physical development of woman 
was impossible in her present costume, and that her consequent en- 
feebled condition made her incapable of entering many of the most 
profitable employments in the world of work. Miss Weber exem- 

* See Appendix. 

in 1 1 *, sf tl ( inxt* T It*, riew. 

plin'ed her teachings by her practice. She usually wore a d 
coat and pantaloons of black cloth ; on full-dress occasions, a dark 
blue dress coat, with plain Hat gilt buttons, and drab-colored panta- 
loons. Her waistcoat was of buff cassimere, richly trimmed with 
plain, flat-surfaced, gold buttons, exquisitely polished; this was an 
elegant costume, and one she wore to great advantage. Her clothes 
were all perfect in their fit, and of Paris make ; and her figure 
singularly well adapted to male attire. No gentleman in Paris 
made a finer appearance. 

One of the grand results of this Convention was the thought 
roused in England. A. good report of the proceedings in the New 
York Tribune^ for Europe, of October 29, 1850, was read by the 
future Mrs. John Stuart Mill, then Mrs. Taylor, and at once called 
out from her pen an able essay in the Westminster and Foreign 
Quarterly Review, entitled " Enfranchisement of Woman." This 
attracted the attention of many liberal thinkers, and foremost of 
these, one of England's greatest philosophers and scholars, the Hon. 
John Stuart Mill, who became soon after the champion of woman's 
cause in the British Parliament. The essayist in speaking of this 
Convention says : 

Most of oar readers will probably learn, from these pages, for the first lime, 
that there has risen in the United States, and in the most civilized and enlight- 
ened portion of them, an organized agitation, on a new question, new not to 
thinkers, nor to any one by whom the principles of free and popular govern- 
ment are felt, as well as acknowledged; but new, and even unheard of, as a 
subject for public meetings, and practical political action. This question ; 
enfranchisement of women, their admission in law, and in fact, to equality in 
all rights political, civil, social, with the male citizens of the community. 

It will add to the surprise with which many will receive this intdli- 
that the agitat'on which has commenced is not a pleading by male writers 
and orators for women, those who are professedly to be benefited remaining 
either indifferent, or ostensibly hostile; it is a political movement, practical in 
its objects, carried on in a form which denotes an intention to persevere. And 
it is a movement not merely for women, but by them 

A succession of public meetings was held, under the nan:e of a %t Woman's 
Kights Convention," of which the President was a woman, and nearly all the 
chief speakers women; numerously reinforced, however, by men. anmnu' whom 
were some of the most distinguished leaders in the kindred cause ..f negro 

According to the report in the New York Triln<i . above a thousand persons 
were present, throughout, and u if a larger place could have been had, many 
thousands more would have attended." 

In regard to the quality of the speaking, the proceedings b-:ir an advan- 
tageous comparison with those of any popular movement with which w 
acquainted, either in this country or in America. Very rarely in the oratory 

226 History of Woman Suffrage. 

of public meetings is the part of verbiage and declamation so small, and that 
of calm good sense and reason so considerable. 

The result of the Convention was in every respect encouraging to those by 
whom it was summoned ; and it is probably destined to inaugurate one of the 
most important of the movements toward political and social reform, which 
are the best characteristic of the present age. That the promoters of this new 
agitation take their stand on principles, and do not fear to declare these in their 
widest extent, without time-serving or compromise, will be seen from the reso- 
lutions adopted by the Convention.* 

After giving an able argument in favor of all the demands made in 
the Convention, with a fair criticism of some of the weak things 
uttered there, she concludes by saying : 

There are indications that the example of America will be followed on this 
side of the Atlantic ; and the first step has been taken in that part of England 
where every serious movement in the direction of political progress has its 
commencement the manufacturing districts of the north. On the 13th of 
February, 1851, a petition of women, agreed to by a public meeting at Shef- 
field, and claiming the elective franchise, was presented to the House of Lords 
by the Earl of Carlisle. 

William Henry Channing, from the Business Committee, sug- 
gested a plan for organization and the principles that should govern 
the movement. In accordance with his views a National Central 
Committee was appointed, in which every State was represented. f 
Paulina Wright Davis, Chairman ; Sarah H. Earle, Secretary ; Wen- 
dell Phillips, Treasurer. 

This Convention was a very creditable one in every point of view. 
The order and perfection of the arrangements, the character of the 
papers presented, and the sustained enthusiasm, reflect honor on the 
men and women who conducted the proceedings. The large num- 
ber of letters addressed to Mrs. Davis show how extensive had been 
her correspondence, both in the old world and the new. Her 
wealth, culture, and position gave her much social influence ; her 
beauty, grace, and gentle manners drew around her a large circle of 
admiring friends. These, with her tall fine figure, her classic head 
and features, and exquisite taste in dress ; her organizing talent and 
knowledge of the question under consideration, altogether made her 
so desirable a presiding officer, that she was often chosen for that 


In accordance with a call from the Central Committee, the friends 
of Woman Suffrage assembled again in Brinley Hall, Oct. 15th 

* See Appendix. t See Appendix. 

and 16th, 1851. At an early hour the h.mse was lilK-d. and was c 
to order by Paulina AVri^ht Davis, who \vas a^ain chosen per- 
manent President. This Convention was conducted mainlv hv the 

te persons who had so successfully manage. I the proceeding 
the previous year. Mrs. Davis, on taking the chair, gave a l.rief 
resume of the steps of progress during the year, and at the eld 
her remarks, letters were read from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ilenrv 
AVard Beecher, Horace Mann, Angelina Grimke Weld, Franc: 

_e, Estelle Anna Lewis, Marion Blackwell, Oliver Johns. m, and 
Eliza Barney, all giving a hearty welcome to the new idea. Mr>. 
Emma R. Coe, of the Business Committee, called upon Wendell 
Phillips to read the resolutions* prepared for the consideration of 
the Convention. 

On rising Mr. PHILLIPS said : 

In drawing up some of these resolutions, I have used very freely the language 
of a thoughtful and profound article in the Westminster Review. It is a review 
of the proceedings of our Convention, held one year ago, and states with sin- 
gular clearness and force the leading arguments fur our reform, and the grounds 
of our claim in behalf of woman. I rejoice to see so large an audience gath- 
ered to consider this momentous subject, the most magnificent reform that has 
yet been launched up m the world. It is the first organized protest against the 
injustice which has brooded over the character and the destiny of one-half of 
the human race. Nowhere else, under any circumstances, has a demand ever 
yet been made for the liberties of one whole half of our race. Tt is fitting 
that we should pause and consider so remarkable and significant a circum- 
stance ; that we should discuss the questions involved with the seriousness and 
deliberation suitable to such an enterprise. 

It strikes, indeed, a great and vital blow at the whole social fabric of every 

nation ; but this, to my mind, is no argument against it Government 

commenced in usurpation and oppression ; liberty and civilization at pr 
are nothing else than the fragments of rights which the scaffold and the stake 
have wrung from the strong hands of the usurpers. Every step of progress the 

world has made has been from scaffold to scaffold, from stake to stake 

Government began in tyranny and force ; began in the feudalism of the soldier 
and the bigotry of the priest; and the ideas of justice and humanity have 
been fighting their way like a thunderstorm against the organized selfish 
of human nature. 

And this is the last great protest against the wrong of ages. It is no argu- 
ment, to my mind, therefore, that the old social fabric of the past is against 
us. Neither do I feel called upon to show what woman's proper sphere is. In 
every great reform the majority have always said to the claimant, no matter 
what he claimed, "You are not fit for such a privilege." Luther asked of tin- 
Pope liberty for the masses to read the Bible. The reply was that it would not 

* See Appendix. 

228 History of Woman Suffrage. 

be safe to trust the masses with the word of God. " Let them try," said the 
great reformer, and the history of three centuries of development and purity 
proclaims the result. 

The lower classes in France claimed their civil rights ; the right to vote, and 
to a direct representation in government, but the rich and lettered classes cried 
out, u You can not be made fit." The answer was, "Let us try." That France 
is not as Spain, utterly crushed beneath the weight of a thousand years of mis- 
government, is the answer to those who doubt the ultimate success of the ex- 

Woman stands now at the same door. She says: "You tell me I have no 
intellect. Give me a chance." " You tell me I shall only embarrass politics ; 
let me try." The only reply is the same stale argument that said to the Jews 
of Europe : You are fit only to make money ; you are not fit for the ranks of the 
army, or the halls of Parliament. 

How cogent the eloquent appeal of Macaulay : " What right have we to take 
this question for granted? Throw open the doors of this House of Commons ; 
throw open the ranks of the imperial army, before you deny eloquence to the 
countrymen of Isaiah, or valor to the descendants of the Maccabees." 

It is the same now with us. Throw open the doors of Congress; throw open 
those court-houses; throw wide open the doors of your colleges, and give to 
the sisters of the De Staels and the Martineaus the same opportunity for cult- 
ure that men have, and let the results prove what their capacity and intellect 
really are. When woman has enjoyed for as many centuries as we have the aid 
of books, the discipline of life, and the stimulus of fame, it will be time to be- 
gin the discussion of these questions : u What is the intellect of woman ? " " Is 
it equal to that of man ? " Till then, all such discussion is mere beating of the 
air. While it is doubtless true, that great minds make a way for themselves, 
spite of all obstacles, yet who knows how many Miltons have died, " mute and 
inglorious " ? However splendid the natural endowments, the discipline of life, 
after all, completes the miracle. The ability of Napoleon what was it ? It 
grew out of the hope to be Caesar, or Maryborough ; out of Austerlitz and Jena- 
out of his battle-fields, his throne, and all the great scenes of that eventful life. 

Open to woman the same scenes, immerse her in the same great interests and 
pursuits, and if twenty centuries shall not produce a woman Charlemagne, or a 
Napoleon, fair reason will then allow us to conclude that there is some distinct- 
ive peculiarity in the intellects of the sexes. 

Centuries alone can lay a fair basis for the argument. I believe on this point 
there is a shrinking consciousness of not being ready for the battle, on the part 
of some of the stronger sex, as they call themselves ; a tacit confession of risk 
to this imagined superiority, if they consent to meet their sisters in the lecture 
halls, or the laboratory of science. 

My proof of it is this, that the mightiest intellects of the race, from Plato 
down to the present time, some of the rarest minds of Germany, France, and 
England, have successively yielded their assent to the fact, that woman is not, 
perhaps, identically, but equally endowed with man in all intellectual capabili- 
ties. It is generally the second-rate men who doubt ; doubt because, perhaps, 
they fear a fair field. 

Suppose that woman is essentially inferior to man, she still has rights. Grant 

-' / from ILirr'nt Martineau, 

that Mrs. Norton* never could 1).- P.yn.n ; that 1 

have written Para-Use Lost ; that Mrs. Somerville nevr couM I- 

i have painted the Transfiguration, What then : Does th.i: prore thev 
should IK- deprived of all civil rirl 

John Smith will never he, never OMU he. I>;miel We' .11 he th, ; 

be put under guardianship, and forbidden to vote '. Suppose woman, though 
equal, does differ essentially in her intellect from man, is that any ground ><>r dU- 
Iranchising her? Shall the Fultons say to the Raphaels. ; . i < an not 

make steam engines, therefore you shall not vote > Shall tin- Xapoleon> or the 
Washing-tons say to the Wordsworths or the Herschels. because vou can not lead 
armies, and govern States, therefore you shall have no civil ri^l 

The following interesting letter trom Harriet Martin, 
then read, which we give in full, that the reader may see h"\v dearly 
defined was her position at that early day : 

CROMER, ENGLAND, Aug. 3, l v- >). 

DEAR MADAM : I beg to thank you heartily for your kindness in sending 
me the Report of the Proceedings of your Woman's Rights Convention. I had 
gathered what I could from the newspapers concerning it, but I was gratified 
at being able to read, in a collected form, addresses so full of earnestness and 
sound truth, as I found most of the speeches to be. I hope you are aware of 
the interest excited in this country by that Convention, the strongest iroofol 
which is the appearance of an article on the subject in The West mi n- 
(for July), as thorough-going as any of your own addresses, and from the pen 
(at least as it is unders'ood here) of one uf our very first men, Mr. John S. Mill. 
I am not without hope that this article will materially strengthen your hands, 
and I am sure it can not but cheer your hearts. 

Ever s nee I became cap ible of thinking for myself, I have clearly seen, and 
I have said it till my listeners and readers are probably tired of hearing it. that 
there can be but one true method in the treatment of each human beinu r . <>t' 
either sex, of any color, and under any outward circumstances, to ascertain what 
are the powers of that being, to cultivate them to the utmost, and den to see 
what action they will find for themselves. This has pro' ably never l.een done 
for men, unless in s >me rare individual cases. It has certainly never been done 
for women, and, till it is done, all debating about what woman's intei, 
speculation, or laying down the law, as to what is woman's sphere, is a m re 
beating of the air. A priori conceptions have long been worthless in ph 
science, and nothing was really effected till the experimental method was clearly 
made out and strictly applied in practice, and the same principle hold- 
rertainly through the whole range of moral science. 

Whether we regard the physical fact of what women are able to do, or the 
moral fact of what women ought to do, it is equally necessary to abstain from 
making any decision prior to experiment. We see plainly enough the \\ ; 

*Mrs. Caroline Norton, a distinguished English author, who -epurate.l from her hus- 
band because of cruel treatment. Herobbed her of all the profits of her bonks, an I ->f h-r 
children, and when she appealed to the Courts, English law sustained the husband in 
all his violations of natural justice. 

230 History of Woman Suffrage. 

time and thought among the men who once talked of Nature abhorring a vacu- 
um, or disputed at great' length as to whether angels could go from end to end 
without passing through the middle; and the day will come when it will 
appear to be no less absurd to have argued, as men and women are arguing 
now, about what woman ought to do, before it was ascertained what woman 
can do. 

Let us once see a hundred women educated up to the highest point that 
education at present reaches; let them be supplied with such knowledge as 
their faculties are found to crave, and let them be free to use, apply, and in- 
crease their knowledge as their faculties shall instigate, and it will presently 
appear what is the sphere of each of the hundred. 

One may be discovering comets, like Miss Herschell ; one may be laying open 
the mathematical structure of the universe, like Mrs. Somerville ; another may 
be analyzing the chemical relations of Nature in the laboratory; another may be 
penetrating the mysteries of physiology ; others may be applying science in the 
healing of diseases ; others may be investigating the laws of social relations, 
learning the great natural laws under which society, like everything else, pro- 
ceeds ; others, again, may be actively carrying out the social arrangements 
which have been formed under these laws; and others may be chiefly occupied 
in family business, in the duties of the wife and mother, and the ruler of the 

If, among the hundred women, a great diversity of powers should appear 
(which I have no doubt would be the case), there will always be plenty of scope 
and material for the greatest amount and variety of power that can be brought 
out. If not if it should appear that women fall below men in all but the do- 
mestic functions then it will be well that the experiment has been tried ; and 
the trial better go on forever, that woman's sphere may forever determine itself 
to the satisfaction of everybody. It is clear that education, to be what I de- 
mand on behalf of women, must be intended to issue in active life. 

A man's medical education would be worth little, if it was not a preparation 
for practice. The astronomer and the chemist would put little force into their 
studies, if it was certain that they must leave off in four or five years, and do 
nothing for the rest of their lives ; and no man could possibly feel much inter- 
est in political and social morals, if he knew that he must, all his life long, pay 
taxes, but neither speak nor move about public affairs. 

Women, like men, must be educated with a view to action, or their studies 
can not be called education, and no judgment can be formed of the scope of 
their faculties. The pursuit must be life's business, or it will be mere pastime 
or irksome task. This was always my point of difference with one who care- 
fully cherished a reverence for woman, the late Dr. Channing. 

How much we spoke and wrote of the old controversy, Influence vs. Office. 
He would have had any woman study anything that her faculties led her 
to, whether physical science or law, government and political economy ; but he 
would have her stop at the study. From the moment she entered the hospital 
as physician and not nurse; from the moment she took her place in a court of 
justice, in the jury box, and not the witness box ; from the moment she brought 
her mind and her voice into the legislature, instead of discussing the principles 
of laws at home ; from the moment she announced and administered iustice in- 
Biead of looking at it from afar, as a thing with which she had no concern, SMC 

Odkes Xmitlt. 881 

would, he feared, lose her influence as an observing intelligmtv, -landing by in 
a state of purity u unspotted from the worM." 

My conviction always was, that an intelligence never carried out in 
could not be worth much; and that, if all the action of hu:n:m lit'. 
character so tainted as to be unfit for women, it could be no IK-U.T tor men, and 
we ought all to sit down together, to let barbarism ov.Ttakc us onri- :norv. 

My own conviction is, that the natural action of the whole human b.-'ni: 
sions not only the most strength, but the highest elevation ; not only the wann- 
est sympathy, but the deepest purity. The highest and purest beings ;unon^ 
women seem now to be those who, far from being idle, find among n - 
stricted opportunities some means of strenuous action ; and lean not doubt that, 
if an active social career were open to all women, with due means of preparation 
for it, those who are high and holy now, would be high and holy then, and 
would be joined by an innumerable company of just spirits from among th>M- 
whose energies are now pining and fretting in enforced idleness, or unworthy 
frivolity, or brought down into pursuits and aims which are anything but pure 
and peaceable. 

In regard to the old controversy Influence vs. Office it appears to me that 
if Influence is good and Office bad for human morals and character, Man's 
present position is one of such hardship, as it is almost profane to contem- 
plate ; and if, on the contrary, Office is good and a life of Influence is bad, 
Woman has an instant right to claim that her position be amended. 

Yours faithfully, HARRIET MARTINEAU. 

From her letter, we find, that Miss Martineau shared the common 
opinion in England that the article in the Westminster fieview on the 
"Enfranchisement of Woman" was written by John Stuart Mill. 
It was certainly very complimentary to Mrs. Taylor, the real author 
of that paper, who afterward married Mr. Mill, that it should ha\ 
been supposed to emanate from the pen of that distinguished philoso- 
pher. An amusing incident is related of Mr. Mill, for the truth of 
which we can not vouch, but report says, that after reading this arti- 
cle, he hastened to read it again to Mrs. Taylor, and passing on it 
the highest praises, to his great surprise she confessed herself the 

At this Convention Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith made lu-r first 
appearance on our platform. She was well known in the liter- 
ary circles of New York as a writer of merit in journals and period- 
icals. She defended the Convention and its leaders through the col- 
umns of the New York Tribune, and afterward published a seri-> 
of articles entitled " Woman and her Needs." She early made her 
way into the lyceums and some pulpits never before open to woman. 
Her "Bertha and Lily," a woman's rights novel, and her other writ- 
ings were influential in moulding popular thought. 

Angelina Grimke, familiar with plantation life, spoke eloquently 

232 History of Woman Suffrage. 

on the parallel between the slave code and the laws for married 

Mehitable Haskell, of Gloucester, said : 

Perhaps, my friends, I ought to apologize for standing here. Perhaps 
I attach too much importance to my own age. This meeting, as I under- 
stand it, was called to discuss Woman's Rights. Well, I do not pretend 
to know exactly what woman's rights are; but I do know that I have 
groaned for forty years, yea, for fifty years, under a sense of woman's 
wrongs. I know that even when a girl, I groaned under the idea that I 
could not receive as much instruction as my brothers could. I wanted 
to be what I felt I was capable of becoming, but opportunity was denied 
me. I rejoice in the progress that has been made. I rejoice that so many 
women are here ; it denotes that they are waking up to some sense of 
their situation. One of my sisters observed that she had received great 
kindness as a wife, mother, sister, and daughter. I, too, have brethren 
in various directions, both those that are natural, and those that are 
spiritual brethren, as I understand the matter; and I rejoice to say I 
have found, I say it to the honor of my brothers, I have found more men 
than women, who were impressed with the wrongs under which our sex 
labor, and felt the need of reformation. I rejoice in this fact. 

Rebecca B. Spring followed with some pertinent remarks. Mrs. 
Emma R. Coe reviewed in a strain of pungent irony the State Laws 
in relation to woman. In discussing the resolutions, Charles List, 
Esq., of Boston, said : 

I lately saw a book wherein the author in a very eloquent, but highly 
wrought sentence, speaks of woman as "the connecting link between 
man and heaven." I think this asks too much, and I deny the right of 
woman to assume such a prerogative ; all I claim is that woman should be 
raised by noble aspiration to the loftiest moral elevation, and thus be 
fitted to train men up to become worthy companions for the pure, high- 
minded beings which all women should strive to be. A great duty rests 
on woman, and it becomes you not to lose a moment in securing for your- 
selves every right and privilege, whereby you maybe elevated and so pre- 
pared to exert the influence which man so much needs. Women fall far 
short now of exerting the moral influence intrusted to them as mothers 
and wives, consequently men are imperfectly developed in their higher 

Mrs. NICHOLS rejoined: Woman has been waiting for centuries expect- 
ing man to go before and lift her up, but he has failed to meet our ex- 
pectations, and now comes the call that she should first grasp heaven and 
pull man up after her. 

Mrs. COE said: The signs are truly propitious, when man begins to 
complain of his wrongs women not fit to be wives and mothers ! 

Who placed them in then* present position ? Who keeps them there ? 
Let woman demand the highest education in our land, and what college, 
with the exception of Oberlin, will receive her? I have myself lately 

JJV7/,//,, IL-nry Charming. 

made such a demand and been refused simply on the ground of sex. 
what is there in the highest range of intellectual pursuits. t> which 
woman may not rightfully aspire? What is tlit-iv. I'm- instance, in ih.-,i- 
ogy, which she should not strive to learn? <iiv.> mo only that i 
litrion which woman may and should become acquainted with, and tin- 

may go like chaff before the wind. 

LUCY STOXE said: I think it is not without reason that men complain 
of the wives and mothers of to-day. Let us look the fact soberly and fai rly 
in the face, and admit that there is occasion to complain of wives and 
mothers. But while I say this, let me also say that when you can 
show one woman who is what she ought to be as a wife and a mother. 
you can show not more than one man who is what he should be as a \\\\>- 
band and father. The blame is on both sides. When we add to what 
woman ought to be for her own sake, this other fact, that woman, ly 
reason of her maternity, must exert a most potent influence over th> 
generations yet to be, there is no language that can speak the magnitr.d 
or importance of the subject that has called us together. He is guilty of 
giving the world a dwarfed humanity, who would seek to hinder this 
movement for the elevation of woman ; for she is as yet a starved and de- 
pendent outcast before the law. In government she is outlawed, having 
neither voice nor part in it. In the household she is either a cea> 
drudge, or a blank. In the department of education, in industry, let 
woman's sphere be bounded only by her capacity. We desire there should 
no walls be thrown about it. Let man read his own soul, and turn over 
the pages of his own Book of Life, and learn that in the human mind there 
is always capacity for development, and then let him trust woman to 
that power of growth, no matter who says nay. Laying her hand on the 
helm, let woman steer straight onward to the fulfillment of her own des- 
tiny. Let her ever remember, that in following out the high behests of 
her own soul will be found her exceeding great reward. 

AVilliam Henry Charming then gave the report from the commit- 
tee on the social relations. Those present speak of it as a \vry al>U- 
paper on that complex question, but as it was not published with the 
proceedings, all that can be found is the following meagre abstract 
from The Worcester Spy : 

Woman has a natural right to the development of all her faculties, and 
to all the advantages that insure this result. She has the right not only 
to civil and legal justice, which lie on the outskirts of social life, bur to 
social justice, which affects the central position of society. 

Woman should be as free to marry, or remain single, and as honorable 
in either relation, as man. There should be no stigma attached to the 
single woman, impelling her to avoid the possibility of such a pition. 
by crushing her self-respect and individual ambition. A true Christian 
marriage is a sacred union of soul and sense, and tin' issu'> flowing from 
it are eternal. All obstacles in the way of severing nn.-on^-nial mar- 
riages should be removed, because such unions are unnatural, and must 
be evil in their results. Divorce in such cases should be honorable, 

234 History of Woman Suffrage. 

without subjecting the parties to the shame of exposure in the courts, or 
in the columns of the daily papers. 

Much could be accomplished for the elevation of woman by organiza- 
tions clustering round a social principle, like those already clustered 
round a religious principle, such as " Sisters of Mercy," " Sisters of Char- 
ity," etc. There should be social orders called "Sisters of Honor," hav- 
ing for their object the interests of unfortunate women. From these would 
spring up convents, where those who have escaped from false marriages 
and illegal social relations would find refuge. These organizations 
might send out missionaries to gather the despised Magdalens into safe 
retreats, and raise them to the level of true womanhood. 

Mr. Charming spoke at length on the civil and political posi- 
tion of woman, eloquently advocating the rightful ness and ex- 
pediency of woman's co-sovereignty with man, and closed by read- 
ing a very eloquent letter from Jeanne Deroine and Pauline Roland,, 
two remarkable French women, then in the prison of St. Lagare, in 
Paris, for their liberal opinions. 

Just as the agitation for woman's rights began in this country, 
Pauline Roland began in France a vigorous demand for her rights 
as a citizen. The 27th of February, 1848, she presented herself 
before the electoral reunion to claim the right of nominating the 
mayor of the city where she lived. Having been refused, she 
claimed in April of the same year the right to take part in the elec- 
tions for the Constituent Assembly, and was again refused. On 
April 12, 1849, Jeanne Deroine claimed for woman the right of 
eligibility by presenting herself as a candidate for the Legislative 
Assembly, and she sustained this right before the preparatory elec- 
toral reunions of Paris. On the 3d of October Jeanne Deroine and 
Pauline Roland, delegates from the fraternal associations, were 
elected members of the Central Committee of the Associative 
Unions. This Central Committee was for the fraternal associations 
what the Constituent Assembly was for the French Republic in. 1848. 

To the Convention of the Women of America : 

DEAR SISTERS: Your courageous declaration of Woman's Rights has 
resounded even to our prison, and has filled our souls with inexpressi- 
ble joy. 

In France the reaction has suppressed the cry of liberty of the women 
of the future. Deprived, like their brothers, of the Democracy, of the 
right to civil and political equality, and the fiscal laws which trammel 
the liberty of the press, hinder the propagation of those eternal truths 
which must regenerate humanity. 

They wish the women of France to found a hospitable tribunal, which 
shall receive the cry of the oppressed and suffering, and vindicate in the 
name of humanity, solidarity, the social right for both sexes equally ; and 

There shall be no more >S'/,/ 

where woman, the mother of humanity, may claim in th.- n;mu> of h,- r 
children, mutilated by tyranny, lier right to true liberty, to th- 

lopnient and free exercise of all her faculties, and iwral that half 
of truth which is in her, and without which no social work can !. 

The darkness of reaction has obscured the sun of 1848, which seem. -d 
to rise so radiantly. Why ? Because the revolutionary t-mp.-st. in , 
turning at the same time the throne and the scaffold, in br.-akin- 
chain of the black slave, forgot to break the chain of the most oppressed 
of all of the pariahs of humanity. 

"There shall be no more slaves," said our brethren. "We proclaim 
universal suffrage. All shall have the right to elect the agents who shall 
carry out the Constitution which should be based on the principles of 
liberty, equality, and fraternity. Let each one come and deposit his 
vote; the barrier of privilege is overturned; before the electoral urn 
there are no more oppressed, no more masters and slaves.'' 

Woman, in listening to this appeal, rises and approaches the liberating 
urn to exercise her right of suffrage as a member of society. But the 
barrier of privilege rises also before her. "You must wait," they say. 
But by this claim alone woman affirms the right, not yet recognized, of 
the half of humanity the right of woman to liberty, equality, and fra- 
ternity. She obliges man to verify the fatal attack which he makes on 
the integrity of his principles. 

Soon, in fact during the wonderful days of June, 1848, liberty glides 
from her pedestal in the flood of the victims of the reaction ; based on 
the " right of the strongest," she falls, overturned in the name of " the 
right of the strongest." 

The Assembly kept silence in regard to the right of one-half of human- 
ity, for which only one of its members raised his voice, but in vain. 
mention was made of the right of woman in a Constitution framed in th" 
name of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. 

It is in the name of these principles that woman comes to claim JUT 
right to take part in the Legislative Assembly, and to help to form 
which must govern society, of which she is a member. 

She conies to demand of the electors the consecration of the principle 
of equality by the election of a woman, and by this act she obliges man 
to prove that the fundamental law which he has formed in the sole n 
of liberty, equality, and fraternity, is still based upon privilege, and 
privilege triumphs over this phantom of universal suffrage, which, being 
but half of itself, sinks on the 31st of May, 1850. 

But while those selected by the half of the people by men alone e\ 
force to stifle liberty, and forge restrictive laws to establish order by 
compression, woman, guided by fraternity, foreseeing incessant stni_-- 

and in the hope of putting an end to them, makes an appeal b 
laborer to found liberty and equality on fraternal solidarity. The par- 
ticipation of woman gave to this work of enfranchisement an eminently 
pacific character, and the laborer recognizes the right of woman, his 
companion in labor. 

The delegates of a hundred and four associations, united, without 

236 History of Woman Suffrage. 

tinction of sex, elected two women, with several of their brethren, to 
participate equally with them in the administration of the interests of 
labor, and in the organization of the work of solidarity. 

Fraternal associations were formed with the object of enfranchising the 
laborer from the yoke of spoilage and patronage, but, isolated in the 
midst of the Old World, their efforts could only produce a feeble ame- 
lioration for themselves. 

The union of associations based on fraternal solidarity had for its end 
the organization of labor; that is to say, an equal division of labor, of 
instruments, and of the products of labor. 

The means were, the union of labor, and of credit among the workers 
of all professions, in order to acquire the instruments of labor and the 
necessary materials, and to form a mutual guarantee for the education 
of their children, and to provide for the needs of the old, the sick, and 
the infirm. 

In this organization all the workers, without distinction of sex or pro- 
fession, having an equal right to election, and being eligible for all func- 
tions, and all having equally the initiative and the sovereign decision in 
the acts of common interests, they laid the foundation of a new society 
based on liberty, equality, and fraternity. 

It is in the name of law framed by man only by those elected by 
privilege that the Old World, wishing to stifle in the germ the holy 
work of pacific enfranchisement, has shut up within the walls of a prison 
those who had founded it those elected by the laborers. 

But the impulse has been given, a grand act has been accomplished. 
The right of woman has been recognized by the laborers, and they have 
consecrated that right by the election of those who had claimed it in 
vain for both sexes, before the electoral urn and before the electoral 
committees. They have received the true civil baptism, were elected by 
die laborers to accomplish the mission of enfranchisement, and after 
having shared their rights and their duties, they share to-day their cap- 

It is from the depths of their prison that they address to you the rela- 
tion of these facts, which contain in themselves high instruction. It is 
by labor, it is by entering resolutely into the ranks of the working peo- 
ple, that women will conquer the civil and political equality on which 
depends the happiness of the world. As to moral equality, has she not 
conquered it by the power of sentiment ? It is, therefore, by the senti- 
ment of the love of humanity that the mother of humanity will find 
power to accomplish her high mission. It is when she shall have well 
comprehended the holy law of solidarity which is not an obscure and 
mysterious dogma, but a living providential fact that the kingdom of 
God promised by Jesus, and which is no other than the kingdom of 
equality and justice, shall be realized on earth. 

Sisters of America! your socialist sisters of France are united with you 
in the vindication of the right of woman to civil and political equality. 
We have, moreover, the profound conviction that only by the power of 
association based on solidarity by the union of the working-classes of 
both sexes to organize labor can be acquired, completely and pacif- 
cally, the civil and political equality of woman, and the social right for all. 

Prison <f St. L<i : 

It is in this confidence that, from the depths of the jail which ..till im- 
prisons our bodies without reaching our hearts, we cry ^\\\\, 
Love, Hope, and send to you our sisterly salutations. 

PARIS, PRISON OF ST. LAGARE, June 15, 1851. 

Ernestine L. Rose, having known something of European 
isin, followed Mr. Channing in a speech of great pathos and power. 
She said : 

After having heard the letter read from our poor incarcerated sisters 
of France, well might we exclaim, Alas, poor France! where is thy glory ? 
Where the glory of the Revolution of 1848, in which shone forth the pure 
and magnanimous spirit of an oppressed nation struggling for Freedom ? 
Where the fruits of that victory that gave to the world the motto. Lib- 
erty. Equality, and Fraternity" ? A motto destined to hurl the tyranny 
of kings and priests into the dust, and give freedom to the enslaved mil- 
lions of the earth. Where, I again ask, is the result of those noble 
achievements, when woman, ay, one-half of the nation, is deprived of 
her rights ? Has woman then been idle during the contest between 
" right and might" ? Has she been wanting in ardor and enthusiasm < 
Has she not mingled her blood with that of her husband, son, and sire > 
Or has she been recreant in hailing the motto of liberty floating on your 
banners as an omen of justice, peace, and freedom to man, that at ihe 
first step she takes practically to claim the recognition of her rights, she 
is rewarded with the doom of a martyr ? 

But right has not yet asserted her prerogative, for might rules the day ; 
and as every good cause must have it& martyrs, why should woman not 
be a martyr for her cause ? But need we wonder that France, governed 
as she is by Russian and Austrian despotism, does not recognize the 
rights of humanity in the recognition of the rights of woman, when e\ -n 
here, in this far-famed land of freedom, under a Republic that has in- 
scribed on its banner the great truth that "all men are created live and 
equal, and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pur- 
suit of happiness " a declaration borne, like the vision of hope, on 
wings of light to the remotest parts of the earth, an omen of freedom TO 
the oppressed and down-trodden children of man when, even here, in 
tin- very face of this eternal truth, woman, the mockingly so-called ' 
ter half" of man, has yet to plead for her rights, nay, for her life, 
what is life without liberty, and what is liberty without equality of 
rights? And as for the pursuit of happiness, she is not allowed i> 
choose any line of action that might promote it; she has only thankfully 
to accept what man in his magnanimity decides as best for her t 
and this is what he does not choose to do himself. 

Is she then not included in that declaration ? Answer, ye \.Ne men 
of the nation, and answer truly; add not hypocrisy to oppression : Say 
that she is not created free and equal, and therefore (for the sequence 

238 History of Woman Suffrage. 

follows on the premise) that she is not entitled to life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness. But with all the audacity arising from, an assumed 
superiority, you dare not so libel and insult humanity as to say, that she 
is not included in that declaration; and if she is, then what right has 
man, except that of might, to deprive woman of the rights and privi- 
leges he claims for himself? And why, in the name of reason and jus- 
tice, why should she not have the same rights ? Because she is woman ? 
Humanity recognizes no sex; virtue recognizes no sex; mind recognizes 
no sex ; life and death, pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, recog- 
nize no sex. Like man, woman conies involuntarily into existence; like 
him, she possesses physical and mental and moral powers, on the proper 
cultivation of which depends her happiness; like him she is subject to 
all the vicissitudes of life; like him she has to pay the penalty for dis- 
obeying nature's laws, and far greater penalties has she to suffer from 
ignorance of her more complicated nature; like him she enjoys or suf- 
fers with her country. Yet she is not recognized as his equal ! 

In the laws of the land she has no rights ; in government she has no 
voice. And in spite of another principle, recognized in this Republic, 
namely, that " taxation without representation is tyranny," she is taxed 
without being represented. Her property may be consumed by taxes to 
defray the expenses of that unholy, unrighteous custom called war, yet 
she has no power to give her vote against it. From the cradle to the 
grave she is subject to the power and control of man. Father, guardian, 
or husband, one conveys her like some piece of merchandise over to the 

At marriage she loses her entire identity, and her being is said to have 
become merged in her husband. Has nature thus merged it ? Has she 
ceased to exist and feel pleasure and pain ? When she violates the laws 
of her being, does her husband pay the penalty ? When she breaks 
the moral laws, does he suffer the punishment ? When he supplies his 
wants, is it enough to satisfy her nature ? And when at his nightly 
orgies, in the grog-shop and the oyster-cellar, or at the gaming-table, he 
squanders the means she helped, by her co-operation and economy, to 
accumulate, and she awakens to penury and destitution, will it supply 
the wants of her children to tell them that, owing to the superiority of 
man she had no redress by law, and that as her being was merged in his, 
so also ought theirs to be ? What an inconsistency, that from the mo- 
ment she enters that compact, in which she assumes the high responsi- 
bility of wife and mother, she ceases legally to exist, and becomes a purely 
submissive being. Blind submission in woman is considered a virtue, 
while submission to wrong is itself wrong, and resistance to wrong is 
virtue, alike in woman as in man. 

But it will be said that the husband provides for the wife, or in other 
words, he feeds, clothes, and shelters her! I wish I had the power to 
make every one before me fully realize the degradation contained in that 
idea. Yes! he keeps her, and so he does a favorite horse; by law they 
are both considered his property. Both may, when the cruelty of the 
owner compels them to, run away, be brought back by the strong arm of 
the law, and according to a still extant law of England, both may be led 

Ernestim L. R< 

by the halter to the market-place, and sold. This i> humiliating in 
but nevertheless true; and the sooner these thing- .-in- known an 
.In-stood, the better for humanity. It is no fancy sketch. I know that 
some endeavor to throw the mantle of romance over the Subject, and 
treat woman like some ideal existence, not liable in the ills of life. I .. t 
those deal in fancy, that have nothing better to deal in; we hav.- to .1.) 
with sober, sad realities, with stubborn facts. 

:in. I shall be told that the law presumes the hu.-bnnd to be kind, 
affectionate, and ready to provide for and protect his wife. But what 
right, I ask, has the law to presume at all on the subject? What right 
has the law to intrust the interest and happiness of one being into the 
hands of another? And if the merging of the interest of one being into 
the other is a necessary consequence on marriage, why should woman 
always remain on the losing side? Turn the tables. Let the identity 
and interest of the husband be merged in the wife. Think you she 
would act less generously toward him, than he toward her? Think 
you she is not capable of as much justice, disinterested devotion, and 
abiding affection, as he is? Oh, how grossly you misunderstand and 
wrong her nature! But we desire no such undue power overman; it 
would be as wrong in her to exercise it as it now is in him. All we claim 
is an equal legal and social position. We have nothing to do with indi- 
vidual man, be he good or bad, but with the laws that oppress woman. 
We know that bad and unjust laws must in the nature of things make 
man so too. If he is kind, affectionate, and consistent, it is because the 
kindlier feelings, instilled by a mother, kept warm by a sister, and cher- 
ished by a wife, will not allow him to carry out these barbarous laws 
.against woman. 

But the estimation she is generally held in, is as degrading as it i? 
foolish. Man forgets that \voinan can not be degraded without i ; 
acting on himself. The impress of hor mind is stamped on him by 
nature, and the early education of the mother, which no after-training 
<jan entirely efface; and therefore, the estimation she is held in falls 
back with double force upon him. Yet, from the force of prejudice 
against her, he knows it not. Not long ago, I saw an account of two 
-offenders, brought before a Justice of New York. One was charged with 
stealing a pair of boots, for which offense he was sentenced to 
months' imprisonment; the other crime was assault and battery upon 
his wife: he was let off with a reprimand from tin; judge! With my 
principles, I am entirely opposed to punishment, and hold, that to re- 
form the erring and remove the causes of evil is much more efficient, as 
well as just, than to punish. But the judge showed us the comparative 
value which he set on these two kinds of property. But then you must 
remember that the boots were taken by a stranger, while the wife \\-as 
insulted by her legal owner! Here it will be said, that such degrading 
cases are but few. For the sake of humanity, I hope tln-y are. But as 
Jong as woman shall be oppressed by unequal laws, so long will she be 
degraded by man. 

We have hardly an adequate idea how all-powerful law is in forming 
public opinion, in giving tone and character to the mass of society. To 

240 History of Woman Suffrage. 

illustrate my point, look at that infamous, detestable law, which was 
written in human blood, and signed and sealed with life and liberty, 
that eternal stain on the statute book of this country, the Fugitive Slave 
Law. Think you that before its passage, you could have found any in 
the free States except a few politicians in the market base enough 
to desire such a law? No! no! Even those who took no interest in 
the slave question, would have shrunk from so barbarous a thing. But 
no sooner was it passed, than the ignorant mass, the rabble of the self- 
styled Union Safety Committee, found out that we were a law-loving, 
law-abiding people ! Such is the magic power of Law. Hence the ne- 
cessity to guard against bad ones. Hence also the reason why we call 
on the nation to remove the legal shackles from woman, and it will have 
a beneficial effect on that still greater tyrant she has to contend with r 
Public Opinion. 

Carry out the republican principle of universal suffrage, or strike it 
from your banners and substitute " Freedom and Power to one half of 
society, and Submission and Slavery to the other." Give woman the 
elective franchise. Let married women have the same right to property 
that their husbands have; for whatever the difference in their respective 
occupations, the duties of the wife are as indispensable and far more 
arduous than the husband's. Why then should the wife, at the death 
of her husband, not be his heir to the same extent that he is heir to 
her ? In this inequality there is involved another wrong. When the 
wife dies, the husband is left in the undisturbed possession of all there 
is, and the children are left with him; no change is made, no stranger in- 
trudes on his home and his affliction. But when the husband dies, the wid- 
ow, at best receives but a mere pittance, while strangers assume authority 
denied to the wife. The sanctuary of affliction must be desecrated by 
executors; everything must be ransacked and assessed, lest she should 
steal something out of her own house; and to cap the climax, the chil- 
dren must be placed under guardians. When the husba'nd dies poor, to 
be sure, no guardian is required, and the children are left for the mother 
to care and toil for, as best she may. But when anything is left for their 
maintenance, then it must be placed in the hands of strangers for safe 
keeping ! The bringing-up and safety of the children are left with the 
mother, and safe they are in her hands. But a few hundred or thousand 
dollars can not be intrusted with her! 

But, say they, "in case of a second marriage, the children must be 
protected in their property." Does that reason not hold as good in the 
case of the husband as in that of the wife? Oh, no! When Tie marries 
again, he still retains his identity and power to act; but she becomes 
merged once more into a mere nonentity ; and therefore the first hus- 
band must rob her to prevent the second from doing so ! Make the laws 
regulating property between husband and wife, equal for both, and all 
these difficulties would be removed. 

According to a late act, the wife has a right to the property she brings 
at marriage, or receives in any way after marriage. Here is some pro- 
vision for the favored few; but for the laboring many, there is none. 
The mass of the people commence life with no other capital than the 

Children Idony to Fatlms. i_>41 

union of heads, hearts, and hands. To the benefit of this best of < api- 
tal. The wile has no right. If they are unsuccessful in married life, who 
sutlers more the bitter consequences of poverty than the wife.- Hut if 
suceesslnl, she can not call a dollar her own. The husband may will 
away every dollar of the personal property, and leave her destitute and 
penniless, and she has no redress by law. And even where real estate is 
left she receives but a life-interest in a third part of it, and at her 
death, she can not leave it to any one belonging to her: it fall- hack even 
to the remotest of his relatives. This is law, but where is the ju>ti<-e of 
\\'. Well might we say that laws were made to prevent, not to promote, 
the ends of justice. 

In case of separation, why should the children be taken from the pro- 
tecting care of the mother? Who has a better right to them than >\i>-< 
How much do fathers generally do toward bringing them up.' WIi.-ii 
he comes home from business, and the child is in good humor and hand- 
some trim, he takes the little darling on his knee and plays with it. 
But when the wife, with the care of the whole household on her shoul- 
ders. with little or no help, is not able to put them in the best order, 
how much does he do for them? Oh, no! Fathers like to have children 
good natured, well-behaved, and comfortable, but how to put them in 
that desirable condition is out of their philosophy. Children always 
depend more on the tender, watchful care of the mother, than of the 
father. Whether from nature, habit, or both, the mother is much more 
capable of administering to their health and comfort than the father, 
and therefore she has the best right to them. And where there is prop- 
erty, it ought to be divided equally between them, with an additional 
provision from the father toward the maintenance and education of the 

Much is said about the burdens and responsibilities of married men. 
Responsibilities indeed there are, if they but felt them; but as to bur- 
dens, what are they? The sole province of man seems to be centered in 
that one thing, attending to some business. I grant that owing to the 
present unjust and unequal reward for labor, many have to work too 
hard for a subsistence; but whatever his vocation, he has to attend as 
much to it before as after marriage. Look at your bachelors, ami Bee if 
they do not strive as much for wealth, and attend as steadily to biisi- 
ness, as married men. No! the husband has little or no increase of bur- 
den, and every increase of comfort after marriage; while most of the 
burdens, cares, pains, and penalties of married life fall on the wife. 
How unjust and cruel, then, to have all the laws in his favor' If any 
difference should be made by law between husband and wit'.-, n 
justice, and humanity, if their voices were heard, would dictate that it 
.hould be in her favor. 

No! there is no reason against woman's elevation, but there are deep- 
rooted, hoary-headed prejudices. The main cause of them is, a perni- 
cious falsehood propagated against her being, namely, that she is inferior 
by her nature. Inferior in what.' What has man ever done, that woman, 
under the same advantages, could not do: 1 In morals, had MS -he i>. -he 
is generally considered his superior. In the intellectual sphere, give her 

-42 History of Worn cm Suffrage. 

*i fair chance before you pronounce a verdict against her. Cultivate the 
frontal portion of her brain as much as that of man is cultivated, and 
she will stand his equal at least. Even now, where her mind has been 
called out at all, her intellect is as bright, as capacious, and as powerful 
as his. Will you tell us, that women have 110 Newtons, Shakespeares, 
and Byrons? Greater natural powers than even those possessed may 
have been destroyed in woman for want of proper culture, a just appre- 
ciation, reward for merit as an incentive to exertion, and freedom of 
action, without which, mind becomes cramped and stifled, for it can not 
-expand under bolts and bars; and yet, amid all blighting, crushing cir- 
cumstances confined within the narrowest possible limits, trampled 
upon by prejudice and injustice, from her education and position forced 
to occupy herself almost exclusively with the most trivial affairs in 
spite of all these difficulties, her intellect is as good as his. The few 
bright meteors in man's intellectual horizon could well be matched by 
woman, were she allowed to occupy the same elevated position. There 
is no need of naming the De Stae'ls, the Rolands, the Somervilles, the 
Wollstonecrofts. the Sigourneys, the Wrights, the Martineaus, the He- 
manses, the Fullers, Jagellos, and many more of modern as well as ancient 
times, to prove her mental powers, her patriotism, her self-sacrificing 
devotion to the cause of humanity, and the eloquence that gushes from 
her pen, or from her tongue. These things are too well known to require 
repetition. And do you ask for fortitude, energy, and perseverance? 
Then look at woman under suffering, reverse of fortune, and affliction, 
when the. strength and power of man have sunk to the lowest ebb, when 
his mind is overwhelmed by the dark waters of despair. She, like the 
tender ivy plant bent yet unbroken by the storms of life, not only 
upholds her own hopeful courage, but clings around the tempest-fallen 
oak, to speak hope to his faltering spirit, and shelter him from the 
returning blast of the storm. 

In looking over the speeches of Elizabeth Oakes Smith, Abby 
Kelly Foster, Clarina Howard Nichols, Antoinette Brown, and 
Lucy Stone, and the well-digested reports by Paulina Wright Davis 
on Education, Abby Price on Industry, and William Henry Chan- 
ning on the Social Relations, comprising the whole range of wom- 
an's rights and duties, we feel that the report of one of these meet- 
ings settles the question of woman's capacity to reason. At every 
session of this two days' Convention Brinley Hall was so crowded at 
an early hour that hundreds were unable to gain admittance. Ac- 
cordingly, the last evening it was proposed to adjourn to the City 
Hall ; and even that spacious auditorium was crowded long before 
the hour for assembling. It may be said with truth, that in the 
whole history of the woman suffrage movement there never was at 
one time more able and eloquent men and women on our platform, 
and represented by letter there, than in these Worcester Conven- 

Rev. /////'// 7v7/,.>/x 

tions, which called out mimei-on- roinplimfmury comment- ind 

torial iiutici-s, nutablv tlu i followim* : 


[From the New York Christian Inquirtr, Rev. Henry Bellow*, D.D., editor.] 


\\*e have read the report of the proceedings of this Convention with 
lively interest and general satisfaction. We confe onr.--l\v- to be much 
surprised at the prevailing good sense, propriety, and moral elevati 
the meeting. Xo candid reader can deny the exi.-tem f singular abil- 
ity, honest and pure aims, eloquent and forcible advocacy, and a .-tart- 
ling power in the reports and speeches of this Convention. For good, or 
for evil, it seems to us to be the most important meeting .-hire that held 
in the cabin of the Mayflower. That meeting recogni/ed the social ami 
political equality of one-half the human race; this asserts the -ocial ami 
political equality of the other half, and of the whole. Imagine the ditl'.-r- 
ence which it would have made in our Declaration of Independ'-n 
have inserted "and women" in the first clause of the self evident truth.- 
it asserts: "that all men and women are created equal." This Conven- 
tion declares this to be the true interpretation of the Declaration, and 
at any rate, designs to amend the popular reading of the instrument to 
this effect. Nor is it a theoretical change which is aimed at. No more 
practical or tremendous revolution was ever sought in society, than that 
which this Woman's Rights Convention inaugurates. To emancipate 
half the human race from its present position of dependence on the 
other half; to abolish every distinction between the sexes that can be 
abolished, or which is maintained by statute or conventional usage ; to 
throw open all the employments of society with equal freedom to men 
and women; to allow no difference whatsoever, in the eye of the law. in 
their duties or their rights, this, we submit, is a reform, surpas.-iiiL:. in 
pregnancy of purpose and potential results, any other now upon the 
platform, if it do not outweigh Magna Charta and our Declaration 

We very well recollect the scorn with which the annual procession of 
the first Abolitionists was greeted in Boston, some thirty years ago. The 
children had no conception of the " Bobolition Society,' 1 but a- of a set 
of persons making themselves ridiculous for the amusement of the pub- 
lic; but that "Bobolition Society" has shaken the Union to its cent. r. 
and filled the world with sympathy and concern. The Woman'- RL-ht- 
Convention is in like manner a thing for honest scorn to point its tin-- r 
at; but a few years may prove that we pointed the finger, not at an illu- 
minated balloon, but at the rising sun. 

We have no hesitation in acknowledging ourselves to be among those 
who have regarded this movement with decided di-tru.-t ami di.-t 
It we have been more free than others to express tin.- di.-gn.-t. we have 
perhaps rendered some service, by representing a common sentiment 
with which this reform has to contend. We would be among the tir.-t 
to acknowledge that our objection- have not grown out of any d.-lib. 
ideration of the principles involved in the que-tion. They 1 

244 History of Woman Suffrage. 

been founded on instinctive aversion, on an habitual respect for public 
sentiment, on an irresistible feeling of the ludicrousness of the proposed 
reform in its details. Certainly social instinct has its proper place in 
the judgments we pass on the manners of both sexes. What is offensive- 
to good taste meaning by good taste, the taste of the most educated 
and refined people has the burden of proof resting upon it when it 
claims respect and attention. But we should be the last to assert that 
questions of right and rights have no appeal from the bar of conven- 
tional taste to that of reason. 

And however it may have been at the outset, we think the Woman's 
Rights question has now made good its title to be heard in the superior 
court. The principles involved in this great question we can not now 
discuss; but we have a few thoughts upon the attitude of the reformer 
toward society, which we would respectfully commend to attention. If 
the female sex is injured in its present position, it is an injury growing 
out of universal mistake; an honest error, in which the sexes have con- 
spired, without intentional injustice on one side, or feeling of wrong ort 
the other. Indeed, we could not admit that there had been thus far 
any wrong or mistake at all, except in details. Mankind have hitherto- 
found the natural functions of the two sexes marking out different 
spheres for them. Thus far, as we think, the circumstances of the- 
world have compelled a marked division of labor, and a marked differ- 
ence of culture and political position between the sexes. 

The facts of superior bodily strength on the masculine side, and of 
maternity on the feminine side, small as they are now made to appear, 
are very great and decisive facts in themselves, and have necessarily gov- 
erned the organization of society. It is between the sexes, as between 
the races, the strongest rules ; and it has hitherto been supposed to be 
of service to the common interest of society, that this rule should be le- 
galized and embodied in the social customs of every community. AP. a 
fact, woman, by her bodily weakness and her maternal office, was from, 
the first, a comparatively private and domestic creature; her education, 
from circumstances, was totally different, her interests were different, the 
sources of her happiness different from man's, and as a fact, all these things,, 
though with important modifications, have continued to be so to this day. 
The fact has seemed to the world a final one. It has been thought that 
in her present position, she was in her best position relative to man, 
which her nature or organization admitted of. That she is man's inferior 
in respect to all offices and duties requiring great bodily powers, or great 
moral courage, or great intellectual effort, has been almost universally 
supposed, honestly thought too, and without the least disposition to 
deny her equality, on this account, in the scale of humanity. 

For in respect to moral sensibility, affections, manners, tastes, and 
the passive virtues, woman has long been honestly felt to be the superior 
of man. The political disfranchisement of women, and their seclusion 
from publicity, have grown out of sincere convictions that their nature 
and happiness demanded from man an exemption from the cares, and a 
protection from the perils of the out-of-door world. Mankind, in both 
its parts, may have been utterly mistaken in this judgment; but it ha? 

Conventional Prev<li<->*. 245 

been nearly universal, and thoroughly sincere, based thus far, we think, 
upon staring facts and compulsory circumstances. 

In starting a radical reform upon this subject, it is expedient that it 
should be put, not on the basis of old grievances, but upon the ground 
<>t' n'\v light, of recent and fresh experiences, of change of circumstances. 
It may be that the relative position of the sexes is so changed by an ad- 
vancing civilization, that the time has come for questioning the conclu- 
sion of the world respecting woman's sphere. All surprise at opposition 
to this notion, all sense of injury, all complaint of past injustice, ought 
to cease. Woman's part has been the part which her actual state made 
necessary. If another and a better future is opening, let us see it and 
rejoice in it as a new gift of Providence. 

And we are not without suspicion that the time for some great change 
lias arrived. At any rate, we confess our surprise at the weight of the rea- 
soning brought forward by the recent Convention, and shall endeavor 
henceforth to keep our masculine mind, full, doubtless, of conventional 
prejudices, open to the light which is shed upon the theme. 

Meanwhile, we must beg the women who are pressing this reform, to 
consider that the conservatism of instinct and taste, though not infallible. 
i respectable and worth attention. The opposition they will receive is 
founded on prejudices that are not selfish, but merely masculine. It 
springs from no desire to keep women down, but from a desire to keep 
them up; from a feeling, mistaken it maybe, that their strength, and 
their dignity, and their happiness, lie in their seclusion from the rival- 
ries, strifes, and public duties of life. The strength and depth of the re- 
spect and love for woman, as woman, which characterize this age, can 
not be overstated. But woman insists upon being respected, as a kin- 
dred intellect, a free competitor, and a political equal. And we have 
suspicions that she may surprise the conservative world by making her 
pretensions good. Only meanwhile let her cespect the affectionate and 
sincere prejudices, if they be prejudices, which adhere to the other view, a 
view made honorable, if not proved true, by the experiences of all the ages 
of the past. We hope to give the whole subject more attention in future. 
Indeed it will force attention. It may be the solution of many social 
problems, long waiting an answer, is delayed by the neglect to take 
woman's case into fuller consideration. The success of the present re- 
form would give an entirely new problem to political and social philoso- 
phers! At present we endeavor to hold ourselves in a candid suspense. 

Judging Dr. Bellows by the above editorial, he had made some 
in one year. A former article from his pen called out the 
following criticism from Mrs. Rose : 

After last year's Woman's Convention, I saw an article in the Christ inn 
Inquirer, a Unitarian paper, edited by the Rev. Mr. Bellows, of New York, 
where, in reply to a correspondent on the subject of Woman's Rights, in 
which he strenuously opposed her taking part in anything in public, he 
said: " Place woman unbonneted and unshawled before the public gaze 
and what becomes of her modesty and her virtue?" In his benighted 

2 46 History of Woman Suffrage. 

mind, the modesty and virtue of woman is of so fragile a nature, that 
when it is in contact with the atmosphere, it evaporates like chloroform. 
But I refrain to comment on such a sentiment. It carries with it its own 
deep condemnation. When I read the article, I earnestly wished I had 
the ladies of the writer's congregation before me, to see whether they 
could realize the estimation their pastor held them in. Yet I hardly' 
know which sentiment was strongest in me, contempt for such foolish 
opinions, or pity for a man that has so degrading an opinion of woman 
of the being that gave him life, that sustained his helpless infancy with 
her ever-watchful care, and laid the very foundation for the little mind 
he may possess of the being he took to his bosom as the partner of his 
joys and sorrows the one whom, when he strove to win her affection, he 
courted, as all such men court woman, like some divinity. Such a man 
deserves our pity ; for I can not realize that a man purposely and willfully 
degrades his mother, sister, wife, and daughter. No ! my better nature, 
my best knowledge and conviction forbid me to believe it. 


In February, 1853, Paulina Wright Davis started a woman's pa- 
per called The Una, published in Providence, Rhode Island, with 
the following prospectus : 

Usage makes it necessary to present our readers with a prospectus set- 
ting forth our aims and objects. Our plan is to publish a paper monthly, 
devoted to the interests of woman. Our purpose is to speak clear, earnest 
words of truth and soberness in a spirit of kindness. To discuss the 
rights, duties, sphere, and destiny of woman fully and fearlessly. So far 
as our voice shall be heard, it will be ever on the side of freedom. We 
shall not confine ourselves to any locality, sex, sect, class, or caste, for we 
hold to the solidarity of the* race, and believe if one member suffers, all 
suffer, and the highest made to atone for the lowest. Our mystical name, 
The Una, signifying T?*uth, will be to us a constant suggestion of fidelity 
to all. 

The Una could boast for its correspondents some of the ablest 
men and women in the nation ; such as William H. Chan n ing, 
Elizabeth Peabody, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Rev. A. D. 
Mayo, Dr. William Elder, Ednah D. Cheney, Caroline H. Dall, 
Fanny Fern. Elizabeth Oakes Smith, Frances D. Gage, Hannah 
Tracy Cutler, Abby H. Price, Marion Finch, of Liverpool, Hon. 
John Neal, of Portland, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 

For some time Mrs. Dall assisted in the editorial department. 
The Una was the first pronounced Woman Suffrage paper ; it lived 
three years. Glancing over the bound volumes, one may glean 
much valuable information of what was said and done during that 
period. We learn that Lady Grace Vandeleur, in person, canvassed 
the election of Kilrush, Ireland, and from her ladyship's open car- 

<>f Ally May Alcott and Others. 247 

. addrosi'd a large assemblage of electors on beh'alf of her 
husband, the Conservative candidate. She was enthusiastically 
greeted by the populace. 

The Jfaine Age announces the election of a Miss Kose to the office 
of Register of Deeds, and remarks : " Before the morning of the 
twentieth century dawns, women will not simply fill your offices of 
Jleii'istor of Deeds, but they will occupy seats in your Legislative 
Halls, on your judicial benches, and in the executive chair of State 
and Nation. We deprecate it, yet we perceive its inevitability, and 
await the shock with firmness and composure." 

This same year, The Una narrates the following amusing incident 

that occurred in the town of P , New Hampshire : It is customary 

in the country towns for those who choose to do so, to pay their 
proportion of the highway tax, in actual labor on the roads, at the 
rate of eight cents an hour, instead of paying money. Two able- 
bodied and strong-hearted women in F , who found it very in- 

enient to pay the ready cash required of them, determined to 
avail themselves of this custom. They accordingly presented them- 
selves to the surveyor of the highway with hoes in their hands, and 
demanded to be set to work. The good surveyor was sorely puz- 
zled ; such a thing as women working out their taxes, had never 
been heard of, and yet the law made no provision against it. He 
consulted his lawyer, who advised him that he had no power to re- 
fuse. Accordingly the two brave women worked, and worked well, 
in spreading sand and gravel, saved their pennies, and no doubt 
felt all the better for their labor. 

In the April Number, 1853, we find the following appeal to the 
citizens of Massachusetts, on the equal political rights of woman : 

FELLOW-CITIZENS: In May next a Convention will assemble to revise 
the Constitution of the Commonwealth. 

At such a time it is the right and duty of every one to point out what- 
ever he deems erroneous and imperfect in that instrument, and press its 
amendment on public attention. 

We deem the extension to woman of all civil rights, a measure of vital 
importance to the welfare and progress of the State. On every principle 
of natural justice, as well as by the nature of our institutions, she is as 
fully entitled as man to vote, and to be eligible to office. In govern - 
nn'iiTs based on force, it might be pretended with some plausibility, that 
woman being supposed physically weaker than man, should be excluded 
from the State. But ours is a government professedly resting on the 
consent of the governed. Woman is surely as competent to give that 
consent as man. Our Revolution claimed that taxation and representa- 
tion should be co-extensive. "\Yhil' the property and labor of women 
are subject to taxation, she is entitled to a voice in fixing the amount 

248 History of Woman Suffrage. 

of taxes, arid the use of them when collected, and is entitled to a voice 
in the laws that regulate punishments. It would be a disgrace to our 
schools and civil institutions, for any one to argue that a Massachusetts 
woman who has enjoyed the full advantage of all their culture, is not as 
competent to form an opinion on civil matters, as the illiterate foreigner 
landed but a few years before upon our shores unable to read or write 
by no means free from early prejudices, and little acquainted with our 
institutions. Yet such men are allowed to vote. 

Woman as wife, mother, daughter, and owner of property, has im- 
portant rights te be protected. The whole history of legislation so un- 
equal between the sexes, shows that she can not safely trust these to 
the other sex. Neither have her rights as mother, wife, daughter, labor- 
er, ever received full legislative protection. Besides, our institutions 
are not based on the idea of one class receiving protection from another; 
but on the well-recognized rule that each class, or sex, is entitled to 
such civil rights, as wiH enable it to protect itself. The exercise of civil 
rights is one of the best means of education. Interest in great questions, 
and the discussion of them under momentous responsibility, call forth 
all the faculties and nerve them to their fullest strength. The grant of 
these rights on the part of society, would quickly lead to the enjoyment 
by woman, of a share in the higher grades of professional employment. 
Indeed, without these, mere book study is often but a waste of time. 
The learning for which no use is found or anticipated, is too frequently 
forgotten, almost as soon as acquired. The influence of such a share, 
on the moral condition of society, is still more important. Crowded 
now into few employments, women starve each other by close competi- 
tion; and too often vice borrows overwhelming power of temptation 
from poverty. Open to women a great variety of employments, and her 
wages in each will rise ; the energy and enterprise of the more highly 
endowed, will find full scope in honest effort, and the frightful vice of 
our cities will be stopped at its fountain-head. We hint very briefly at 
these matters. A circular like this will not allow room for more. Some 
may think it too soon to expect any action from the Convention. Many 
facts lead us to think that public opinion is more advanced on this ques- 
tion than is generally supposed. Beside, there ctoi be no time so proper 
to call public attention to a radical change in our civil polity as now, 
when the whole framework of our government is to be subjected to ex- 
amination and discussion. It is never too early to begin the discussion 
of any desired change. To urge our claim on the Convention, is to 
bring our question before the proper tribunal, and secure at the same 
time the immediate attention of the general public. Massachusetts, 
though she has led the way in most other reforms, has in this fallen be- 
hind her rivals, consenting to learn, as to the protection of the property 
of married women, of many younger States. Let us redeem for her the 
old pre-eminence, and urge her to set a noble example in this the iiioj?t 
important of all civil reforms. To this we ask you to join with us* in 
the accompanying petition to the Constitutional Convention. 

* Abby May Alcott, Abby Kelly Foster, Lucy Stone, Thomas W. Higginaon, Ann 
Green Phillips, Wendell Phillips, Anna Q. T. Parsons, Theodore Parker, William J. Bow- 

Thomas Wciitworth /////</ //*.<?0w. 249 

In favor of this Appeal Lucy Stone, Theodore Parker, Wendell 
Phillips, and Thomas Wentworth Hi^ginson, were heard. 

We find in The Una the following report of Mr. Higginson's 
speech hefore the Committee of the Constitutional Convention on 
the qualification of voters, June 3, 1853, the question being on the 
petition of Abhy May Alcott, and other women of Massachusetts, 
that they be permitted to vote on the amendments that may be 
made to the Constitution. 


I need hardly suggest to the Committee the disadvantage under which 
I appear before them, in coming to glean after three of the most eloquent 
voices in this community, or any other [Lucy Stone, Wendell Phillips,., 
and Theodore Parker] ; in doing this, moreover, without having heard 
all their arguments, and in a fragment of time at the end of a two hours' 
bitting. I have also the minor disadvantage of gleaning after myself, 
having just ventured to submit a more elaborate essay on this subject, 
in a different form, to the notice of the Convention. 

I shall therefore abstain from all debate upon the general question, 
and confine myself to the specific point now before this Committee. I 
shall waive all inquiry as to the right of women to equality in education, 
in occupations, or in the ordinary use of the elective franchise. The 
question before this Committee is not whether women shall become 
legal voters but whether they shall have power to say, once for all, 
whether they wish to become legal voters. Whether, in one word, they 
desire to accept this Constitution which the Convention is framing. 

It is well that the question should come up in this form, since the one 
efficient argument against the right of women to vote, in ordinary cases, 
is the plea that they do not wish to do it. " Their whole nature revolts 
at it.'' Very well; these petitioners simply desire an opportunity for 
Massachusetts women to say whether their nature does revolt at it 
or no. 

The whole object of this Convention, as I heard stated by one of its 
firmest advocates, is simply this: to "make the Constitution of Massa- 
chusetts consistent with its own first principles." This is all these peti- 
tioners demand. Give them the premises which are conceded in our 
existing Bill of Rights, or even its Preamble, and they ask no more. I 
shrJl draw my few weapons from this source. I know that this document 
is not binding upon your Convention; nothing is binding upon you but 
,al and absolute justice, and my predecessor has taken care of the 
claims of that. But the Bill of Rights is still the organic law of this 
State, and I can quote no better authority for those principles which lie 
at the foundation of all that we call republicanism. 

ditch, Samuel E. Sewall, Ellis Gray Loring, Charles K. Whipple, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, 
Harriot K. Hunt, Thomas T. Stone, John W. Browne, Francis Jackson, Josiah F. 
Mary Fhtir-, Elizabeth Smith, Eliza Barney, Abby H. Price, William 0. Nell, 
Samuel May, Jr., Robert F. \Vallcott, Robert Morris, A. Bronson Alcott. 

250 History of Woman Suffrage. 

I. My first citation will be from the Preamble, and will establish as 
Massachusetts doctrine the principle of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, that all government owes its just powers to the consent of the- 

" The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of gov- 
ernment, is to secure the existence of the body politic The body 

politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals; it is a social 
compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen and 
each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain 

laws for the common good It is the duty of the people, therefore, 

in framing a constitution of government, to provide for an equitable 
mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation and a 
faithful execution of them," etc., etc. 

Now, women are "individuals"; women are a part of "the people",- 
women are " citizens," for the Constitution elsewhere distinguishes male 
citizens. This clause, then, concedes precisely that which your petition- 
ers claim. Observe how explicit it is. The people are not merely to 
have good laws, well administered; but they must have an equitable 
mode of making those laws. The reason of this is, that good laws are 
no permanent security, unless enacted by equitable methods. Your laws 
may be the best ever devised; yet still they are only given as a tempo- 
rary favor, not held as a right, unless the whole people are concerned in 
their enactment. It is the old claim of despots that their laws are 
good. When they told Alexander of Russia that his personal character 
was as good as a constitution for his people, " then," said he, " I am but 
a lucky accident." Your constitution may be never so benignant to 
woman, but that is only a lucky accident, unless you concede the claim 
of these women to have a share in creating it. Nothing else "is an 
equitable mode of making laws." But it is too late to choose female 
delegates to your Convention, and the only thing you can do is to allow 
women to vote on the acceptance of its results. The claim of these 
petitioners may be unexpected, but is logically irresistible. If you do 
not wish it to be renewed, you must remember either to alter or abro- 
gate your Bill of Rights: for the petition is based on that. 

The last speaker called this movement a novelty. Not entirely so. 
The novelty is partly the other way. In Europe, women have direct 
political power; witness Victoria. It is a false democracy which has 
taken it away. In my more detailed argument, I have cited many 
instances of these foreign privileges. In monarchical countries the 
dividing lines are not of sex, but of rank. A plebeian woman ha? no 
political power nor has her husband. Rank gives it to man, and, also, 
in a degree, to woman. But among us the only rank is of sex. Politi- 
cally speaking, in Massachusetts all men are patrician, all women ple- 
beian. All men are equal, in having direct political power; arid all 
women are equal, in having none. And women lose by democracy pre- 
cisely that which men gain. Therefore I say this disfranchisement of 
woman, as woman, is a novelty. It is a new aristocracy; for, as Do 
Tocqueville says, wherever one class has peculiar powers, as such, there 
is aristocracy and oligarchy. 

The Majority Disfranchised. -J.M 

We see the result of this in our general mode of speaking of woman 
Wo forget to speak of her as an individual being, only as a thing. A 
political writer coolly says, that in Massachusetts, "except criminals 
ami paupers, there is no class of persons who do not exercise the elective 
franchise." Women are not even a "class of persons." And yet, most 
p -a tiers would not notice this extraordinary omission. I talked the 
other day with a young radical preacher about his new religious organi- 
zation. "Who votes under it?" said I. " Oh," (he said, triumphantly,) 
"we go for progress and liberty; anybody and everybody votes." 
"What!" said I, "women?" "No," said he, rather startled; "I did 
not think of them when I spoke." Thus quietly do we all talk of " any- 
body and everybody," and omit half the human race. Indeed, I read in 
the newspaper, this morning, of some great festivity, that " all the world 
and his wife" would be there! Women are not a part of the world, but 
only its "wife." They are not even "the rest of mankind"; they are 
womankind! All these things show the results of that inconsistency 
with the first principles of our Constitution of which the friends of this 
Convention justly complain. 

II. So much for the general statement of the Massachusetts Bill of 
Rights in its Preamble. But one clause is even more explicit. In Sec- 
tion 9, I find the following : 

"All the inhabitants of this Commonwealth, having such qualifica- 
tions as they shall establish by their form of government, have an equal 
right to elect officers," etc. 

As "they" shall establish. Who are they? Manifestly, the inhabitants 
as a whole. No part can have power, except by the consent of the 
whole, so far as that consent is practicable. Accordingly, you submit 
your Constitution for ratification to whom? Not to the inhabitants of 
the State, not even to a majority of the native adult inhabitants; for it 
is estimated that at any given moment in view of the great number of 
men emigrating to the West, to California, or absent on long voyages 
the majority of the population of Massachusetts is female. You disfran- 
chise the majority, then; the greater part of "the inhabitants" have no 
share in establishing the form of government, or assigning the qualifica- 
tions of voters. What worse can you say of any oligarchy ? True, your 
aristocracy is a large one almost a majority, you may say. But so, in 
several European nations, is nobility almost in a majority, and you 
almost hire a nobleman to black your shoes; they are as cheap as gen- 
orals and colonels in New England. But the principle is the same, 
\vh-ther the privileged minority consists of one or one million. 

It is said that a tacit consent has been hitherto given by the absence 
of open protest? The same argument may be used concerning the black 
majority in South Carolina. Besides, your new Constitution is not yet 
made, and there has been no opportunity to assent to it. It will not be 
identical with the old one; but, even if it were, you propose to ask a 
renewed consent from men, and why not from women ? Is it because a 
lady's Yes" is always so fixed a certainty, that it never can be trans- 
formi'd to a u No," at a later period *. 

But I am compelled, by the fixed period of adjournment (10 A.M.), to 

2o2 History of Wow an Suffrage. 

cut short my argument, as I have been already compelled to condense 
it. I pray your consideration for the points I have urged. Believe me, 
it is easier to ridicule the petition of these women than to answer the 
arguments which sustain it. And, as the great republic of ancient times 
did not blush to claim that laws and governments were first introduced 
by Ceres, a woman, so I trust that the representatives of this noblest 
of modern commonwealths may not be ashamed to receive legislative 
suggestions from even female petitioners. 

On Tuesday, August 12, 1853, in Committee of the Whole, the 
report that " it is inexpedient to act on the petition " of seve al par- 
ties that women may vote, was taken up. 

Mr. GREEN, of Brookfield, opposed the report, contending that women 
being capable of giving or withholding their assent to the acts of govern- 
ment, should upon every principle of justice and equality, be permitted 
to participate in its administration. He denied that men were of right 
the guardians or trustees of women, since they had not been appointed, 
but had usurped that position. Women had inherent natural rights as 
a portion of the people, and they should be permitted to vote in order 
to protect those inherent rights. 

Mr. KEYES, of Abington, paid a warm tribute to the virtues and abil- 
ities of the fairer sex, and was willing to concede that they were to eome 
extent oppressed and denied their rights; but he did not believe the 
granting of the privileges these petitioners claimed would tend to ele- 
vate or ameliorate their condition. Woman exerted great power by the 
exercise of her feminine graces and virtues, which she would lose the 
moment she should step beyond her proper sphere and mingle in the 
affairs of State ! 

Mr. WHITNEY, of Boylston, believed that the same reasoning that would 
deny the divine right of kings to govern men without their consent, 
would also deny a similar right of men over women. The Committee 
had given the best of reasons for granting the prayer of the petitioners, 
and then reported that they have leave to withdraw. He expatiated on 
the grievances to which women are subjected, and concluded by moving 
as an amendment to the report, that the prayer of the petitioners ought 
to be granted. 

The Committee then rose, and had leave to sit again. Wednesday the 
first business of importance was the taking up in Committee of the re- 
port " leave to withdraw," relative to giving certain privileges to women. 
Question on the amendment of Mr. Whitney to amend the conclusion of 
the report, by inserting " that the prayer of the petitioners be granted." 
Debate ensued on the subject between Messrs. Marvin, of Winchendon ; 
Kingmaii, of West Bridgewater; when the question was taken, and Mr. 
Whitney's amendment rejected. Mr. Marvin then moved to substitute 
"inexpedient to act' 1 for "leave to withdraw"; which was adopted. 
The Committee then rose, and recommended the adoption of the report 
as amended, by a vote of 108 to 44. 

Elizaltth Oakes rtnitJi. 2-53 

The prejudices of tli3 108 outweighed all the able arguments 
made by those who represented the petitioners, and all the great 
principles of justice on which a true republic is based. 

We iind the following comments on the character and duties of 
the gentlemen who composed the Convention, from the pen of Mr. 
Higginsori, in The Una of June, 1853 : 

To the members of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention : 

The publication in oar newspapers of the list of members of your hon- 
orable body, has won the just tribute of men of all parties to the happy 
result of the selection. Never, it is thought, has Massachusetts witnessed 
a political assembly of more eminent or accomplished men. And yet 
there an* those to whom the daring thought has occurred, that to convoke 
such ability and learning, only to decide whether our Legislature shall 
be hereafter elected by towns or districts, is somewhat like the course of 
Columbus in assembling the dignitaries of his nation to decide whether 
an ftrg could be best poised upon the larger or the smaller end. A ques- 
tion \\hich was necessarily settled, after all, by a compromise, as this 
will be. 

But at tint moment, there lay within the brain of the young Genoese 
a divam. which although denounced by prelates and derided by states- 
men was yet destined to add another half to the visible earth; so there 
is brooding in the soul of this generation, a vision of the greatest of all 
political discoveries, which, when accepted, will double the intellectual 
!> 'iirces of society, and give a new world, not to Castile and Leon only, 
but to Massachusetts and the human race. 

And lastly, tus we owe the labor and the laurels of Columbus only to 
the liberal statesmanship of a woman, it is surely a noble hope, that the 
future Isabellas of this Nation may point the way for their oppressed sis- 
ters of Europe to a suffrage truly universal, and a political freedom 
bounded neither by station nor by sex. 

Elizabeth Oakes b'mith, writing in The Una, says of this histori- 
cal oi-rusion : 

The Massachusetts Convention did not deign to notice the prayer 
of these two thousand women who claimed the privilege of being heard 
by iiit/n who assert that we are represented through them. They decided 
that "it is inexpedient to act upon said petition. 1 ' This is no cause for 
lix-ouragement to those who have the subject at heart. Two thousand 
signers are quite as many, if not more, than we supposed would be pro- 
iiivd. The believers in the rights of woman to entire equality with man 
in <-very department involving the question of human justice are entirely 
in the minority. The majority believe that their wives and mothers are 
household chattels; believe that they were expressly created for no other 
purposes than those of maternity in their highest aspect ; in their next 
for purposes of passion, with the long retinue of unhallowed sensualities, 
debasements, and pollutions which follow in the train of evil indulgence. 

254 History of Woman Suffrage. 

With others, women are sewers on of buttons; darners of stockings; 
makers of puddings; appendages to wash days, bakings, and brewings; 
echoes and adjectives to men for ever and ever. They are compounds of 
tears, hysterics, frettings, scoldings, complainings; made up of craftiness 
and imbecilities, to be wheedled, and coaxed, and coerced like unman- 
ageable children. Tim idea of a true, noble womanhood is yet to be created. 
It does not live in tlie public mind. Now, in answer to the petition of 
these two thousand women, the Committee reply that afl just governments 
exist by the consent of the governed. An old truism. We reply, women 
have given no such consent, and therefore are not bound to allegiance. 
But our sapient Legislators say, since there are two hundred thousand 
women in Massachusetts twenty-one years of age, and only two thousand 
who sign this petition, therefore it is fair to suppose that the larger part 
of the women of the State have consented to the present form of govern- 
ment. Now, this is assuredly a willful and unworthy perversion of the 
truth. These women are simply ignorant, simply supine. They have 
neither affirmed nor denied. They have not thought at all upon the sub- 
ject. But there are two thousand women in Massachusetts who think 
and act, to say nothing of the thousands of intelligent men there who 
believe in the same doctrine. Now here is a little army in one State 
alone, and that a conservative one, while through the Middle and West- 
ern States are thousands thinking in the same direction. Here is the 
leaven that must leaven the whole lump. Here is the wise minority which 
will hereafter become the overwhelming majority of the country. The 
Committee remark on the fact that while 50,000 women have petitioned 
for a law to repress the sale of intoxicating liquor, only two thousand peti- 
tion for the right to vote! While the multitude could readily trace the 
downfall of father, husband, brother, and son, to the dram-shop, only 
the thinking few could see the power beyond the law and the law- 
maker that protects the traffic, the right to the ballot, with which to 
strike the most effective blow in the right place. 


BOSTON, Friday, June 2, 1854. 

This Convention assembled the day on which poor Anthony 
Burns was consigned to hopeless bondage;* and though many 
friends of the woman movement remained in the streets to see his 
surrender, still at an early hour the hall was literally crowded with 
earnest men and women, whom a deep interest in the cause had 
drawn together. Sarah H. Earle, of Worcester, was chosen Presi- 
dent ; Lucy Stone, Chairman of the Business Committee, reported 
the resolutions, among which we find the following : 

Resolved, That the Common Law, which governs the marriage relation, 
and blots out the legal existence of a wife, denies her right to the product 

* Anthony Burns, the slave, was a Baptist minister in his Southern home, and had 
sought freedom in Boston, but was pursued and recaptured. 

>' -OIK] X<-tr 

of her own industry, denies her equal property rights, even denies IK-I- 
riirlit to her children, and the custody of her own person, is grossly un- 
ju-r to woman, dishonorable to man, and destructive to the harmony 
of life's holiest relation. 

/,'. *;lr*l. That the laws which destroy the legal individuality of woman 
after her marriage are equally pernicious to man as to woman, and may 
to him in marriage a slave, or a tyrant, but never a wife. 

William Lloyd Garrison, Emma R. Coe, Josephine S. Griffing, 
Wendell Phillips, Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, Rev. S. S. Griswold, Sarah 
Pellet, Abby Kelly Foster, Mrs. Morton, and Lucy Stone took part 
in the debates. Letters were received from Thomas W. Higginson, 
Uev. A. I). Mayo, Paulina Wright Davis, Mrs. Nichols, and Sarah 
Crosby. Francis Jackson,* of Boston, made a contribution of $."><>. 
Committees were appointed from each of the New England States 
to circulate petitions for securing a change in the laws regulating the 
property of married women, and limiting the right of suffrage to 
men. All the sessions drew crowded audiences, and the enthusiasm 
was sustained to the end. The sympathy for Burns intensified the 
feelings of those present against all forms of oppression. Those 
who had witnessed the military parade through the streets of Bos- 
ton to drive the slave a minister of the Baptist denomination in 
his southern home from the land of the Pilgrims where he had 
sought refuge, were roused to plead with new earnestness and power 
for equal rights to all without distinction of sex or color. 


Sept. 19 and 20, 1855. 

This Convention w r as fully attended through six sessions, and 
gave great satisfaction to all engaged in it. After its close, its 
officers received such expressions of interest from persons not pre- 
viously enlisted in the cause, as to convince them that a lasting im- 
pression was made. The attendance was the best that Boston could 
furnish in intelligence and respectability, and to a greater degree 
than usual clerical. Mrs. Paulina Wright Davis was again chosen 
ident. Business Committee Dr. William F. Channing, Caro- 
line II. Dall, Wendell Phillips, and Caroline M. Severance. Among 
the Vice-Presidents we find the names of Harriot K. Hunt and 
Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Caroline II. Dall, Ellen M. Tarr, 
and Paulina Wright Davis presented carefully prepared digests of 
the laws of several of the New England States. Mrs. Davis said : 

* A gentleman of wealth, who gave most liberally to all reforms, and in his will be- 
queathed $5,000 to the cause of woman suffr. 

256 History of Woman Suffrage. 

In 1844 a bill was introduced into the Legislature of this State 
(Rhode Island) by Hon. Wilkins Updike, securing to married women 
their property " under certain regulations." The step was a progressive 
one, and hailed at that time as a bright omen for the future. Other 
States have followed the example, and the right of woman to some con- 
trol of her property has been recognized. In 1847 Vermont passed sim- 
ilar enactments; in 1848-'49, Connecticut, New York, and Texas; in 
1850-^52, Alabama and Maine; in 1853, New Hampshire, Indiana, Wis- 
consin, and Iowa followed. But the provisions "under certain regula- 
tions " left married women almost as helpless as before. 

Mrs. DAVIS further says: If in 1855, from the practical workings of 
these statutes, we find ourselves compelled to pronounce them despotic 
in spirit, degrading and tyrannical in effect, we do not the less give 
honor to the man who was so far in advance of his age as to conceive the 
idea of raising woman a little in the scale of being. 

We have always claimed the honor for New York as being first in 
this matter, because the Property Bill was presented there in 1S36, 
and when finally passed in 1848, was far more liberal than in any 
other State ; and step by step her legislation was broadened, until 
I860 the revolution was complete, securing to married women their 
own inheritance absolutely, to use, will, and dispose of as they see 
fit ; to do business in their name, make contracts, sue, and be sued. 

The speakers on the first day of this Convention were Wendell 
Phillips, Thomas W. Higginson, and Lucy Stone ; on the second 
morning. Caroline H. Dall, Antoinette L. Brown, and Susan B. 
Anthony. The evening closed with a lecture from Ralph Waldo 
Emerson, and a poem by Elizabeth Oakes Smith. No report of the 
debates was preserved. 

In a letter to her family Susan B. Anthony, under date of Sept. 
27th, says: 

I went into Boston on Tuesday, with Lucy Stone, to attend the Con- 
vention. We stopped at Francis Jackson's, where we found Antoinette 
Brown and Ellen Blackwell. A pleasant company in that most hospita- 
ble home. The Convention passed off pleasantly, but with none of the 
enthusiasm we have in our New York meetings. As this was my first 
visit to Boston, Mr. Jackson took Antoinette and myself round to see the 
lions; to the House of Correction, the House of Reformation, the Mer- 
chant's Exchange, the Custom-House, State House, and Faneuil Hall, 
and then dined with his daughter, Eliza J. Eddy, in South Boston, re- 
turning in the afternoon. Lucy and Antoinette left, one for New York 
and the other for Brookfield. In the evening, Ellen Blackwell and I 
attended a reception at Mr. Garrison's, where we met several of the 
literati, and were most heartily welcomed by Mrs. Garrison, a noble, self- 
sacrificing woman, the loving and the loved, surrounded with healthy, 
happy children in that model home. Mr. Garrison was omnipresent 

Francis Jackson ami (.' Hovey. 257 

now talking and introducing guests, now soothing some child to sleep, 
and now, with his charming wife, looking after the refreshments. There 
wo in t-t Mrs. Dall, Elizabeth Peabody, Mrs. McCready, the Shakespearian 
n-adf r, Mrs. Severance, Dr. Hunt, Charles F. Hovey, Francis Jackson, 
Wendell Phillips, Sarah Pugh, of Philadelphia, and others. Having 
-hiped these distinguished people afar off, it was a great satisfaction 
to see so many face to face. 

i in Saturday morning, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Garrison and 
Sarah Pugh, I visited Mount Auburn. What a magnificent resting-place 
this is! We could not find Margaret Fuller's monument, which I regret- 
ted. I spent Sunday with Charles Lenox Reuiond ; we drove to Lynn with 
matchless steeds to hear Theodore Parker preach. What a sermon ! our 
souls were filled. We discussed its excellence at James Buffum's, where, 
with other friends, we dined. Visited the steamer Africa next day, in 
which Ellen Blackwell was soon to sail for Liverpool. 

Monday Mr. Garrison escorted me to Charlestown ; we stood on the very 
spot where Warren fell, and mounted the interminable staircase to the 
top of Bunker Hill Monument, where we had an extensive view of the 
harbor and surrounding country. Then we called on Theodore Parker; 
found him up three flights of stairs in his library, covering that whole floor 
of his house; the room is lined all round with books to the very top 
K'.UUO volumes and there, at a large table in the center of the apartment, 
sat the great man himself. It really seemed audacious in me to be ush- 
ered into such a presence, and on such a commonplace errand, to ask 
him to come to Rochester to speak in a course of lectures I am plan- 
ning. But he received me with such kindness and simplicity, that the 
awe I felt on entering was soon dissipated. I then called on Wendell 
Phillips, in his sanctum, for the same purpose. I have invited Ralph 
Waldo Emerson by letter, and all three have promised to come. In 
the evening, with Mr. Jackson's son James, the most diffident and 

sensitive man I ever saw, Miss B and' I went to the theater to 

>u>sendoff, the great tragedian, play Hamlet. The theater is 
new, the scenery beautiful, and, in spite of my Quaker training, I find 
I fiijoy all these worldly amusements intensely. 

urning to Worcester. I attended the Anti-Slavery Bazaar. I sup- 

rhere were many beautiful things exhibited, but I was so absorbed 

in the conversation of Mr. Higginson, Samuel May, Jr., Sarah Earl>, 

-in Dr. Seth Rogers, Stephen and Abby Foster, that I really forgot to 

tuk.- a Mirvey of the tables. The next day Charles F. Hovey drove me 

out to the home of the Fosters, where we had a pleasant call. 

Francis Jackson and Charles F. Hovey, though neither speakers 
nor writers, yet they furnished the " sinews of war." None contrib- 
uted more generously than they to all the reforms of their times. 
They were the first men to make a bequest to our movement. To 
them we are indebted for the money that enabled us to carry on the 
agitation for years. Beside giving liberally from time to time, 
Francis Jackson left $5,000 in the hands of Wendell Phillips, which 

258 History of Woman Suffrage. 

he managed and invested so wisely, that the fund was nearly doubled. 
Charles F. Hovey left $50,000 to be used in anti-slavery, woman 
suffrage, and free religion. With the exception of $1,000 from 
Lydia Maria Child, we have yet to hear of a woman of wealth who 
has left anything for the enfranchisement of her sex. Almost every 
daily paper heralds the fact of some large bequest to colleges, churches, 
and charities by rich women, but it is proverbial that they never re- 
member the Woman Suffrage movement that underlies in impor- 
tance all others. 


MARCH, 1857. 

The Boston Traveller says : The Representatives Hall yesterday after- 
noon was completely filled, galleries and all, to hear the arguments before 
the Judiciary Committee, to whom was referred the petition of Lucy 
Stone and others for equal rights for l< females '' in the administration 
of government, for the right of suffrage, etc. 

Rev. JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE was the first speaker. He said : Gentle- 
men, the question before you is, Shall the women of Massachusetts have 
equal rights with the men ? The fundamental principles of the Consti- 
tution set forth equal rights to all. A large portion of the property of 
Massachusetts is owned by women, probably one-third of the whole 
amount, and yet they are not represented, though compelled to pay 
taxes. It has been said they are represented by their husbands. So it 
was said that the American colonies were represented in the British Par- 
liament, but the colonies were not contented with such representation; 
neither are women contented to be represented by men. As long as we 
put woman's name on the tax-list we should put it in the ballot-box. 

WENDELL PHILLIPS said : Self-government was the foundation of our 
Institutions. July 4, 1776, sent the message round the world that every 
man can take care of himself better than any one else can do it for him. 
If you tax me, consult me. If you hang me, first try me by a jury of my 
own peers. What I ask for myself, I ask for woman. In the banks a 
woman, as a stockholder, is allowed to vote. In the Bank of England, 
In the East India Company, in State Street, her power is felt, her voice 
controls millions. 

Three hundred years ago it was said woman had no right to profess 
any religion, as it would make discord in the family if she differed from 
her husband. The same conservatism warns us of the danger of allow- 
ing her any political opinions. 

LUCY STONE said : The argument that the wife, having the right of 
suffrage, would cause discord in the family, is entirely incorrect. 
When men wish to procure the vote of a neighbor, do they not approach 
them with the utmost suavity, and would not the husband who wished 
to influence the wife's vote be far more gracious than usual ? She in- 
stanced the heroic conduct of Mrs. Patton, who navigated her husband's 
ship into the harbor of San Francisco, as an argument in favor of worn- 

Dr. H. K. Iliutf* Protest 259 

mi's power of command and of government. The captain and mate 
lying ill with a fever, she had the absolute control of both vessel and 
Mrs. Stone's speech was comprehensive and pointed, and called 
fortli frequent applause. 

Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, a woman of wealth and position, protested 
:ir against being compelled to pay taxes while not recog- 
nized in the government. 


To Frederick W. Tracy, Treasurer, and the Assessors, and other Authorities 
of the city of Boston, and the Citizens generally : 

Harriot K. Hunt, physician, a native and permanent resident of the city 
of Boston, and for many years a taxpayer therein, in making payment of 
her city taxes for the coming year, begs leave to protest against the in- 
justice and inequality of levying taxes upon women, and at the same 
time refusing them any voice or vote in the imposition and expenditure 
of the same. The only classes of male persons required to pay taxes, 
and not at the same time allowed the privilege of voting, are aliens and 
minors. The objection in the case of aliens is their supposed want of 
interest in our institutions and knowledge of them. The objection in 
the case of minors, is the want of sufficient understanding. These ob- 
jections can not apply to women, natives of the city, all of whose prop- 
erty interests are here, and who have accumulated, by their own sagacity 
and industry, the very property on which they are taxed. But this is 
not all; the alien, by going through the forms of naturalization, the 
minor on coming of age, obtain the right of voting ; and so long as they 
continue to pay a mere poll-tax of a dollar and a half, they may continue 
to exercise it, though so ignorant as not to be able to sign their names, 
or read the very votes they put into the ballot-boxes. Even drunkards, 
felons, idiots, and lunatics, if men, may still enjoy that right of voting to 
which 110 woman, however large the amount of taxes she pays, however 
respectable her character, or useful her life, can ever attain. Wherein, 
your remonstrant would inquire, is the justice, equality, or wisdom of 

That the rights and interests of the female part of the community are 
sometimes forgotten or disregarded in consequence of their deprivation 
of political rights, is strikingly evinced, as appears to your remonstrant, 
in the organization and administration of the city public schools. 
Though there are open in this State and neighborhood, a great multitude 
of colleges and professional schools for the education of boys and young 
men, yet the city has very properly provided two High-Schools of its 
own, one Latin, the other English, in which the " male graduates " of 
the Grammar Schools may pursue their education still farther at the 
public expense. And why is not a like provision made for the girls? 
Why is their education stopped short, just as they have attained the age 
best fitted for progress, and the preliminary knowledge necessary to 
facilitate it, thus giving the advantage of superior culture to sex, not to 

260 History of Woman Suffrage. 

The fact that our colleges and professional schools ai e closed again st 
females, of which your remonstrant has had personal and painful expe- 
rience ; having been in the year 1847, after twelve jears of medical prac- 
tice in Boston, refused permission to attend the lectures of Harvard 
Medical College. That fact would seem to furnish an additional reason 
why the city should provide, at its own expense, those means of superior 
education which, by supplying our girls with occupation and objects of 
interest, would not only save them from lives of frivolity and emptiness, 
but which might open the way to many useful and lucrative pursuits, 
and so raise them above that degrading dependence, so fruitful a source 
of female misery. 

Keserving a more full exposition of the subject to future occasions, 
your remonstrant, in paying her tax for the current year, begs leave to* 
protest against the injustice and inequalities above pointed out. 

This is respectfully submitted, HARRIOT K. HUNT, 

32 Green Street, Boston, Mass, 

Harriot K. Hunt commenced the practice of medicine at the age 
of thirty, in 1835 ; twelve years after, was refused admission to 
Harvard Medical Lectures. She often said that as her love element 
had all centered in her profession, she intended to celebrate her 
silver wedding, which she did, in the summer of 1860. Her house 
was crowded with a large circle of loving friends, who decorated it 
with flowers and many bridal offerings, thus expressing their esteem 
and affection for the first woman physician, who had done so much 
to relieve the sufferings of women and children. The degree of 
M.D. was conferred on her by " The Woman's Medical College of 
Pennsylvania," in 1853. Her biographer says she honored the title 
more than the title could her. 


It was my privilege to celebrate May day by officiating at a wedding in 
a farm-house among the hills of West Brookneld. The bridegroom was 
a man of tried worth, a leader in the Western Anti-Slavery Movement; 
and the bride was one whose fair name is known throughout the nation ; 
one whose rare intellectual qualities are excelled by the private beauty 
of her heart and life. 

I never perform the marriage ceremony without a renewed sense of 
the iniquity of our present system of laws in respect to marriage; a sys- 
tem by which "man and wife are one, and that one is the husband." 
It was with my hearty concurrence, therefore, that the following protest 
was read and signed, as a part of the nuptial ceremony; and I send it to- 
you, that others may be induced to do likewise. 



While acknowledging our mutual affection by publicly assuming the 
relationship of husband and wife, yet in justice to ourselves and a great 

Lucy Stones Protest. 261 

principle, we deem it a duty to declare that this act on our part implies 
no sanction of, nor promise of voluntary obedience to such of the pres- 
ent laws of marriage, as refuse to recognize the wife as an independent, 
rational being, while they confer upon the husband an injurious and 
unnatural Miperiority, investing him with legal powers which no honor- 
able man would exercise, and which no man should possess. We pro- 
test especially against the laws which give to the husband: 

1. The custody of the -wife's person. 

2. The exclusive control and guardianship of their children. 

3. The sole ownership of her personal, and use of her real estate, unless 
previously settled upon her, or placed in the hands of trustees, as in the 
case of minors, lunatics, and idiots. 

4. The absolute right to the product of her industry. 

5. Also against laws which give to the widower so much larger and 
more permanent an interest in the property of his deceased wife, than 
they give to the widow in that of the deceased husband. 

6. Finally, against the whole system by which ' ' the legal existence of 
the wife is suspended during marriage," so that in most States, she 
neither has a legal part in the choice of her residence, nor can she make 
a will, nor sue or be sued in her own name, nor inherit property. 

We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can 
never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal 
and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so 
recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice 
of present laws, by every means in their power. 

We believe that where domestic difficulties arise, no appeal should be 
made to legal tribunals under existing laws, but that all difficulties 
should be submitted to the equitable adjustment of arbitrators mutually 

Thus reverencing law, we enter our protest against rules and customs 
which are unworthy of the name, since they violate justice, the essence 
of law. 


Worcester Spy, 1855. LUCY STONE. 

To the above The Liberator appended the following : 

We are very sorry (as will be a host of others) to lose Lucy Stone, and 
certainly no less glad to gain Lucy Blackwell. Our most fervent bene- 
diction upon the heads of the parties thus united. 

This was a timely protest against the whole idea of the old 
Blackstone code, which made woman a nonentity in marriage. 
Lucy Stone took an equally brave step in refusing to take her hus- 
band's name, respecting her own individuality and the name th.-it 
represented it. These protests have called down on Mrs. Stone 
much ridicule and persecution, but she has firmly maintained her 
position, although at great inconvenience in the execution of legal 
documents, and suffering the injustice of having her vote refused as 

262 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Lucy Stone, soon after the bill passed in Massachusetts giving all 
women the right to vote on the school question. 

In 1858, Caroline H. Dall, of Boston, gave a series of literary 
lectures in different parts of the country, on " Woman's Claims to 
Education," beginning in her native city. Her subjects were : 

Nov. 1st. The ideal standard of education, depressed by public opin- 
ion, but developed by the spirit of the age ; Egypt and Algiers. 

Nov. 8th. Public opinion, as it is influenced by the study of the Class- 
ics and History, by general literature, newspapers, and customs. 

Nov. 15th. Public opinion as modified by individual lives : Mary Woll- 
stonecroft, Anna Jamieson, Charlotte Bronte, and Margaret Fuller. 

In June llth, of this year, Mrs. Dall writes to the liberator of 
her efforts to circulate the following petition : 

To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives of the Common- 
wealth of Massachusetts, in General Court assembled : 

WHEREAS, The women of Massachusetts are disfranchised by its State 
Constitution solely on account of sex. 

We do respectfully demand the right of suffrage, which involves all 
other rights of citizenship, and one that can not justly be withheld, as the 
following admitted principles of government show : 

1st. "All men are born free and equal." 

2d. "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the 

3d. "Taxation and representation are inseparable." We, the under- 
signed, therefore petition your Honorable Body to take the necessary 
steps to revise the Constitution so that all citizens may enjoy equal politi- 
cal rights. 


May 27th, 1859, an enthusiastic Convention was held in Mercan- 
tile Hall. Long before the hour announced the aisles, ante-rooms, 
and lobbies were crowded. At three o'clock Mrs. Caroline H. Dall 
called the meeting to order. Mrs. Caroline M. Severance was 
chosen President. On taking the chair, she said : 

This movement enrolls itself among the efforts of the age, and the 
anniversaries of the week as the most radical, and yet in the best sense 
the most conservative of them all. It bears the same relation, to all the 
charities of the day, which strive nobly to serve woman, that the Anti- 
Slavery movement bears to all superficial palliations of slavery. Like 
that, it goes beneath effects, and seeks to remove causes. After showing 
in a very lucid manner the difference in the family institution, when the 
mother is ignorant and enslaved, and when an educated, harmoniously 
developed equal, she closed by saying: It will be seen then, that instead 
of confounding the philosophy of the new movement with theories that 
claim unlimited indulgence for appetite or passion, the world should rec- 

Rev. James Freeman Clark*. L } <;,, 

ognize in this the only radical cure No statement could better de- 
fine this movement than Tennyson's beautiful stanzas : 

The woman's cause is man's; they sink or rise 

Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free, 

If she be small, slight-natured, miserable. 

How shall man grow ? 

The woman is not undeveloped man, 

But diverse. 

Yet in the long years, liker must they grow ; 
The man be more of woman, she of man : 
He gain in sweetness and in moral height 
She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care, 
Nor lose the childlike in the larger mind. 

And so these twain, upon the skirts of Time 
Sit side by side, full-summed in all their powers, 
Self-reverent each, and reverencing each ; 
Distinct in individualities, 
But like each other, as are those who love. 

Then comes the statelier Eden back to man ; 

Then reign the world's great bridals, chaste and calm ; 

Then springs the crowning race of humankind. 

And we who are privileged with the poet to foresee this better Eden ; 
we who have 

The Future grand and great, 
The safe appeal of Truth to Time, 

adopting the victorious cry of the Crusaders, "God wills it!" may 
listen to hear above the present din and discord, the stern mandate 
of His laws, bidding the world " Onward! onward!" and catch the rhyth- 
mical reply of all its movements, "We advance." 

Mrs. Severance then read an appropriate poem from the pen of 
Airs. Sarah Nowell, in which she eulogizes Florence Nightingale, 
Rosa Bonheur, Harriet Hosmer, and asserts the equality of man and 
woman in the creation. 

Dr. Harriot K. Hunt made some pointed remarks on the educa- 
tion of woman. 

The Rev. James Freeman Clarke was then introduced. He said : 

I understand the cause advocated on this platform to be an unpopu- 
lar one. It is a feeble cause, a misunderstood cause, a misrepresented 
cause. Hence, it seems to me, if any one is asked to say anything in 
behalf of it, and if he really believes it is a good cause, he should speak ; 
and so I have come. 

Certainly any interest which concerns one-half the human race is an 
important one. Every man, no matter how stern, hard, and unrelent- 
ing he may have become in the bitter strife and struggle of the world, 
every man was once a little infant, cradled on a mother's knee, and tak- 

264 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ing his life from the sweet fountains of her love. He was a little child, 
watched by her tender, careful eye, and so secured from ill. He was a 
little, inquiring boy, with a boundless appetite for information, which 
only his mother could give. At her knee he found his primary school : 
it is where we have all found it. He had his sisters the companions 
of his childhood; he had the little girls, who were to him the ideals of 
s.niie wonderful goodness and excellence, some strange grace and beauty, 
th mgh he could not tell what it was. With these antecedents no man 
on the face of the round world can refuse to hear woman, when she 
conies earnestly, but quietly saying, "We are not where we ought to be ;" 
" We do not have what we ought to have." I think their demands are 
reasonable, all of them. What are they? Occupation, education, and 
the highest sphere of work of which they are capable. These I under- 
stand to be the three demands. 

1st. Occupation. When your child steals on a busy hour and asks for 
" something to do," you feel ashamed that you have nothing for him 
that you can not give him the natural occupation which shall develop 
all the faculties of mind and body. Is it not a reasonable request which 
women make, when they ask for something to do? They want to be 
useful in the world. They ask permission to support themselves and 
those who are dear to them. What can they do now? They can go into 
factories, a few of them; a few more can be servants in your homes; 
they can cook your dinner if they have been taught how. If they are 
women of genius, they can take the pen and write; but how few are 
there in this world, either men or women of genius. If they have extra- 
ordinary business talent, they can keep a boarding-house. If they have 
some education they can keep school. After this, there is the point of 
the needle upon which they may be precipitated and nothing else. 

We see the gloom that must fall on them, on their children, and on all 
they love, when the male protector is taken away. This demand for more 
varied occupation is not a new one. Many years ago, one of the wisest 
and truest men of this country, a philanthropist and reformer Matthew 
Carey, of Philadelphia labored to impress upon the people the fact, 
that what was wanted for the elevation of woman was to open to her 
new avenues of business. A very sad book was written a few months 
ago, u Dr. San ger's work on Prostitution." It is a very dreadful book; 
not calculated, I think, to excite any prurient feeling in any one. In 
that book he says : 

First, that the majority of the prostitutes of this country are mere 
children, between the ages of fifteen and twenty. That the lives of 
these poor, wretched, degraded creatures, last on an average about 
four years. Now, when we hear of slaves used up in six years on a 
sugar plantation, we think it horrible; but here are these poor girls 
killed in a more dreadful way, in a shorter time. And he adds 
that the principal cause of their prostitution is that they have no 
occupation by which they can support themselves. Without support, 
without resources, they struggle for a while and then are thrown under 
the feet of the trampling city. Give them occupation and they will take 
care of themselves : they will rise out of the mire of pollution, out ol 

oline H. Dall 205 

this filth; for it is not in the nature of woman to remain there. Gis r e 
th'-m at least a chance; open wide every door; and whenever they are 
able to get a living by their head or their hands in an honest way, let 
thorn do it. This is the first claim; and it seeins to me that no one can 

:i;ibly object to it. 
Education. You say that public schools are open to girls as well 

\s. I know that, but what is it that educates? The school has but 
litrlo to do with it. When the boy goes there you say, " Go there, work 
with a will, and fit yourself for an occupation whereby you may earn 

broad." But you say to the girls, ' Go to school, get your education, 
an<l then come home, sit still, and do nothing." We must give them 
r\vry chance to fit themselves for new spheres of dutv. If a woman 
wants to study medicine, let her study it; if she wants to study divinity, 
let her study it; if she wants to study anything, let her have the oppor- 
tunity. If she finds faculties within her, let them have a chance to ex- 
pand. That is the second demand the whole of it. 

And the third claim is for a Sphere of Influence. " That is not it," 
do you say? " You want to take woman out of her sphere." Not at all, 

ish to give her a sphere, not to take her from any place she likes to 
fill; to give her a chance to exercise those wonderful, those divine facul- 

hat God has wrapped in the feminine mind, in the woman's heart. 

As regards voting, why should not women go to the polls? You think 

it a very strange desire, I know; but we have thought many things 

stranger which seem quite natural now. One need not live long to find 

strange things grow common. Why not vote, then? Is it because they 

not as much power to understand what is true and right as man ? 
If you go to the polls, and see the style of men who meet there voting, 
ran you come away, and tell us that the women you meet are not as able 
to decide what is right as those men? " Ah, it will brush off every femi- 
nine grace, if woman goes to the polls." Why? "Because she must 

rude men there." Very well, so she must meet them in the street, 
and they do not hurt her; nor will I believe that there is not sufficient 
ntive power in the Yankee intellect to overcome this difficulty. I 
can conceive of a broader and more generous activity in politics. I can 
see her drawing out all the harshness and bitterness when she goes to 
the polls. These three points are all I intended to touch; and I will give 
way t6 those who are to follow. 

M rs. CAROLINE H. DALL was then introduced. She said : I have observed 
that all public orators labor under some embarrassment when they rise 
:eak. Not to be behind the dignity of my position, I labor under a 
ff',nf>/t> embarrassment. 

Tht> first is the " embarras des richesses." There are so many topics 

nch, BO many facts to relate, that it is impossible to cover them in 
on-- half hour, and the second perhaps you will think that an embarrass- 
lu'-nt of riches also; for it is an embarrassment of Clarke and Phillips. 
The orator needs no common courage who follows the one and precedes 
the other. It is my duty to speak of the progress of the cause; it is im- 

ble to keep pace with it. You may work day and night, but this 
thought of God outstrips you, working hourly through the life of man. 

266 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Yet we must often feel discouraged. Our war is not without; our work 
follows us into the heart of the family. We must sustain ourselves in 
that dear circle against our nearest friends; against the all-pervading 
law, " Thus far shalt thou come, and no farther." 

What have we gained since 1855? Many things, so important, that 
they can not be worthily treated here. I have often mentioned in rny 
lectures, that in his first report to the French Government, Neckar gave 
the credit of his retrenchments to his thrifty, order-loving wife. Until 
this year, that acknowledgment stood alone in history. But now John 
Stuart Mill, the great philosopher and political economist of England, 
dedicates his "Essay on Liberty " to the memory of his beloved wife, who 
has been the inspiration of all, and the author of much that was best in 
his writings for many years past. Still farther, in a pamphlet on ' ' En- 
glish Political Reform," treating of the extension of the suffrage, he has 
gone so far as to recommend that all householders, without distinction 
of sex, be adopted into the constituency, upon proving to the registrar'* 
officer that they have a certain income say fifty pounds and " that they 
can read, write, and calculate." 

A great step was taken also in the establishment of the Institution for 
the Advancement of Social Science. The sexes are equal before it. It 
has five departments. 1. Jurisprudence, or Law Reform ; 2. Education ; 
3. Punishment and Reformation; 4. Public Health; 5. Social Economy. 

The first meeting at Liverpool considered the woman's question ; and T 
while it was debated, Mary Carpenter sat upon the platform, or lifted her 
voice side by side with Brougham, Lord John Russell, and Stanley. At 
the second meeting (last October), Lord John Russell was in the chair. 
The Lord Chancellor of Ireland presided over Law Reform; the Right 
Hon. W. F. Cooper, over the department of Education; the Earl of Car- 
lyle personally known to many on this platform over that which con- 
cerns the Reformation of Criminals; the Earl of Shaftesbury over Public 
Health; and Conolly and Charles Kingsley and Tom Taylor and Rawlin- 
son bore witness side by side with Florence Nightingale. Sir James 
Stephen presided over Social Economy. Isa Craig, the Burns poetess, is 
one of its Secretaries. 

Ten communications were read at this session by women ; among them, 
Florence Nightingale, Mary Carpenter, Isa Craig, Louisa Twining, and 
Mrs. Fison. Four were on Popular Education, two upon Punishment and 
Reformation, three on the Public Health in the Army and elsewhere, one 
upon Social Economy. Still another proof of progress may be seen in the 
examination of Florence Nightingale by the Sanitary Commission. 

[In the establishment of The Englishwoman's Journal with an honora- 
ble corps of writers, in the passage of the new Divorce Bill, of the Mar- 
ried Woman's Property Bill in Canada, the cause had gained much; on 
each of which Mrs. Dall spoke at some length, especially this Property 
Bill, which some foolish member had shorn of its most precious clause 
that which secured her earnings to the working- woman, lest, by tempt- 
ing her to labor, it should create a divided interest in the family]. 

Do you ask me why I have dwelt on this Institution for Social Science, 
cataloguing the noble names that do it honor? To strengthen the tim- 

Do a* inm-h as ILen. iM',7 

orous hearts at the West End; to suggest to them that a coronet of 
g <>wn giving may possibly rest as secure as one of gold and je\\.-i- 
in the United Kingdom. I wish to draw your attention to the social dis- 
tinction of the men upon that platform. No real nobleness will be im- 
pvril.-d by impartial listening to our plea. Would you rest secure in our 
et. firf.t feel secure in your own. If ten Beacon Street ladies would 
L'n to work, and take pay for their labor, it would do more good than all 
th- speeches that were ever made, all the conventions that were ever 
held. I honor women who act. That is the reason that I greet so gladly 
u'irN like Harriet Hosmer, Louisa Lander, and Margureite Foley. What- 
ever they do, or do not do, for Art, they do a great deal for the cause of 
Labor. I do not believe any one in this room has any idea of the avenues 
that are open to women already. Let me read you some of the results 
of the last census of the United Kingdom. Talk of women not being 
able to work! Women have been doing hard work ever since the 
world began. You will see by this that they are doing as much as men 
now. [Applause]. 

In 1841, there were engaged in agriculture, 66,329 women. In 18ol, 
r>.418; nearly double the number. Of these, there are 64,000 dairy- 
women; women who lift enormous tubs, turn heavy cheeses, slap butter 
by the hundred weight. Then come market-gardeners, bee-mistresses, 
florists, flax producers and beaters, haymakers, reapers, and hop-pickers. 

In natural connection with the soil, we find seven thousand women in 
the mining interest; not harnessed on all-fours to creep through the 
>hat'ts, but dressers of ore, and washers and strainers of clay for the pot- 
3. Next largest to the agricultural is one not to be exactly calculated 
the fishing interest. The Pilchard fishery employs some thousands of 
women. The Jersey oyster fishery alone employs one thousand. Then 
follow the herring, cod, whale, and lobster fisheries. 

Apart from the Christie Johnstones the aristocrats of the trade the 
urtures an heroic class like Grace Darling, who stand aghast when 
society rewards a deed of humanity, and cry out in expostulation, " Why. 
every girl on the coast would have done as I did ! " Then follow the kelp- 
burners, netters, and bathers. The netters make the fisherman's nets; 
tin.- bathers manage the machines at the watering-places. 

And, before quitting this subject, I should like to allude to the French 
tishwomen; partly as a matter of curiosity, partly to prove that women 
know how to labor. In the reign of Henry IV., there existed in Paris a 
privileged monopoly called the United Corporation of Fishmongers and 
Ht-rringers. In the reign of Louis XIV. this corporation had managed so 
badly as to become insolvent. The women who had hawked and vended 
fish took up the business, and managed so well as to become very soon 
a political power. They became rich, and their children married into 
good families. You will remember the atrocities generally ascribed to 
tlifia in the first revolution. It is now known that these were committed 
by ruffians disguised in their dress. 

To return : there are in the United Kingdom 200,000 female servants. 
Separate from these, brewers, custom-house searchers, matrons of jails, 
lighthouse-keepers, pew-openers. 

268 History of Woman Suffrage. 

I have no time to question; but should not a Christian community 
offer womanly ministrations to its imprisoned women? Oh, that some 
brave heart, in a strong body, might go on our behalf to the city jail and 
Charlestown! Pew-opening has never been a trade in America; but, as 
there are signs that it may become so in this democratic community, I 
would advise our women to keep an eye to that. [Laughter]. 

There are in the United Kingdom 500,000 business women, beer-shop 
keepers, butcher-wives, milk-women, hack-owners, and shoemakers. 

As one item of this list, consider 26,000 butcher- wives women who do 
not merely preside over a business, but buy stock, put down meat, drive 
a cart even if needed butchers to all intents and purposes. There are 
29,000 shop-keepers, but only 1,742 shop-women. 

Telegraph reporters are increasing rapidly. Their speed and accuracy 
are much praised. Prom the Bright Festival, at Manchester, a young 
woman reported, at the rate of twenty-nine words a minute, six whole 
columns, with hardly a mistake, though the whole matter was political, 
such as she was supposed not to understand ! 

Phonographic reporters also. A year ago there were but three female 
phonographers in America; and two of these did not get their bread by 
the work. Now hundreds are qualifying themselves, all over the land ; 
and two young girls, not out of their teens, are at this moment reporting 
my words. [Cheers]. 

I hope the phonographers will take that clapping to themselves. I 
wish you would make it heartier. [Repeated cheers]. Now let us turn 
to the American census. I must touch it lightly. Of factory operatives, 
I will only say, that, in 1845, there were 55,828 men and 75,710 women 
engaged in textile manufactures. You will be surprised at the prepon- 
derance of women : it seems to be as great in other countries. Then follow 
makers of gloves, makers of glue, workers in gold and silver leaf, hair- 
weavers, hat and cap makers, hose-weavers, workers in India rubber, 
lamp-makers, laundresses, leechers, milliners, morocco-workers, nurses, 
paper-hangers, physicians, picklers and preservers, saddlers and harness- 
makers, shoemakers, soda-room keepers, snuff and cigar-makers, stock 
and suspender-makers, truss-makers, typers arid stereotypers, umbrella- 
makers, upholsterers, card-makers. 

Cards were invented in 1361. In less than seventy years the German 
manufacture was in the hands of women Elizabeth and Margaret, at 
Nuremberg. Then grinders of watch crystals, 7,000 women in all. 

My own observation adds to this list phonographers, house and sign 
painters, fruit-hawkers, button - makers, tobacco - packers, paper-box 
makers, embroiderers, and fur-sewers. 

Perhaps I should say haymakers and reapers ; since, for three or four 
years, bands of girls have been so employed in Ohio, at sixty-two and a 
half cents a day. 

In New Haven, seven women work with seventy men in a clock factory, 
at half wages. If the proprietor answered honestly, when asked why he 
employed them, he would say, " To save money;" but he does answer, 
" To help our cause." 

"J. Wysong and Daw jitter? 2(39 

In Waltham, a watch factory has been established, whose statistics I 
shall use elsewhere. 

In Win chcster, Va., a father has lately taken a daughter into partner- 
ship: and the firm is "J. Wysong and Daughter." [Applause]. Is it not 
a shame it should happen first in a slave State? 

Then conic registers of deeds and postmistresses. We all know that 
the rural post-office is chiefly in the hands of irresponsible women. 
Petty politicans obtain the office, take the money, and leave wives and 
sisters to do the work. 

[Here Mrs. Ball read an interesting letter from a female machinist in 
Delaware; but, as it will be published in another connection, it is here 

Is it easy for women to break the way into new avenues You know it 
is not, 

[Here Mrs. Ball referred to the opposition shown to the employment 
of women in watch-making, by Mr. Bennett, in London; to the school at; to the employment of women in printing-offices 
substantiating her statements by dates and names]. 

When I first heard that women were employed in Staffordshire to paint 
pottery and china which they do with far more taste than men I Jieard, 
also, that the jealousy of the men refused to allow them the customary 
hand-rest, and so kept down their wages. I refused to believe anything 
so contemptible. [Applause]. Now the Edinburgh Review confirms the 
story. Thank God! that could never happen in this country. With us, 
Labor can not dictate to Capital. 

But the great evils which lie at the foundation of depressed w r ages are: 

1st. That want of respect for labor which prevents ladies from engag- 
ing in it, 

2d. That want of respect for women which prevents men from valuing 
properly the work they do. 

Women themselves must change these facts. 

[Mrs. Dall here read some letters to show that wa'ges were at a starving- 
point in the cities of America as well as in Europe]. 

I am tired of the folly of the political economist, constantly crying that 
wages can never rise till the laborers are fewer. You have heard of the old 
law in hydraulics, that water will always rise to the level of its source ; but, 
if by a forcing-pump, you raise it a thousand feet above, or by some huge 
syphon drop it a thousand feet below, does that law hold? Very well, the 
artificial restrictions of society are such a forcing-pump are such a sy- 
phon. Make woman equal before the law with man, and wages will ad- 
just themselves. 

Hut what is the present remedy? A very easy one for employers to 
adopt the cash system, and be content with rational profits. In my cor- 
respondence during the past year, master-tailors tell me that they pay 
from eight cents to fifty cents a day for the making of pantaloons, includ- 
ing the heaviest doeskins. Do you suppose they would dare to tell me 
how they charge that work on their slowly-paying customer's bills? Not 
th'\. The eight cents swells to thirty, the fifty to a dollar or a dollar 
twenty-five. Put an end to this, and master-tailors would no longer 

270 History of Woman Suffrage. 

vault into Beacon Street over prostrate women's souls; but neither 
would women be driven to the streets for bread. 

If I had time, I would show you, women, how much depends upon 
yourselves. As it is, we may say with the heroine of " Adam Bede," which 
you have doubtless all been reading : 

"I'm not for denying that the women are foolish. God Almighty 
made 'em to match the men! " [Laughter]. 

Do you laugh ? It is but a step from the ridiculous to the sublime; 
and Goethe, who knew women well, was of the same mind when he wrote: 
" Wilt thou dare to blame the woman for her seeming sudden changes- 
Swaying eant and swaying westward, as the breezes shake the tree ? 
Fool ! thy selfish thought misguides thee. Find the rnau that never ranges. 
Woman wavers but to seek him. Is not, then, the fault in thee ? " 

Mrs. Dall was followed by the Rev. JOHN T. SARGENT, who said : 

MADAM PRESIDENT AND FRIENDS : I appreciate the honor of an invi- 
tation to this platform, but my words must be few; first, because the 
call comes to me within a few hours, and amid the cares and responsi- 
bilities of the chair on another platform, and I had no time for precon- 
certed forms of address; second, because the geneial principles of this 
organization, and the subject matters for discussion, are so well sifted 
and disposed of by previous speakers, that nothing new remains for me 
to say; and, third, because we are all waiting for the words of one [Wen- 
dell Phillips] whose sympathies are never wanting in any cause of truth 
and justice, whose versatile eloquence never hesitates on any platform 
where he waves aloft " the sword of the spirit " in behalf of human rights. 

I may truly say, that this is my maiden speech in behalf of maidens 
and others [laughter] ; and, if it amount to nothing else, I may say, as 
did my friend Clarke, I feel bound, at least, to take my stand, and show 
my sympathy for the noble cause. I come here under the pressure of an 
obligation to testify in behalf of an interest truly Christian, and one of 
the greatest that can' engage the reason or the conscience of a commu - 
nity. I would that you had upon this platform and every other, more 
women speakers for the upholding and consummation of every righteous 
cause ! And so far am I from being frightened to' death or embarrassed* 
as our friend Mrs. Dall has intimated any one might be, at the prospect 
of either following James Freeman Clarke or preceding Wendell Phillips, 
I am much more concerned by the contrast of my speech with such 
speakers as your President, or Dr. Hunt, or Mrs. Dall herself. 

There is one feature of the general question of " Woman's Rights " on 
which I would say a single word; and it may constitute the specialty of 
my address, so far as it has any. I mean the bearing of social inequali- 
ties particularly upon the poor the poor of a city the poor women of 
a city. 

It may not be unknown to most of you, that for nearly two years past, 
in connection with the so-called "Boston Provident Association," I have 
been engaged in an agency wherein the peculiar trials of this class have 
been revealed to me as never before. 

Hundreds of poor, desolate, forsaken women, especially in the winter 

. John T. Sargent. 271 

months, have come to that office with the same pitiable tale of poverty, 
dr-'-rtion, and tyranny on the part of their worthless and drunken hus- 
bands, who had gone off to California, Kansas, or the "West, taking away 
from their wives and children every possible means of support, and leav- 
ing them the pauper dependents on a public charity. Now, if this be not 
the denial of Woman's Rights, I know not what is. Had we time, I 
illicit till the hour with a journal of statistics in painful illustration of 
the>i> tacts. Now, I say, ihat a system of society which can tolerate such 
ite of things, and, by sufferance even, allow such men to wrench 
away the plain rights of their wives and families, needs reforming. 

But let us look a little higher in the social scale, to the rights and 
claims of a class of women not so dependent-r-a class who, by their edu- 
cation and culture, are competent to fill, or who may be filling, the 
position of clerks, secretaries, or assistant agents. How inadequate and 
insufficient, as a general thing, is the compensation they receive! 

There was associated with me in the agency and office to which I have 
referred, as office-clerk and coadjutor, among others, an intelligent and 
very worthy young woman, whose term of service there has been coeval 
and coincident with the Association itself, even through the whole seven 
3 or more; and there she still survives, through all the vicissitudes of 
the General Agency by death or otherwise, with a fidelity of service worthy 
of more liberal compensation; for she receives, even now, for an amount 
of service equal to that of any other in the office, only about one-third 
the salary paid to a male occupant of the same sphere! 

Look next at the professional sphere of women, properly so called ; 
and who shall deny her right and claim to that position ? A young 
brother clergyman came to my office one day, wanting his pulpit sup- 
plied ; and, in the course of conversation, asked very earnestly, " How 
would it do to invite a woman-preacher into my pulpit ?" " Do! " said 
I (giving him the names of Mrs. Dall, Dr. Hunt, etc., as the most acces- 
sible) " of course it'll do." And all I have to say is, if I ever resume again 
harge of a pulpit myself, and either of those preachers want an ex- 
change, I shall be honored in the privilege of so exchanging. 

Well, my young friend, the brother clergyman referred to, whom I am. 

irlad to see in this audience, went and did according to my suggestion; 

and, by the professional service of Mrs. Dall in his pulpit, more than 

1 think, ministered no little edification to his people. And, in this 

connection, let me say: If the argument against woman's preaching 

< )h ! it looks so awkward and singular to see a woman with a gown 

on in the pulpit " (for that's the whole gist of it), why, then, the same logic 

miirht as well disrobe the male priesthood of their silken paraphernalia, 

k and bands. 

Hut there are other and better words in waiting, and I yield the floor. 
\HLKS G. AMES expressed his gratitude at being permitted to occupy 
thi> platform, and identify himself with the cause of those noblest of living 
WOIIM-II who had dared the world's scorn had dared to stand alone on 
ground of their moral convictions. He thought Rev. Mr. Clarke had 
spoken but half the truth in saying, "Half the human race are concerned 
in the Woman's Rights movement." 

If the Mohammedan doctrine (that woman has no soul) be true, then 

272 History of Woman Suffrage. 

the opponents of this cause are justifiable. But concede that she has a 
rational soul, and you concede the equality of her rights. Concede that 
she is capable of being a Christian, and you concede that she has a right 
to help do the Christian's work; and the Christian's work includes all 
forms of noble activity, as well as the duty of self-development. 

But some people are afraid of agitation. You remember the story of 
the rustic, who fainted away in the car when taking his first railroad 
ride, and gasped out, on coming to himself, " Has the thing lit ? " He 
belonged, probably, to that large class of people who go into hysterics 
every time the world begins to move, and who are never relieved from 
their terror till quiet is restored. 

Great alarm prevails lest this agitation should breed _a fatal quarrel 
between man and woman ; as though there could be a want of harmony, 
a collision of rights, between the sexes. Sad visions are conjured up be- 
fore us of family feuds, mutual hair-pullings, and a general wreck of all 
domestic bliss. Certainly, there are difficulties about settling some do- 
mestic questions. Marriage is a partnership between two; no third per- 
son to give the casting vote. Then they must "take turns"; the wife 
yielding to the husband in those cases where he is best qualified to judge, 
and the husband yielding to the wife in those matters which most con- 
cern her, or concerning which she can best judge. Yet man is the senior 
partner of the firm : his name comes first. Few women would be pleased 
to see the firm styled in print as " Mrs. So-and-So and Husband." 

Woman wants more self-reliance. Has she not always been taught 
that it is very proper to faint at the sight of toads and spiders and fresh 
blood, and whenever a gentleman pops the question ? Has she not 
always been taught that man was the strong, towering oak, and she the 
graceful, clinging vine, sure to collapse like an empty bag whenever his 
mighty support was withdrawn ? Until all this folly is unlearned, how 
can she be self-dependent and truly womanly ? 

Women are afraid to claim their rights; and not timidity only, but 
laziness the love of ease keeps them back from the great duty of self- 
assertion. True, it is a good deal like work to summon up the soul to 
such a conflict with an opposing and corrupt public opinion. But wom- 
an must do that work for herself, or it will never be done. 

Woman's rights we talk of. There is a grandeur about these great 
questions of right, which makes them the glory of our age; and it is the 
shame of our age, that right and rights in every form get so generally 
sneered at. What use have I for my conscience, what remains of my 
noble manhood, if, when half the human race complain that I am doing 
them a wrong, I only reply with a scoff ? A man without a conscience 
to make him quick and sensitive to right and duty, is neither fit for 
heaven nor for hell. He is an outsider, a monster! 

Conservatism says, " Let the world be as it is ''; but Christianity says, 
"Make it what it should be." No man need call himself a Christian, 
who admits that a wrong exists, and yet wishes it to continue, or is in- 
different to its removal. Let us 

" Strike for that which ought to be, 
And God will bless the blows." 


The speaker spoke of the abuse and injustice done to the Bible by 

who make it the shelter and apologist for all the wrong, vil- 
and sneaking meanness that The world bears up; and closed with , 
tinu'iiy against the cowardice of those time-serving ministers who allow 
their manhood to be suffocated by a white cravat, and who never pub- 
licly rake sides with what they see to be a good, cause, until "popular 
- " indicate that the time has come for speaking out their opinions. 
The President then introduced to the audience WENDELL PHILLIPS, 

of Boston : 

MADAM PRESIDENT: I am exceedingly happy to see that this question 

together so large an audience ; and perhaps that circumstance will 

make me take exception to some representations of the previous speak - 

- to the unpopularity of this movement. The gentleman who occu- 

rhis place before me thought that perhaps he might count the nuin- 

>f those that occupied this platform as the real advocates of that 

question. Oh, no! The number of those who sympathize with us must 

not be counted so. Our idea penetrates the whole life of the people. 

The shifting hues of public opinion show like the colors on a dove's 

: you can not tell where one ends, or the other begins. [Cheers], 

> body that holds to raising human beings above the popular ideas, 

and not caring for artificial distinctions, is on our side; I think I can 

show my friend that. Whenever a new reform is started, men seem to 

think that the world is going to take at once a great stride. The world 

never takes strides. The moral world is exactly like the natural. The 

sun comes up minute by minute, ray by ray, till the twilight deepens 

dawn, and dawn spreads into noon. So it is with this question. 

Tlmse who look at our little island of time do not see it; but, a hundred 

a later, everybody will recognize it. 

No one need be at all afraid ; there is no disruption, no breaking away 
old anchorage not at all. In the thirteenth and fourteenth cent- 
s, there were two movements first, the peasants in the town were 
striving to fortify each man his own house to set up the towns against 
the kings; then, in the colleges, the great philosophers were striving each 
to fortify his own soul to make a revolution against Rome. The peasants 
branded the collegians as "infidels," and the collegians showed the 
tnts to be "traitors." Cordially they hated each other; blindly 
went down to their graves, thinking they had been fighting each 
other; but, under the providence of God, they were entwined in the 
same movement. Now, if I could throw you back to-day into the civili- 
zation of Greece and Rome, I could show you the fact that our question is 
housand years old. [Cheers.] In the truest sense, it did not begin in 
1848, as my friend Dr. Hunt stated; it began centuries ago. Did you 
hear of the old man who went to the doctor, and asked him to teach 
him to speak prose ? " Why, my dear fellow," was the reply, " you have 
been speaking prose all your life." But he did not know it. So with 

le people in regard to the movement for Woman's Rights. 
Many think the steps taken since 1850 are shaking this land with a new 
infidelity. Now, this infidelity is a good deal older than the New Testa- 
When man began his pilgrimage from the cradle of Asia, woman 

274 History of Woman Suffrage. 

was not allowed to speak before a court of justice. To kill a woman was 
just as great a sin as to kill a cow, and no greater. To sell an unlicensed 
herb in the city of Calcutta, was exactly the same crime as to kill a wom- 
an. She did not belong to the human race. Come down thousands of 
years, and the civilization of Greece said, ' ' Woman has not got enough 
of truth in her to be trusted in the court of justice;" and, if her husband 
wants to give her to a brother or friend, he can take her to their door, 
and say, " Here, I give you this." And so it continues till you reach the 
feudal ages; when woman, though she might be queen or duchess, was 
often not competent to testify in a court of justice. She had not soul 
enough, men believed, to know a truth from a lie. That is the code of 
the feudal system. But all at once the world has waked up, and thinks 
a man is not a man because he has a pound of muscle, or because he has 
a stalwart arm; but because he has thoughts, ideas, purposes: he can 
commit crime, and he is capable of virtue. 

No man is born in a day. A baby is always six months old before he 
is twenty-one. Our fathers, who first reasoned that God made all men 
equal, said: "You sha'n't hang a man until you have asked him if he 
consents to the law." Some meddlesome fanatic, engaged in setting up 
type, conceived the idea, that he need not pay his tax till he was repre- 
sented before the law: then why should woman do so? Now, I ask, 
what possible reason is there that woman, as a mother, as a wife, as a 
laborer, as a capitalist, as an artist, as a citizen, should be subjected to 
any laws except such as govern man? What moral reason is there for 
this, under the American idea? Does not the same interest, the same 
strong tie, bind the mother to her children, that bind the father? Has 
she not the same capacity to teach them that the father has? and often 
more ? Now, the law says: " If the father be living, the mother is noth- 
ing; but, if the father be dead, the mother is everything." Did she 
inherit from her husband his great intellect? If she did not, what is the 
common sense of such a statute? The mother has the same rights, in 
regard to her children, that the father has: there should be no dis- 

Yours is not a new reform. The gentleman who occupied the platform 
a few moments ago gave the common representation of this cause: "If 
a husband doesn't do about right, his wife will pull his hair; and, if you 
let her have her way, she may vote the Democratic ticket, and he the Re- 
publican ; and vice versa." Well, now, my dear friend, suppose it were just 
so ; it is too late to complain. That point has long been settled ; if you 
will read history a little, you will see it was settled against you. In 
the time of Luther, it was a question: " Can a woman choose her own 
creed?'' The feudal ages said: "No; she believes as her husband be- 
lieves, of course." But the reformers said: "She ought to think for 
herself; her husband is not her God." " But," it was objected, " should 
there be difference of opinion between man and wife, the husband 
believing one creed and the wife another, there would be continual 
discord." But the reply was: "God settled that; God has settled it 
that every responsible conscience should have a right to his own creed." 
And Christendom said: "Amen." The reformers of Europe, to this day, 

/"/* lli'tfUH to Think. I??.') 

have allowed freedom of opinion; and who .says that the experienc.- <>f 
tlin-e tvimiries has found tin- husband and wife grappling cadi oiln-r's 
throats on religious dilli'ivncrs; Ir would be Papal and absurd to deny 
woman her ivli^ious rights. Then why should she not be allowed to 

ler party.' 

We claim the precedents in this matter. It was arranged and agreed 
upon, in the reform of Europe, that women should have the right to 
choose their religious creeds. I say, therefore-, this is not a new cau>c; 
it is an old one. It is as old as the American idea. We are individuals 
by virtue of our brains, not by virtue of our muscles. "Why do you 
women meddle in politics?" asked Napoleon of De Stae'l. "Sire, so 
long as you will hang us, we must ask the reason," was the answer. 
The whole political philosophy of the subject is in that. The instant you 
Woman is not competent to go to the ballot-box," I reply: "She 
is not competent to go to the gallows or the State prison. If she is coin- 
pi.'t'iit to go to the State prison, then she is competent to go to the 
ballot-box, and tell how thieves should be punished." [Applause]. 

Man is a man because he thinks. Woman has already begun to think. 
sin- has touched literature with the wand of her enchantment, and it 
to her level, until woman becomes an author as well as reader. 
And what is the result? We do not have to expurgate the literature of 
the nineteenth century before placing it in the hands of youth. Those 
who write for the lower level sink down to dwell with their kind. 

Mr. Sargent and Mr. Clarke expatiated on the wholesome influence of 
-ide-by-side progress of the sexes. There are no women more deserv- 
ing of your honest approbation than those who dare to work singly for 

the elevation of their sex 

Woman's Rights and Negro Rights! What rights have either women 
or negroes that we have any reason to respect? The world says: 


There has lately been a petition carried into the British Parliament, 

asking for what? It asks that the laws of marriage and divorce shall be 

brought into conformity with the creed and civilization of Great Britain 

in the middle of the nineteenth century. The state of British law, on 

the bill of divorce, was a disgrace to the British statute-book. Whose 

the intellect and whose the heart to point out, and who had the 

courage to look in the face of British wealth and conservatism, and 

claim that the law of divorce was a disgrace to modern civilization? It 

he women of Great Britain that first said her statute-book disgraced 

Who could say, that if those women had been voters, they might 

not have reformed it? 

Douglas Jerrold said: "Woman knows she is omnipotent"; and so 

>. She may be ignorant, she may not have a dollar, she may have 

no right given her to testify in the court of justice; she may be a slave. 

chained by a dozen statutes; but, when her husband loves her, she is 

his queen and mistress, in spite of them all; and the world knows it. 

All history bears testimony to this omnipotent influence. What we are 

here for is to clear up the choked channel; make hidden power confess 

f, and feel its responsibility, feel how much rests upon it, and there- 

276 History of Woman [suffrage. 

fore gird itself to its duty. We are to say to the women: " Yours is one- 
half of the human race. Come to the ballot-box, and feel, when you 
cast a vote in regard to some great moral question, the dread post you 
fill, and fit yourself for it." Woman at home controls her son, guides 
her husband in reality, makes him vote but acknowledges no respon- 
sibility, and receives no education for such a throne. By her caprices 
in private life, she often ruins the manhood of her husband, and checks 
the enthusiastic purposes of her son. 

Many a young girl, in her married life, loses her husband, and thus is 
left a widow with two or three children. Now, who is to educate them 
and control them? We see, if left to her own resources, the intellect 
which she possesses, and which has remained in a comparatively dor- 
mant state, displayed in its full power. What a depth of heart lay hidden 
in that woman! She takes her husband's business guides it as though 
it were a trifle; she takes her sons, and leads them; sets her daughters 
an example; like a master-leader, she governs the whole household. 
That is woman's influence. What made that woman? Responsibility. 
Call her out from weakness, lay upon her soul the burden of her chil- 
dren's education, and she is no longer a girl, but a woman ! 

Horace Greeley once said to Margaret Fuller : "If you should ask a 
woman to carry a ship round Cape Horn, how would she go to woik to 
do it? Let her do this, and I Vill give up the question/' In the fall of 
1856, a Boston girl, only twenty years of age, accompanied her husband 
to California. A brain-fever laid him low. In the presence of mutiny 
and delirium, she took his vacant post, preserved order, and carried her 
cargo safe to its destined port. Looking in the face of Mr. Greeley, Miss 
Fuller said : ; ' Lo ! my dear Horace, it is done ; now say, what shall woman 
do next?" [Cheers]. 

Mrs. CAROLINE H. DALL then dismissed the assembly.* 

In The Liberator of July 6, 1860, we find a brief mention of 
what was called Mrs. Dall's " Drawing-room " Convention, in which 
it was proposed to present the artistic and aesthetic view of the 
question. The meeting was held June 1st, in the Melodeon. Mrs. 
Caroline M. Severance presided. Mrs. Dall, Rev. Samuel J. May, 
R. J. Hinton, Moses (Harriet Tubman), James Freeman Clarke, Dr. 
Mercy B. Jackson, Elizabeth M. Powell, and Wendell Phillips took 
part in the discussions. 

We close our chapter on Massachusetts, with a few extracts from 
a sermon by Theodore Parker, to show his position on the most 

* The Publishing Committee do not willingly print the above report of one of 
the ablest and most eloquent speeches ever delivered in Boston. Mr. Phillips never 
writes his speeches. He is now too far distant to be consulted. Two very young girl 
reporters after a week's hard practice, and three hours' excessive heat wrote these 
heads down, without the most distant idea of publication. All the Committee can do is 
to rejoice that the accident did not happen to a young speaker, but to one whose repu- 
tation is established, and whose immortality is certain. c. n. D. 

Theodore Parlcer. 277 

momentous question of his day and generation. In March, 1853, 
be gave two discourses in Music Hall, Boston, one on the domestic, 
and one on the public function of woman, in which he fully ex- 
pressed himself on every phase of the question. 


If woman is a human being, first, she has the Nature of a human being ; 
iK-xt, she has the Right of a human being; third, she has the Duty of a 
being. The Nature is the capacity to possess, to use, to develop, and to enjoy 
every human faculty; the Right is the right to enjoy, develop, and use every 
human faculty ; and the Duty is to make use of the Right, and make her hu- 
man nature, human history. She is here to develop her human nature, enjoy 
her human rights, perform her human duty. Womankind is to do this for 
herself, as much as mankind for himself. A woman has the same human 
nature that a man has; the same human rights, to life, liberty, and the pur- 
suit of happiness ; the same human duties ; and they are as inalienable in a 
woman as in a man. 

Each man has the natural right to the normal development of his nature, so 
far as it is general-human, neither man nor woman, but human. Each woman 
has the natural right to the normal development of her nature, so far as it is 
general-human, neither woman nor man. But each man has also a natural and 
inalienable right to the normal development of his peculiar nature as man, 
where he differs from woman. Each woman has just the same natural and in- 
alienable right to the normal development of her peculiar nature as woman, and 
not man. All that is undeniable. 

Xow see what follows. Woman has the same individual right to determine 
her aim in life, and to follow it ; has the same individual rights of body and 
of spirit of mind and conscience, and heart and soul ; the same physical 
rights, the same intellectual, moral, affectional, and religious rights, that man 
has. That is true of womankind as a whole ; it is true of Jane, Ellen, and 
Sally, and each special woman that can be named. 

Every person, man or woman, is an integer, an individual, a whole person ; 
and also a portion of the race, and so a fraction of humankind. Well, the 
rights of individualism are not to be possessed, developed, used, and enjoyed, 
by a life in solitude, but by joint action. Accordingly, to complete and perfect 
the individual man or woman, and give each an opportunity to possess, use, 
develop, and enjoy these rights, there must be concerted and joint action ; else 
individuality is only a possibility, not a reality. So the individual rights of 
woman carry with them the same domestic, social, ecclesiastical, and political 
rights, as those of man. 

The Family, Community, Church and State, are four modes of action which 
have grown out of human nature in its historical development; they are all 
necessary for the development of mankind ; machines which the human race 
has devised, in order to possess, use, develop, and enjoy their rights as human 
beings, their rights also as men. 

These are just as necessary for the development of woman as of man; and, 
as she has the same nature, right, and duty, as man, it follows that she has the 
same right to use, shape, and control these four institutions, for her general 

278 History of Woman Suffrage. 

human purpose and for her special feminine purpose, that man has to control 
them for his general human purpose and his special masculine purpose. All 
that is as undeniable as anything in metaphysics or mathematics. 

If woman had been consulted, it seems to me theology would have been in a 
vastly better state than it is now. I do not think that any woman would ever 
have preached the damnation of babies new-born ; and " hell, paved with the 
skulls of infants not a span long," would be a region yet to be discovered in 
theology. A celibate monk with God's curse writ on his face, which knew no 
child, no wife, no sister, and blushed that he had a mother might well dream 
of such a thing. He had been through the preliminary studies. Consider the 
ghastly attributes which are commonly put upon God in the popular theology; 
the idea of infinite wrath, of infinite damnation, and total depravity, and all 
that. Why, you could not get a woman, that had intellect enough to open her 
mouth, to preach these things anywhere. Women think they think that they 
believe them ; but they do not. Celibate priests, who never knew marriage, or 
what paternity was, who thought woman was a "pollution" they invented 
these ghastly doctrines; and when I have heard the Athanasian Creed and the 
Dies Irae chanted by monks, with the necks of bulls and the lips of donkeys 
why, I have understood where the doctrine came from, and ha-ve felt the ap- 
propriateness of their braying out the damnation hymns; woman could not do 
it. We shut her out of the choir, out of the priest's house, out of the pulpit ; 
and then the priest, with unnatural vows, came in, and taught these u doc- 
trines of devils." Could you find a woman who would read to a congregation, 
as words of truth, Jonathan Edwards' sermon on a Future State " Sinners in 
the Hands of an Angry God," "The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sin- 
ners," "Wrath upon the Wicked to the Uttermost," "The Future Punishment 
of the Wicked," and other things of that sort? Nay, can you find a worthy 
woman, of any considerable culture, who will read the fourteenth chapter of 
Numbers, and declare that a true picture of the God she worships ? Only a she- 
dragon could do it in our day. 

The popular theology leaves us nothing feminine in the character of God. 
How could it be otherwise, when so much of the popular theology is the work 
of men who thought woman was a "pollution," and barred her out of all the 
high places of the church ? If women had had their place in ecclesiastical 
teaching, I doubt that the " Athanasian Creed " would ever have been thought 
a "symbol" of Christianity. The pictures and hymns which describe the last 
judgment are a protest against the exclusion of woman from teaching in the 
church. "I suffer not a woman to teach, but to be in silence," said a writer in 
the New Testament. The sentence has brought manifold evil in its train. So 
much for the employments of women. 

By nature, woman has the same political rights that man has to vote, to hold 
office, to make and administer laws. These she has as a matter of right. The 
strong hand and the great head of man keep her down ; nothing more. In 
America, in Christendom, woman has no political rights, is not a citizen in full ; 
she has no voice in making or administering the laws, none in electing the 
rulers or administrators thereof. She can hold no office can not be committee 
of a primary school, overseer of the poor, or guardian to a public lamp-post. 
But any man, with conscience enough to keep out of jail, mind enough to es- 

U*lt >J \V'>iil'lll xliovltl not 

cape the poor-house, ami body enough to drop his ballot into the box, he is a 

He may have no character even no money; that is no matter he is 

male. The noblest woman has no voice in the State. Men make laws, dispos- 

if her property, her person, her children; still she must bear it, "with a 
patient slims;." 

Looking at it as a matter of pure right and pure science, I know no reason 
why woman should not be a voter, or hold office, or make and administer law-. 
I do not see how I can shut myself into political privileges and shut woman out, 
and do both in the name of inalienable right. Certainly, every woman has a 
natural right to have her property represented in the general representation of 
property, and her person represented in the general representation of persons. 
Looking at it as a matter of expediency, see some facts. Suppose woman had 

re in the municipal regulation of Boston, and there were as many alder- 
women as aldermen, as many common council women as common council men, 

>u believe that, in defiance of the law of Massachusetts, the city govern- 
ment, last spring, would have licensed every two hundred and forty- fourth per- 
son of the population of the city to sell intoxicating drink ? would have made 

thirty-fifth voter a rum-seller? I do not. 
Do you believe the women of Boston would spend ten thousand dollars in one 

in a city frolic, or spend two or three thousand every year, on the Fourth 
of July, for sky-rockets and fire-crackers ; would spend four or five thousand 
dollars to get their Canadian guests drunk in Boston harbor, and then pretend 
that Boston had not money enough to establish a high-school for girls, to teach 
the daughters of mechanics and grocers to read .French and Latin, and to un- 

did the higher things which rich men's sons are driven to at college? I 
do not. 

Do you believe that the women of Boston, in 1851, would have spent three or 
four thousand dollars to kidnap a poor man, and have taken all the chains 
which belonged to the city and put them round the court-house, and have 
drilled three hundred men, armed with bludgeons and cutlasses, to steal a man 
and carry him back to slavery ? I do not. Do you think, if the women had 
had the control, "fifteen hundred men of property and standing " would have 
volunteered to take a poor man, kidnapped in Boston, and conduct him out of 

State, with fire and sword ? I believe no such thing. 

Do you think the women of Boston would take the poorest and most unfortu- 
nate children in the town, put them all together into one school, making that 
the most miserable in the city, where they had not and could not have half the 
< of the other children in different schools, and all that because the un- 
fortunates were dark-colored ? Do you think the women of Boston would shut a 
brurht boy out of the High-School or Latin-School, because he was black in the 

Women are said to be cowardly. When Thomas Sims, out of his dungeon, 
sent to the churches his petition for their prayers, had women been " the Chris- 
tian clergy, 1 ' do you believe they would not have dared to pray ? 

If women had a voice in the affairs of Massachusetts, do you think they would 

ever have made laws so that a lazy husband could devour all the substance of 

tive wife spite of her wish ; so that a drunken husband could command 

her bodily presence in his loathly house; and when an infamous man was di- 

vorced from his wife, that he could keep all the children ? I confess I do not. 

280 History of Woman Suffrage. 

If the affairs of the nation had been under woman's joint control, I doubt 
that we should have butchered the Indians with such exterminating savagery, 
that, in fifty years, we should have spent seven hundred millions of dollars for 
war, and now, in time of peace, send twenty annual millions more to the same 
waste. 1 doubt that we should have spread slavery into nine new States, and 
made it national. I think the Fugitive Slave bill would never have been an 
act. Woman has some respect for the natural law of God. 

I know men say woman can not manage the great affairs of a nation. Very 
well. Government is political economy national housekeeping-. Does any 
respectable woman keep house so badly as the United States ? with so much 
bribery, so much corruption, so much quarrelling in the domestic councils ? 

But government is also political morality, it is national ethics. Is there any 
worthy woman who rules her household as wickedly as the nations are ruled ? 
who hires bullies to fight for her ? Is there any woman who treats one-sixth 
part of her household as if they were cattle and not creatures of God, as if they 
were things and not persons ? I know of none such. In government as house- 
keeping, or government as morality, I think man makes & very poor appear- 
ance, when he says woman could not do as well as he has done and is doing. 

I doubt that women will ever, as a general thing, take the same interest as 
men in political affairs, or find therein an abiding satisfaction. But that is for 
women themselves to determine, not for men. 

In order to attain the end the development of man in body and spirit 
human institutions must represent all parts of human nature, both the mascu- 
line and the feminine element. For the well-being of the human race, we need 
the joint action of man and woman, in the family, the community, the 
Church, and the State. A family without the presence of woman with no 
mother, no wife, no sister, no womankind is a sad thing. I think a commu- 
nity without woman's equal social action, a church without her equal ecclesias- 
tical action, and a State without her equal political action, is almost as bad is 
very much what a house would be without a mother, wife, sister, or friend. 

You see what prevails in the Christian civilization of the nineteenth century; 
it is Force force of body, force of brain. There is little justice, little philan- 
thropy, little piety. Selfishness preponderates everywhere in Christendom 
individual, domestic, social, ecclesiastical, national selfishness. It is preached 
as gospel and enacted as law. It is thought good political economy for a 
strong people to devour the weak nations ; for " Christian " England and Amer- 
ica to plunder the " heathen " and annex their land ; for a strong class to 
oppress and ruin the feeble class; for the capitalists of England to pauperize 
the poor white laborer; for the capitalists of America to enslave the poorer black 
laborer ; for a strong man to oppress the weak men ; for the sharper to buy 
labor too cheap, and sell its product too dear, and so grow rich by making 
many poor. Hence, nation is arrayed against nation, class against class, man 
against man. Nay, it is commonly taught that mankind is arrayed against 
God. and God against man ; that the world is a univer.-al discord : that there 
is no solidarity of man with man, of man with God. I fear we shall never get 
far bevond this theory and this practice, until woman has her natural rights as 
the equal of man, and takes her natural place in regulating the affairs of the 
family, the community, the Church, and the State. It seems to me God has 
treasured up a reserved power in the nature of woman to correct many of those 
evils \\hich are Christendom's disgrace to-day. 

Martin Luther was Itiyht. 281 

Circumstances help or hinder our development, and are one of the two forces 
which determine the actual character of a nation or of mankind, at any special 
period. Hitherto, amongst men, circumstances have favored the development 
of only intellectual power, in all its forms chiefly in its lower forms. At 
ot, mankind, as a whole, has the superiority over womankind, as a whole, 
in all that pertains to intellect, the higher and the lower. Man has knowledge, 
leas, has administrative skill ; enacts the rules of conduct for the individ- 
ual, the family, the community, the Church, the State, and the world. He 
applies these rales of conduct to life, and so controls the great affairs of the 
human race. You see what a world he has made of it. There is male vigor in 
ivilization, miscalled ''Christian"; and in its leading nations there are 
industry and enterprise, which never fail. There is science, literature, legisla- 
tion, agriculture, manufactures, mining, commerce, such as the world never 
saw. With the visor' of war, the Anglo-Saxon now works the works of peace. 
England abounds in wealth richest of lands ; but look at her poor, her vast 
army of paupers, two million strong, the Irish whom she drives with the hand 
of famine across the sea, Martin Luther was right when he said : " The richer 
the nation, the poorer the poor." Look at the cities of England and America. 
What riches, what refinement, what culture of man and woman too ! Ay ; but 
what poverty, what ignorance, what beastliness of man and woman too ! The 
Christian civilization of the nineteenth century is well summed up in London 
and Xew York the two foci of the Anglo-Saxon tribe, which control the 
shape of the world's commercial ellipse. Look at the riches and the misery ; 
at the "religious enterprise" and the heathen darkness; at the virtue, the 
decorum, and the beauty of woman well-born and well bred ; and at the wild 
sea of prostitution, which swells and breaks and dashes against the bulwarks 
of society every ripple was a woman once ! 

Ob, brother-men, who make these things, is this a pleasant sight ? Does 
your literature complain of it of the waste of human life, the slaughter of 
human souls, the butchery of woman ? British literature begins to wail, in 
' k Nicholas Nickleby" and u Jane Eyre" and "Mary Barton" and ''Alton 
Locke,' 1 in many a "Song of the Shirt"; but the respectable literature of 
America is deaf as a cent to the outcry of humanity expiring in agonies. It is 
with California, or the Presidency, or extolling iniquity in high places, 
or flattering the vulgar vanity which buys its dross for gold. It can not even 
imitate the philanthropy of English letters; it is "up" for California and a 
market. Does not the Church speak ? the English Church, with its millions 
of money ; the American, with its millions of men both wont to bay the moon 
of foreign heathenism ? The Church is a dumb dog, that can not bark, sleep- 
ing, lying down, loving to slumber. It is a church without woman, believing 
in a male and jealous God, and rejoicing in a boundless, endless hell ! 

Hitherto, with woman, circumstances have hindered the development of 
intellectual power, in all its forms. She has not knowledge, has not ideas or 
praftical skill to equal the force of man. But circumstances have favored the 
.<>pment of pure and lofty emotion in advance of man. She has moral 
ff'-ling, affectional feeling, religious feeling, far in advance of man ; her moral, 
affectional, and religious intuitions are deeper and more trustworthy than his. 
Hen- she is i-minent, as he is in knowledge, in ideas, in administrative skill. 

1 think man wi.l always lead in affairs of intellect of reason, imagination 

282 History of Woman Suffrage. 

understanding be has the bigger brain ; but that woman will always lead in 
affairs of emotion moral, aflectional, religious she has the better heart, the 
truer intuition of the right, the lovely, the holy. The literature of women in 
this century is juster, more philanthropic, more religious, than that of men. 
Do you not hear the cry which, in New England, a woman is raising in the 
world's ears against the foul wrong which America is working in the world ? 

Do you not hear the echo of that woman's voice come over the Atlantic 

returned from European shores in many a tongue French, German, Italian, 
Swedish, Danish, Russian, Dutch ? How a woman touches the world's heart ! 
because she speaks justice, speaks piety, speaks love. What voice is strongest, 
raised in continental Europe, pleading for the oppressed and down-trodden ? 
That also is a woman's voice ! 

Well, we want the excellence of man and woman both united ; intellectual 
power, knowledge, great ideas in literature, philosophy,.theology, ethics and 
practical skill; but we want something better the moral, affectional, religious 
intuition, to put justice into ethics, love into theology, piety into science and 
letters. Everywhere in the family, the community, the Church, and the State, 
we want the masculine and feminine element co-operating and conjoined. 
Woman is to correct man's taste, mend his morals, excite his affections, inspire 
his religious faculties. Man is to quicken her intellect, to help her will, trans- 
late her sentiments to ideas, and enact them into righteous laws. Man's moral 
action, at best, is only a sort of general human providence, aiming at the wel- 
fare of a part, and satisfied with achieving the " greatest good of the greatest 
number." Woman's moral action is more like a special human providence, 
acting without general rules, but caring for each particular case. We need 
both of these, the general and the special, to make a total human providence. 

If man and woman are counted equivalent equal in rights, though with 
diverse powers, shall we not mend the literature of the world, its theology, 
its science, its laws, and its actions too ? I can not believe that wealth and 
want are to stand ever side by side as desperate foes ; that culture must ride 
only on the back of ignorance ; and feminine virtue be guarded by the degra- 
dation of whole classes of ill-starred men, as in the East, or the degradation 
of whole classes of ill-starred women, as in the West ; but while we neglect the 
means of help God puts in our power, why, the present must be like the past 
"property" must be theft, "law " the strength of selfish will, and "Christian- 
ity "what we see it is, the apology for every powerful wrong. 

To every woman let me say Respect your nature as a human being, your 
nature as a woman ; then respect your rights, then remember your duty to 
possess, to use, to develop, and to enjoy every faculty which God has given 
you, each in its norrna.1 way. 

And to men let me say Respect, with the profoundest reverence, respect 
the mother that bore you, the sisters who bless you, the woman that you love, 
the woman that you marry. As you seek to possess your own manly rights, 
seek also, by that great arm, by that powerful brain, seek to vindicate her 
rights as woman, as your own as man. Then we may see better things in the 
Church, better things in the State, in the Community, in the Home. Then the 
green shall show what buds it hid, the buds shall blossom, the flowers bear 
fruit, and the blessing of God be on us all. 

Paulina AW% : /. 283 


BY E. C. S. 

II earing that my friend had returned from Europe too ill to leave 

room, I hastened to her charming home in the suburbs of Prov- 
idence, Rh<xk' Island. There in her pleasant chamber, bright with 

-mishine of a clear December day,* surrounded with her books 
and pictures of her own painting, looking out on an extensive 
lawn, grand old trees, and the busy city in the distance, we passed 
three happy days together reviewing our own lives, the progress 
of the reforms we advocated, and in speculations of the unknown 
world In my brief sketch of the "Woman's Rights Movement" 
and its leaders for the " Eminent Women of the Age," I made no 
mention of Mrs. Davis, being ignorant of the main facts of her life. 
I waited for her return from Florida, until it was too late, as the 
work was hurried to press. Hence I was glad of this opportunity to 
dot dawn fresh from her own lips some of the incidents and per- 
sonal experiences of her life. 

Paulina Kellogg was born in Bloomfield, New York, the very day 
Capt. Hall delivered up the fort at Detroit. Her father, Capt. Kel- 
logg, being a volunteer in the army at that time, would often jocose- 
ly refer to those two great events on the Yth of August, 1813. Her 
grandfather Saxton was a colonel in the Revolution, and on Lafayette's 
staff. Both her father and mother possessed great personal beauty, 
and were devotedly attached to each other, and were alike conserva- 
tive in their opinions and associations. When Paulina was foul- 

's old her grandfather bought a large tract of land at Cambria, 
near "Niagara Falls, where all his children settled. That trip was 
the first memory of her childhood. A cavalcade of six army 

us, men, women, children, horses, cattle, dogs, hens, pushed 
their weary w r ay eleven days through wild w^oods, cutting their own 
roads, and fording creeks and rivers. Crossing the Genesee in 

w, one immense cow walked off into the water, others followed 
and swam ashore. The little girl thinking that everything was go- 
verboard, trembled like an aspen leaf until she felt herself safe 
<n land. The picnics under the trees, the beds in the wagons drawn 
up in a circle to keep the cattle in, the friendly meetings with the 
Indians, all charmed her childish fancies. The summer the first 
bridge was built to Goat Island, her uncle caught her in his arms, 
ran across the beams, and set her down, saying : " There, you are 
the first white child that ever set foot on Goat Island." 

In the year 1875. 

284 History of Woman Suffrage. 

When seven years old she was adopted by an aunt, and moved to 
Le Hoy, New York, where she was educated. Her aunt was a 
strict orthodox Presbyterian, a stern, strong Puritan. Her life in 
her new home was sad and solitary, and one of constant restraint. 
In the natural reaction of the human mind, with such early expe- 
riences, we can readily account for Paulina's love of freedom, and 
courage in attacking the wrongs of society. In referring to these 
early years, she said : " I was not a happy child, nor a happy woman, 
until in mature life, I outgrew my early religious faith, and felt free 
to think and act from my own convictions." Having joined the 
church in extreme youth,, and being morbidly conscientious, she 
suffered constant torment about her own sins, and those of her neigh- 
bors. She was a religious enthusiast, and in time of revivals was 
one of the bright and shining lights in exhortation and prayer. 

She was roused to thought on woman's position by a discussion in 
the church as to whether women should be permitted to speak and 
pray in promiscuous assemblies. Some of the deacons protested 
against a practice, in ordinary times, that might be tolerated during 
seasons of revival. But those who had discovered their gifts in 
times of excitement were not so easily remanded to silence; and 
thus the Church was distracted then as now with the troublesome 
question of woman's rights. Sometimes a liberal pastor would ac- 
cord a latitude denied by the elders and deacons, and sometimes one 
church would be more liberal than others in the same neighborhood, 
or synod ; hence individuals and congregations were continually 
persecuted and arraigned for violation of church discipline and God's 
law, according to man's narrow 'interpretation. " Thus," she says, 
" my mind was confused and uncertain with conflicting emotions 
and opinions in regard to all human relations. And it was many 
years before I understood the philosophy of life, before I learned 
that happiness did not depend on outward conditions, but on the 
harmony within, on the tastes, sentiments, affections, and ambitions 
of the individual soul." 

On leaving school, Paulina had made up her mind to be a mis- 
sionary to the Sandwich Islands, as that was the Mecca in those 
days to which all pious young women desired to go. But after live 
months of ardent courtship, Mr. Francis Wright, a young merchant 
of wealth and position in Utica, New York, persuaded her that there 
were heathen enough in Utica to call out all the religious zeal she 
possessed, to say nothing of himself as the chief of sinners, hence in 
special need of her ministrations. 

So they began life together, worshiped in Bethel church, and de- 

The Jfol Softened by Prayer. 285 

1 themselves to the various reforms that in tum attracted their 
attention. They took an active part in the arrangements for the 
first Anti-Slavery Convention, held in Utica, Oct. 21, 1835, a day 
on which anti-slavery meetings were mobbed and violently dispersed 
in different parts of the country. It was at this meeting that Ger- 
^inith gave in his adhesion to the anti-slavery movement and 
abandoned the idea of the colonization of slaves to Liberia. As the 
mol would not permit a meeting to be held in Utica, Mr. Smith 
invited them to Peterboro, where they adjourned. It was a fearful 
dav for Abolitionists throughout that city, as the mob of roughs was 
backed by its leading men. Mr. "Wright's house was surrounded, 
piazzas and fences torn down and piled up with wood and hay 
i>t it, with the evident intention of burning it down. But 
.al ladies who had come to attend the Convention were staying 
there, and, as was their custom, they had family prayers that night. 
The leaders of the mob peeping through the windows, saw a number 
of women on their knees, and the sight seemed to soften their wrath 
and change their purpose, for they quietly withdrew their forces, 
leaving the women in undisturbed possession of the house. The 
attitude of the Church at this time being strongly pro-slavery, Mr. 
and Mrs. Wright withdrew, as most Abolitionists did, from all 
church organizations, and henceforth their religious zeal was con- 
centrated on the anti-slavery, temperance, and woman's rights re- 
forms. Thus passed twelve years of happiness in mutual improve- 
ment and co-operation in every good work. Having no children, 
they devoted themselves unreservedly to one another. But Mr. 
_L-ht, being a man of great executive ability, was continually 
overworking, taxing his powers of mind and body to the uttermost, 
until his delicate organization gave way and his life prematurely 

Having occupied her leisure hours in the study of anatomy and 
physiology, Mrs. Wright gave a course of lectures to women. As 
early as 1844 she began this public work. She imported from Paris 
the first femme modele that was ever brought to this country. She 
tells many amusing anecdotes of the effect of unveiling this manikin 
in the presence of a class of ladies. Some trembled with fear, the 
delicacy of others was shocked, but their weaknesses were overcome 
as their scientific curiosity was awakened. Many of Mrs. Wright's 
pupils were among the first to enter the colleges, hospitals, and dis- 
secting-rooms, and to become successful practitioners of the healing 

While lecturing in Baltimore, a " Friend," by the name of Anna 

286 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Needles, attended the course. Another " Friend," seeing her fre- 
quently pass, hailed her on one occasion, and said, " Anna, where 
does thee go everyday?" "I goto hear Mrs. Wright lecture." 
" What, Anna, does thee go to hear that Fanny Wright ? " " Oh, 
no! Paulina Wright !" "Ah ! I warn thee, do not go near her, 
she is of the same species." Many women, now supporting them- 
selves in ease, gratefully acknowledge her influence in directing their 
lives to some active pursuits. 

Thus passed the four years of her widowed life, lecturing to 
women through most of the Eastern and Western States. 

In 1849, she was married to the Hon. Thomas Davis, a solid, 
noble man of wealth and position, who has since been a member of 
the Rhode Island Legislature seven years, and served one term in 
Congress. As he is very modest and retiring in his nature, I will 
not enumerate his good qualities of head and heart, lest he should be 
pained at seeing himself in print ; and perhaps " the highest praise 
for a true man is never to be spoken of at all." With several suc- 
cessive summers in Newport and winters in Providence, Mrs. Davis 
gave more time to fashionable society than she ever had at any 
period of her life. 

When her husband was elected to Congress, in 1853, she accom- 
panied him to Washington and made many valuable acquaintances. 
As she had already called the first National Woman Suffrage 
Convention, and started The Una, the first distinctively woman's 
rights journal ever published, and was supposed to be a fair repre- 
sentative of the odious, strong-minded " Bloomer," the ladies at 
their hotel, after some consultation, decided to ignore her, as far 
as possible. But a lady of her fine appearance, attractive manners, 
and general intelligence, whose society was sought by the most cul- 
tivated gentlemen in the house, could not be very long ostracised by 
the ladies. 

What a writer in the British Quarterly for January, says of Mrs. 
John Stuart Mill, applies with equal force to Mrs. Davis. " She 
seems to have been saved from the coarseness and strenuous tone of 
the typical strong-minded woman, although probably some of her 
opinions might shock staid people who are innocent alike of philos- 
ophy and the doctrines of the new era." Though in fact this typi- 
cal strong-minded woman of whom we hear so much in England 
and America, is after all a " myth " ; for the very best specimens of 
womanhood in both countries are those who thoroughly respect 
themselves, and maintain their political, civil, and social rights. 
For nearly three years Mrs. Davis continued The Una, publishing 

A Woman's Congress. 287 

it entirely at her own expense. It took the broadest ground claimed 

v : individual freedom in the State, the Church, and the home ; 
woman's equality and suffrage a natural right. In 1859, she visited 
Knnne for the lirst time, and spent a year traveling in France, 
Italy. Austria, and Germany, giving her leisure hours to picture 

:-ios and the study of ait. She made many valuable friends on 
this trip, regained her health, and returned home to work with re- 

1 zeal for the enfranchisement of woman. 

Having decided to celebrate the second decade of the National 
an Suffrage movement, in New York, Mrs. Davis took charge 
of all the preliminary arrangements, including the foreign corre- 
spondence. She gave a good report at the opening session of the 
Convention, of what had been accomplished in the twenty years, 
and published the proceedings in pamphlet form, at her own ex- 

se. One of Mrs. Davis' favorite ideas was a Woman's Congress 
in Washington, to meet every year, to consider the national ques- 

- demanding popular action ; especially to present them in their 
moral and humanitarian bearings and relations, while our represen- 
tatives discussed them, as men usually do, from the material, finan- 
cial, and statistical points of view. In this way only, said she, "can 
the complete idea on any question ever be realized. All legislation 
must necessarily be fragmentary, so long as one-half the race give 
no thought whatever on the subject." 

In 1871, Mrs. Davis, with her niece and adopted daughter, again 

d Europe, and pursued her studies of art, spending much time 

in 'I ulian's life studio, the only one open to women. She took lessons 

of Carl Marko in Florence. When in Paris she spent hours every 

< 'pyiug in the Louvre and Luxembourg. The walls of her home 

were decorated with many fine copies, and a few of her own crea- 

ITer enthusiasm for both art and reform may seem to some 

igular combination ; but with her view of life, it was a natural 
one. Believing, as she did, in the realization of the ultimate equal- 

>f the human family, and the possibility of the race sometime 

attaining comparative perfection, when all would be well-fed, clothed, 

sheltered, and educated ; humanity in its poverty, ignorance, and 

inity, were to her but the first rude sketch on the canvas, to 

"rfected by the skillful hand of the Great Artist. Hence she 

d with faith and enthusiasm to realize her ideal alike in both 

In Naples she made the acquaintance of Mary Somerville, then 
in her ninetieth year. She found her quite conversant with Amer- 
ican affairs, and she expressed great pleasure in reading Mrs. Davis' 

288 History of Woman Suffrage. 

history of the suffrage movement in this country. There too she 
met Mrs. Merrycoyf, a bright, accomplished woman, a sister of Jose- 
phine Butler, and like her, engaged in English reforms. She had 
many discussions with Mrs. Proby, the wife of the English Consul, 
who thought Mrs. Davis was wasting her efforts for the elevation of 
woman, as she considered it a hopeless case to make women rational 
and self-reliant. However, before they parted, Mrs. Davis inspired 
her with some faith in her own sex. I read a very interesting letter 
from Mrs. Proby acknowledging the benefit derived from her ac- 
quaintance with Mrs. Davis, in giving her new hope for woman. At 
Rome she received the blessing of the Pope, and met Pere Hya- 
cinthe and his charming wife, and attended one of his lectures, but 
the crowd was so great she could not get in, so she went the Sunday 
after to hear the prayers for the Pope and the Church against the 
influence of the dangerous Pere. She says: "It was a most im- 
pressive occasion, the immense crowd, the grand music swelling 
through the arches of that vast cathedral, the responses of the 
ten thousand voices, rolling like the great tidal waves of the 
mighty ocean, were altogether sublime beyond description." At 
Paris she met Mrs. Crawford, wife of the corresponding editor of 
The London Times, a woman of fine conversational powers, and a 
brilliant writer, now the Paris correspondent of The New York 
Tribune. She found her a woman of very liberal opinions. At 
one of her breakfasts she met Martin, the historian, and several 
members of the Assembly. She also visited the Countess Delacoste, 
who sympathized deeply with the republican movement, and had con- 
cealed Clusaret three months in her house. There she met several 
distinguished Russians and Frenchmen. In London she attended 
one of Mrs. Peter Taylor's receptions, where she met Mrs. Marga- 
ret Lucas, sister of John Bright, and other notables. She visited 
Josephine Butler at her home in Liverpool. Friends sent her tick- 
ets of admission to the lady's gallery, in the House of Commons, 
where she heard Jacob Bright make his opening speech on the 
woman's disability bill, and Fawcett, the blind member, also on the 
same bill. And with all these distinguished people, in different 
countries, speaking different languages, she found the same interest 
in the progressive ideas that had gladdened and intensified her own 

On the 29th of May she sailed for America, and reached her home 
in safety, but the disease that had been threatening her for years 
(rheumatic gout) began to develop itself, until in the autumn she was 
confined to her room, and unable at times even to walk. It was 

J//--S. David Death. 289 

thus I found her in a large arm-chair quietly making all her prepa- 
rations for the sunny land, resigned to stay or to go, to accept the 
inevitable, whatever that might be.* As she was an enthusiastic 
spiritualist, the coming journey was not to her an unknown realm, 
but an inviting home where the friends of her earlier days were 
waiting with glad hearts to give her tha heavenly welcome. 

* See Appendix. 


Indiana Missionary Station Gen. Arthur St. Clair Indian surprises Th-; terrible war- 
whoop One hundred women join the army, and are killed fighting bravely Prairie 
schooners Manufactures in the hands of women Admitted to the Union in 1816 
Kobert Dale Owen Woman Suffrage Conventions Wisconsin C. L. Sholes' report. 

THE earliest settlement of Indiana was a missionary one, in 1777, 
though it was not admitted as a Territory until 1800, then including 
the present States of Michigan and Illinois. A number of Indian 
wars took place in this part of the country during the twenty-five 
years between 1780 and 1805. What was known as the Northwest 
Territory was organized in 1789, and General Arthur St. Clair ap- 
pointed Governor, an office he held until 1802. In 1790 a war of 
unusually formidable character broke out among the Indian tribes 
of the Northwest, and in 1791, St. Clair was created General-in- 
Chief of the forces against them. Many of the settlers of this por- 
tion of the country joined his army, among whom were one hundred 
women, who accompanied their husbands in preference to being left 
at home subject to the surprises and tortures of the savages with 
whom the country was at war. In giving command of these forces to 
St. Clair, Washington warned him against unexpected assaults from 
the enemy ; but this general who was of foreign birth, a Scotchman, 
was no match for the cunning of his wily foe, who suddenly fell upon 
Mm, November 4th, near the Miami villages (present site of Terra 
Haute), making great havoc among his forces. 

When the terrible war-whoop was heard, the heroism of these 
hundred women rose equal to the emergency. They did not cling 
helplessly to their husbands the women of those early days were 
made of sterner stuff but with pale, set faces, they joined in the 
defense, and the records say, were most of them killed fighting 
bravely. They died a soldier's death upon the field of battle in de- 
fense of home and country. They died that the prairies of the 
West and the wilderness of the North should at a later period be- 
.come the peaceful homes of untold millions of men and women. 
"They were the true pioneers of the Northwest, the advance-guard 

One Hundred Women in Battle. 291 

of civilization, giving their lives in battle against a terrible enemy, 

in order that safety should dwell at the hearth-stones of those who 

.should settle this garden of the continent at a future period. His- 

rv silent upon their record ; not a name has been preserved ; 

but we do know that they lived, and how they died, and it is but 

fitting that a record of woman's work for freedom should embalm 

their memory in its pages. Many other women defended homes 

mid Children against the savage foe, but their deeds of heroism have 

:i forgotten. 

There is scarcely a portion of the world so far from civilization as 
Indiana was at that day. No railroads spanned the continent, mak- 
ing neighbors of people a thousand miles apart; no steamboat sailed 
upon the Western lakes, nor indeed upon the broad Atlantic ; teleg- 
raphy, with its annihilation of space, was a marvel as yet unborn ; 
even the lucifer match, which should kindle fire in the twinkling of 
ye, lay buried in the dark future. Little was known of these 
-incuts; the Genesee Yalley of New York was considered the 
West, to which people traveled (the Erie Canal was not then 
in existence) in strong, springless wagons, over which large hoops, 
red with white cloth, were securely fastened, thus sheltering the 
inmates from sun and storm. These wagons, afterward known as 
u Prairie Schooners," were for weeks and months the traveling 
homes of many a family of early settlers. 

But even in 1816 Indiana could boast her domestic manufactures, 

for within the State at this time were " two thousand five hundred 

and twelve looms and two thousand seven hundred spinning-wheels, 

of them in private cabins, whose mistresses, by their slow 

. converted the wool which their own hands had often 

sheared, and the flax which their own fingers had pulled, into cloth 

for the family wardrobe."* 

Thus in 1816 the manufactures of Indiana were chiefly in the 

hands, of its women. It is upon the industries of the country that 

a nation thrives. Its manufactures build up its commerce and 

make its wealth. From this source the Government derives the 

revenue which is the life-blood circulating in its veins. Its strength 

its perpetuity alike depend upon its industries, and when we 

upon the work of women through all the years of the Republic, 

remember their patriotic self-devotion and self-sacrifice at every 

important crisis, we are no less amazed at the ingratitude of the 

country for their services in war than at its n on -recognition of their 

"The Relation of Woman to Industry in Indiana," by May Wright Sewall. 

292 History of Woman Suffrage. 

existence as wealth-producers, the elements which build up and sus- 
tain every civilized people. 

Viewing its early record, we are not surprised that Indiana claims 
to have organized the first State Woman's Eights Society, though we 
are somewhat astonished to know that at the time of the first Con- 
vention held in Indianapolis, a husband of position locked his wife 
within the house in order to prevent her presence thereat, although 
doubtless, as men have often done before and since, he deemed it 
not out of the way that he himself should be a listener at a meet- 
ing he considered it contrary to family discipline that his wife should 

December 11, 1816, Indiana was admitted into the Union. Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison, who had been Governor of the Territory, and 
Brigadier-General in the army, with the command of the North- 
west Territory, was afterward President of the United States. He 
encountered the Indians led by Tecumseh at Tippecanoe, on the 
Wabash, and after a terrible battle they fled. This was the origin 
of the song, " Tippecanoe and Tyler too," that was sung with im- 
mense effect by the Whigs all over the country in the presidential 
campaign of 1840, when Harrison and Tyler were the candidates; 
and when women, for the first time, attended political meetings. 

Indiana, though one of the younger States, by her liberal and ra- 
tional legislation on the questions of marriage and divorce, has 
always been the land of freedom for fugitives from the bondage and 
suffering of ill-assorted unions. Many an unhappy wife has found 
a safe asylum on the soil of that State. Her liberality on this ques- 
tion was no doubt partly due to the influence of Robert Owen, who 
early settled at New Harmony, and made the experiment of com- 
munal life ; and later, to his son, the Hon. Robert Dale Owen, who 
was in the Legislature several years, and in the Constitutional Con- 
vention of 1850. The following letter from Mr. Owen gives a few 
facts worth perusing : 

LAKE GEORGE, N. Y., Sept. 20, 1876. 

DEAR Miss ANTHO:NT : I know you will think the reply I am about to 
make to your favor of September 18th unsatisfactory, but it is the best I 
can do. 

1. As regards Prances Wright: All the particulars regarding her and 
her noble but unsuccessful experiment at Nashoba, near Memphis, which 
I thought it important to make public, are contained in an article of 
mine entitled "An Earnest Sowing of Wild Oats," in the Atlantic Monthly 
for July, 1874. 

2. As to Ernestine L. Rose, I think it probable that you know more of 
her than I do. I remember that she was the daughter of a Polish rabbi; 

Robert Dale Owen. 203 

the wife of William Rose, a silversmith; and that she came with her hus- 
band r<> this country at an early day. She was a great admirer and fol- 
: of my father, Robert Owen, and was a skeptic as to any future be- 
: the grave: greatly opposed to Spiritualism. 

my action in the Indiana Legislature : I was a member of that 

during the sessions of 1836-V, and '8, and in 1851, but I have not the 

materials here that would enable me to give particulars. In a general 

I had the State law so altered that a married woman owned and had 

'_rht to manage her own property, both real and personal; and I had 

the law of descents so changed that a widow, instead of dower, which is 

a mere tenancy or life interest, now has, in all cases, an absolute fee in 

one-third of her husband's estate; if only one child, then a half; and if 

no children, I think two-thirds. I also had an additional clause added to 

the divorce law, making two years' habitual drunkenness imperative cause 

for divorce. 

I took no action in regard to suffrage while in the Legislature. In those 
days it would have been utterly unavailing. 

All this is very meagre, which I the more regret, sympathizing as I do 
with the object you have in view. 
Give my kindest regards to my old friend, Mrs. Stanton, and believe me, 

Faithfully your friend, 

Before 1828, Frances Wright had visited Mr. Owen's colony, and 
^ed him in the editorial department of the New Harmony 
Gazette, changed afterward to the Free Enquirer, published in 
York. Such a circle of remarkably intelligent and liberal- 
minded people, all effective speakers and able writers, was not 
without influence in moulding the sentiment of that young com- 
munity. As a glimpse into the domestic life of this remarkable 
family may be interesting to the reader, we give a pleasing sketch 
from the pen of Mr. Owen's daughter. No monument of the whitest 
parian marble could shed such honor on the memory of a venerated 
father and mother as this tribute from an affectionate, appreciative 
child : 



Some fifty years ago a large audience was gathered in one of the 
public- halls of New York listening to a lecture. In the sea of faces 
upturned to him, the speaker read a cold response, the opinions he 
Abounding being exceedingly unpopular, and rarely expressed 
in those days. The theme was the equality of the sexes, the right 
of woman to control person and property in the marriage relation, 
the right to breathe, to think, to act as an untrammeled citizen, the 

294: History of Woman Suffrage. 

co-equal of man. His eyes searched tier after tier, seeking in vain 
for that magnetism of sympathy which is as wine to a man who 
stands before his people pleading with them that he may save them 
from their errors. 

Suddenly his wandering gaze was arrested by a face, a child's 
face, with short, clustering curls, but a strong soul steadied the deep 
eyes, and on the rounded cheek paled and glowed the earnestness of 
a woman's searching thought. His words grew clear and strong as 
he looked into the upturned eyes, as he answered the listening face. 
The speaker was Robert Dale Owen ; the hearer, Mary Robinson. 

That night when she reached her own room, Mary Robinson flung 
off bonnet and shawl with a swift gesture, and, slipping into her ac- 
customed seat, gazed at the steady-glowing background of coals, with 
the blue flames licking in and out like the evil tongues of fire- 
scourged elves. A strong excitement held her in thrall ; she did 
not seem to see her elder sister's wondering looks ; she did not seem 
to hear the great clocks, far and near, chiming out eleven, and then 
twelve, with that deep resonance which sounds in the silence of the 
night like a solemn requiem over lost hours. Presently she became 
aware that her sister was kneeling beside her, with anxious ques- 
tioning look ; she seemed, this elder sister, in her long, white night- 
dress, with pale, straight hair pushed back from the clear-tinted, 
oval face, like a youthful Madonna, and Mary drawing the gentle 
face close to her own with sudden impulse, said : " I have seen the 
man I shall marry, I have seen him to-night ; he is the homeliest 
man I have ever known, but if I ana married at all, he is to be my 

A few months later this prophecy was verified. On the 12th day 
of April, 1832, Robert Dale Owen and Mary Robinson were joined 
in those sacred bonds, which, in every true marriage, can be broken 
only by the shadow hand of Death. The ceremony was simple and 
unique ; it consisted in signing a document written by the bride- 
groom himself, with a Justice of the Peace and the immediate fam- 
ily as witnesses. The following extracts will show the character of 
the compact : 

NEW YORK, Tuesday, April 12, 1832. 

This afternoon I enter into a matrimonial engagement with Mary Jane 
Robinson, a young person whose opinions on all important subjects, 
whose mode of thinking and feeling, coincide more intimately with my 
own than do those of any other individual with whom I am acquainted. 

. . . We have selected the simplest ceremony which the laws of this 
State recognize This ceremony involves not the necessity of inak- 

Protest. L )l .)5. 

remises regarding that over which we have no control, the state of 
human affections in the distant future, nor of repeating forms \vlik-h we 
offensive, inasmuch as they outrage the principles of human liber- 
ty and equality, by conferring rights and imposing duties unequally on 
The ceremony consists of a simply written contract in which 
_ ree to take each other as husband and wife according to the laws of 
-tare of New York, our signatures being attested by those friends 
\vlu> are present. 

of the unjust rights which in virtue of this ceremony an iniquitous 

la \v tacitly gives me over the person and property of another, I can not 

ly, but I can morally divest myself. And I hereby distinctly and 

emphatically declare that I consider myself, and earnestly desire to be 

Mered by others, as utterly divested, now and during the rest of my 

life, of any such rights, the barbarous relics of a feudal, despotic system, 

soon destined, in the onward course of improvement, to be wholly swept 

away; and the existence of which is a tacit insult to the good sense and 

good feeling of this comparatively civilized age. 

I concur in this sentiment, ROBERT DALE OWEN. 


After a wedding tour in Europe, the young couple returning to 
America, settled in New Harmony, Indiana, a small Western vil- 
lage, where their father, Robert Owen, had been making experi- 
ments in Community life. 

It was a strange, new world into which these two young creatures 
entering. The husband had passed his youth in a well-ordered, 
wealthy English household ; the wife had passed the greater part of 
her girlhood in Virginia, among slaves. They were now thrown 
upon the crudities of "Western life, and encountered those daily 
wearing trials which strain the marriage tie to the utmost, even 
though it be based upon principles of justice. But there was a re- 
serve of energy and endurance in this delicately reared pair ; they 
felt themselves to be pioneers in every sense of the word, and the 
animus which sustains many a struggling soul seeking to turn a 

iple into a living reality, sustained these two. 
We of a later civilization can scarcely realize the strain upon 
\voinen in those earlier days. The housekeepers of New Harmony 
obliged to buy their groceries in bulk, and have them shipped 
dow stages from Cincinnati; meat was bought from the sur- 
rounding farmers, a quarter of a beef at a time, to be cut up and dis- 
i of by the housewife ; vegetables and most of the small fruits 
nml.l not be bought at all; stoves were an unknown luxury, all 

.ing being done in huge fire-places or brick ovens. 
For thirty years my father and mother labored with unabated en- 

296 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ergy ; his work leading him into the highways of public affairs, 
while her way lay through the by-paths of home and village life. 

Through these thirty years my father used such influence as he 
had on the side of the weak and oppressed. In the matter of pro- 
curing a more respectful consideration of the property rights of 
women, he was a pioneer. To attempt a detailed statement of the 
amelioration of those legal hardships under which women labored, is 
beyond the scope or purpose of this article. I will only mention, in 
brief, the more important provisions he was instrumental in passing 
in the face of ridicule and violent opposition. These amendments 
were : The abolition of simple dower, giving to widows instead, a 
fee simple interest ; procuring for women the right to their own 
earnings ; abolishing tenancy by courtesy, which, in effect, made 
the husband the beneficiary of the wife's lands, and in several mat- 
ters of less radical change rectifying, so far as he could, the injus- 
tice of the common law toward widows; always keeping in view, 
however, the proper heirship of children of a former marriage, and 
guarding the rights of creditors. 

In the matter of the divorce laws of Indiana, my father has not 
taken as prominent a part as is generally supposed. These laws 
were referred to him in conjunction with another member of the 
Legislature for the revision, and they amended them in a single 
point, namely : by adding to the causes for divorce " habitual drunk- 
enness for two years." My father has expressed himself in full on 
this point in a discussion between Horace Greeley and himself, first 
published in the New York Tribune. 

As early as 1828, my father advocated an equal position for 
woman, publishing these views through The Free Enquirer, a 
weekly paper edited by Frances Wright and himself in New York. 

My father's political life comprised several terms in the Legislature 
of his own State, being elected in 1850 a member of the Convention 
which amended the Constitution of Indiana, and chairman of it? 
Revision Committee. * The debates in this Convention show the dif- 
ference in the position of my father and his antagonists. 


Mr. OWEN: No subject of greater importance has come up since \ve 
met here, as next in estimation to the right of enjoying life and liberty, 
our Constitution enumerates the right of acquiring, possessing, protect- 
ing property. And these sections refer to the latter right, heretofore de- 
clared to be natural, inherent, inalienable, yet virtually withheld from 
one-half the citizens of our State. Women are not represented in our 
legislative halls ; they have no voice in selecting those who make laws 

Injustice to Widows. 297 

ami constitutions for them; and one reason given for excluding women 
In un the right of suffrage, is an expression of confident belief that their 
h 11. -hands and fathers will surely guard their interests. I should like, for 
the honor of my sex, to believe that the legal rights of women are, at all 
Times, as zealously guarded as they would be if women had votes to give 
to those who watch over their interests. 

Suffer me, sir, in defense of my skepticism on this point, to lay before 
you and this Convention, an item from my legislative recollection. 

It will be thirteen years next winter, since I reported from a seat just 
over the way, a change in the then existing law of descent. At that time 
the widow of an intestate dying without children, was entitled, under 
ordinary circumstances, to dower in her husband's real estate, and one- 
third of his personal property. The change proposed was to give her 
one-third of the real estate of her husband absolutely, and two-thirds of 
his personal property far too little, indeed; but yet as great an innova- 
tion as we thought we could carry. This law remained in force until 
1S41. How stands it now? The widow of an intestate, in case there be 
no children, and in case there be father, or mother, or brother, or sister 
of the husband, is heir to no part whatever of her deceased husband's real 
: she is entitled to dower only, of one-third of his estate. I ask you 
whether your hearts do not revolt at the idea, that when the husband is 
carried to his long home, his widow shall see snatched from her, by an in- 
human law, the very property her watchful care had mainly contributed 
to increase and keep together? 

Yet this idea, revolting as it is, is carried out in all its unmitigated 
rigor, by the statute to which I have just referred. Out of a yearly rental 
of a hundred and fifty dollars, the widow of an intestate rarely becomes 
entitled to more than fifty. The other hundred dollars goes whither? 
To the husband's father or mother? Yes, if they survive! But if they 
are dead, what then? A brother-in-law or a sister-in-law takes it, or the 
husband's uncle, or his aunt, or his cousin! Do husbands toil through 
a life-time to support their aunts, and uncles, and cousins? If but a 
f ingle cousin's child, a babe of six months, survive, to that infant goes a 
hundred dollars of the rental, and to the widow fifty. Can injustice go 
beyond this? What think you of a law like that, on the statute book of 
n civilized and a Christian land.? When the husband's sustaining arm is 
laid in the grave, and the widow left without a husband to cherish, then 
comes the law more cruel than death, and decrees that poverty shall be 
added to desolation ! 

v, delegates of the people of Indiana, answer and say whether you, 
whether those who sent you here are guiltless in this thing? Have you 
done justice ? Have you loved mercy? 

Hut let us turn to the question more immediately before us. Let us 
from the case of the widow and look to that of the wife : First, the 
husband becomes entitled, from the instant of marriage, to all the goods 
and chattels of his wife. His right is absolute, unconditional. Second- 
ly, the husband acquires, in virtue of the marriage, the rents and prof- 
iu all cases during her life) of his wife's real estate. The flagrant in- 
justice of this has been somewhat modified by a statute barring the 

298 History of Woman Suffrage. 

marital right to the rent of lands, but this protection does not extend to 
personal property. Is this as it should be ? Are we meting out fair and 
equal justice? .... There is a species of very silly sentimentalism which 
it is the fashion to put forth in after-dinner toasts and other equally 
veracious forms, about woman being the only tyrant in a free republic; 
about the chains she imposes on her willing slaves, etc.; it would be 
much more to our credit, if we would administer a little less flattery and 
a little more justice. 

From pages upon pages of eloquence delivered in reply, I cull 
the following extracts, which are a sample of the spirit of the oppo- 
sition : 

' ' I am of opinion that to adopt the proposition of the gentleman frour 
Posey (Mr. Owen), will not ameliorate the condition of married women. 1 ' 

" I can not see the propriety of establishing for women a distinct and 
separate interest, the consideration of which would, of necessity, with- 
draw their attention from that sacred duty which nature has, in its 
wisdom, assigned to their peculiar care. I think the law which unites 
in one common bond the pecuniary interests of husband and wife should 
remain. The sacred ordinance of marriage, and the relations growing 
out of it, should not be disturbed. The common law does seem to me 
to afford sufficient protection." 

"If the law is changed, I believe that a most essential injury would 
result to the endearing relations of married life. Controversies would 
arise, husbands and wives would become armed against each other, to 
the utter destruction of true felicity in married life." 

" To adopt it would be to throw a whole population morally and polit- 
ically into confusion. Is it necessary to explode a volcano under the 
foundation of the family union ? " 

"I object to the gentleman's proposition, because it is in contraven- 
tion of one of the great fundamental principles of the Christian re- 
ligion. The common law only embodies the divine law." 

"Give to the wife a separate interest in law, and all those high 
motives to restrain the husband from wrong-doing will be, in a great de- 
gree, removed." 

" I firmly believe that it would diminish, if it did not totally annihi- 
late woman's influence." 

"Woman's power comes through a self-sacrificing spirit, ready to offer 
up all her hopes upon the shrine of her husband's wishes." 

"Sir, we have got along for eighteen hundred years, and shall we 
change now ? Our fathers have for many generations maintained the 
principle of the common law in this regard, for some good and weighty 

"The immortal Jefferson, writing in reference to the then state of 
society in France, and the debauched condition thereof, attributes the 
whole to the effects of the civil law then in force in France, permitting 
the wife to hold, acquire, and own property, separate and distinct from 
the husband." 

Opinions of Indiana Lt<jidators. 299 

The females of this State are about as happy and contented with 
their present position in relation to this right (suffrage), as it is neces- 
-ary they should be, and I do not favor the proposition (of Woman's 
Suffrage), which my friend from Posey, Mr. Owen, appears to counte- 

It is not because I love justice less, but woman more, that 1 oppose 
this section." 

" This doctrine of separate estate will stifle all the finer feelings, blast 

the .brightest, fairest, happiest hopes of the human family, and go in 

direct contravention of that law which bears the everlasting impress of 

the Almighty Hand. Sir, 1 consider such a scheme not only as wild, but 

icked, if not in its intentions, at least in its results." 

It is incredible that men in their sane minds should argue day 
after day, that if women were allowed to control their own prop- 
erty, it would " strikfe at the root of Christianity," " ruin the 
home," and " open wide the door to license and debauchery." And 
yet these men did so argue through weeks of stormy debate ; the 
bitterest feeling being shown, not with regard to the proposed 
change in the law of descent, but with regard to the right of women 
to " acquire and possess property to their sole use and disposal," 
during the husband's life-time. It is strange, indeed, that the man 
who advocated this " most meagre justice," as he truly says, should 
have been a target, not only for ridicule, but for abuse. I append 
one extract of the latter description, to illustrate how violent and 
unreasoning was the prejudice with which my father contended. 
One gentleman after quoting from the marriage contract of my 
father and mother, the extract in which he, my father, divests him- 
self of the right to control the " person and property of another," 
proceeds as follows : 

Sir, I would that my principles on this, in contradistinction with those of 
the gentlemen from Posey, were written in characters of light across the noon- 
day heavens, that all the world might read them. (Applause). I have in my 
drawer numerous other extracts from the writings of the gentleman from Posey, 
but am not allowed to read them ; and, indeed, sir, under the circumstances, 
decency forbids their use. But if I were permitted to read them, and show 
their worse than damning influence upon society, in conjunction with this sys- 
>f separate interests, I venture to aver that gentlemen would turn from 
them with disgust; aye, sir, they would shun them as they would shun man's 
t enemy, and flee from them as from a poisonous reptile. (Page 1161, 
' Debates in Indiana Convention"). 

The section was finally reconsidered and rejected a few days be- 
fore adjournment (p. 2013). But my father, with his characteristic 
perseverance, continued his efforts until they were finally crowned 
with success in the Legislature, after fifteen years of endeavor. 

300 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Most of the arguments used by those delegates, if they can be 
called by so dignified a name, bear a singular resemblance to the ar- 
guments used to-day by the opponents of woman's suffrage. May 
we not then conclude that the fears which have been proved abso- 
lutely groundless in the one case, may be equally so in the other ? 

An enthusiastic public meeting was held in Indianapolis in honor 
of my father by the women of the State, Mrs. Sarah T. Bolton tak- 
ing a prominent part. On this occasion a beautiful silver pitcher 
was presented to him as a token of gratitude for his persevering ef- 
forts in behalf of women. This pitcher still holds a place of honor 
in our family dinirigs on gala days. 

In reply to several slurs in regard to this memorial, my father 
during the debates in the Convention thus retorted : 

Since I have had occasion to allude to the testimonial which it is proposed 
to offer me on behalf of the women of my adopted State, I will say here, that 
regarding it as the greatest compliment if in so grave a connection a word 
often so lightly used may be properly employed the greatest compliment I 
ever received in my life, or ever can receive till I die: it matters little to me 
what may be said of myself in that connection ; I am accustomed to personal 
attack, and am proof against ridicule. But if any man, whether he disgrace a 
chair on this floor, or dishonor by his presence some of the bar-rooms of the 
city, utter an insinuation, cast a reproach, directly or indirectly, by open asser- 
tion, or covert insinuation, against the motives or the character of those courag- 
eous worne'n who may have met in Lawrenceburg or elsewhere, to consult regard- 
ing rights shamefully denied to them, or those who may have publicly expressed 
gratitude to the defenders of these rights if such a man there be, within or 
without the walls of this capitol, I say here of such a one, let him receive it as 
he will, that I would give my hand more freely to the inmate of the penitentiary 
than to him. (Page 1185, "Debates in Indiana Convention "). 

In 1843 and 1845 my father was elected to Congress, serving 
until 1847. In 1853 he was appointed Minister to Naples, remain- 
ing there until 1858. During the war his exertions were unremit- 
ting. He was the friend of Governor Morton, and was consulted 
by that energetic statesman in all his more important plans. He 
wrote several letters on the political crises of the time, which had a 
wide circulation and influence. Mr. Lincoln said to several of his 
friends, that a letter addressed to him by Mr. Owen, and a conver- 
sation consequent thereon, had done more toward deciding him in 
favor of the Emancipation Proclamation, than any other influence 
which had been brought to bear. My father also made strenuous 
efforts during the winter of 1865-'66 to postpone the enfranchisement 
of the freedmen ten years, until 1876. (See Atlantic Monthly, June, 
1875). Subsequent events have shown his judgment to have been 

Pleasant Anticipations. 301 

correct and far-sighted. He believed the conferring of suffrage 
upon the negro, diin-visioned in the sudden light of a new liberty, 
to be a most dangerous experiment ; he foresaw that the ballot 
which the North gave to them as a protection against their arro- 
gant masters, would prove a two-edged sword with a terrible reac- 
tionary force in the hands of an untrained race just freed from 
mental leading-strings ; he knew the difficulty to be inherent, a 
difficulty which the existence of slavery must necessarily have pro- 
duced. He maintained that although the sword had struck off the 
outward chains, the white-heat of ire kindled in the hearts of the 
conquered had not fused the inward shackles of the slave, but had 
riveted them the firmer, and that the invisible fetters welded by 
revengeful hate should be broken most carefully. 

In the latter years of his life my father gave his entire attention 
to the study of Modern Spiritualism, or rather to the study of Spir- 
itualism in both its ancient and its modern phases. He published 
two works on this subject, " Footfalls on the Boundary of Another 
AVorld," and " The Debatable Land between this World and the 
Xext.' ? In a letter written shortly before his death, he expresses 
himself as follows : " I hope, my child, that you will never, at any 
period of your life, be less happy than you now are. If you culti- 
vate your spiritual nature rationally, I feel assured you never will. 
For one effect of rational Spiritualism is to make one more satisfied 
the longer one lives, and to make the last scenes of life, hours of 
pleasant anticipation, instead of a season of dread, or, as with many 
it has been, of horror." It would be well for non-investigators who 
maintain that my fathers belief in Spiritualism necessarily proves 
him to have been illogical, to see to it that they are not falling into 
the inconsequence which they are ascribing to him. Reasoning 
a priori, should we not believe that the man who saw so clearly the 
dangers which were unperceived by some of our keenest statesmen, 
r-ould not become, except in a rare instance and for a short time, a 
misled dupe? Has any one the right to condemn such a man un- 
proved ? 

AVhile my father was exerting his energies for the welfare of the 
nation, my mother was giving her life to her children. Sons and 
daughters were welcomed into the Owen homestead, and the wide 
halls and great rooms of the rambling country house rang with the 
voices of children. Three of these little ones slipped back to 
Heaven before the portals had closed. The stricken parents with 
blinded eyes met only the rayless emptiness of unbelief. May God 
help the mother, fainting beneath a bereavement greater than she 

302 History of Woman 'su 

can bear, who cries for help and finds none ; who stretches her 
empty arms upward in an agony of appeal and is answered by the 
hollow echo of her own cry ; may God help her, for she is beyond 
the help of man. Other children came to fill the vacant places, 
other voices filled the air, but the hearts of father and mother were 
not filled until years later, when a sweet faith thrilled the hopeless 

The story of these two is the story of many beside. Husband 
and wife began the long journey side by side with equal talent, 
hope, energy ; his work led him along the high-road, hers lay in a 
quiet nook ; his name became world-known, hers was scarcely heard 
beyond the precinct of her own village ; and yet who can say that 
his life was the more successful, who can say that the quiet falling 
rain, with its slow resultant of flower and fruit in each little garden 
nook, is less important than the mighty ship-laden river bearing its 
wealth of commerce in triumph to the sea ? 

George Eliot, in " Middlemarch," says of Dorothea : 

Her finely-touched spirit had its fine issues, though they were not widely 

visible The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably 

diffusive ; for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric 
acts ; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, 
is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in 
unvisited tombs. 

This is true of many Dorotheas ; it is true of the Dorothea of whom 
I am writing. Geographically, Mary Owen's field of labor was nar- 
row ; but a small Western village of a thousand souls may hold 
within its ethical strata all the developments of a continent. Let 
her who feels that her small limits imprison her, remember that 
emotions are not registered by the census. Lovers and business 
men, struggling youths and perplexed mothers, children arid vete- 
rans, poured their griefs and fears, their hopes and disappointments, 
into the listening ear of sympathy, knowing that the clear judgment 
of this little woman could unravel much that seemed to be in hope- 
less entanglement. 

Well do I remember the cheer of this our home. Simple were 
its duties, simple indeed its pleasures. Well do I remember the 
busy troop of boys and girls, with the busy mother at their head, 
directing their exuberant energy with a rare administrative ability. 
Besides her own children, four of whom reached maturity, she took 
during her life seven other young people under her protection, so 
that the great old-fashioned house was always filled to overflowing 
with fresh young life. Pasture and stable, hennery and dairy, yard 

Uu'l-i- tl T? 303 

and garden, kitchen and parlor, all were under hei immediate guid- 
1 control. Well do I remember the pots of fc ~lden butter, 

i from her cool hand ; the delicious hams cured undei >er super- 
n : the succulent vegetables and juicy fruits fresh from her 

ion that trim, symmetrical garden, with its well- weeded beds, 

rell-kept walks ! Many a bright summer morning have I seen 
her resting on a low bench beneath a huge overhanging elm, over- 
looking the field of our labors. To a stranger the flushed face with 
its irregular features, might have seemed plain ; the earnest, ener- 
manner might have seemed almost abrupt ; but to the children 
who sat on the grass at her feet looking upward, the face was beau- 
tiful. That calm eye had pierced through so many childish intrica- 
cies and made them clear ; the firm mouth could smile so gently at 
any youthful shortcoming, and the strong voice rang with a hope 
which sent fear and doubt skulking away in shamefaced silence. 
It was the brightest part of the day, this short respite, before moth- 
er, marshalling her young army, led them to the study-room. This 
impromptu lesson-hour was filled with a teaching so trenchant, that 
oftentimes, in these lonelier days, when perplexed in the intricacies 
of life's journeyings, a word spoken in some long ago summer morn- 
ing, floats down the years and rises before my troubled vision a 
guiding star. 

When her children were grown, and the task she had undertaken 
years before had been well done, our mother turned her attention 
for a time to public work. She gave much thought to the Woman 
Question, especially that portion of it pertaining to woman's work, 
and addressed one or two meetings in New York on this subject. 
Anthony recently said to me : " Miss Owen, you do not know 
how great an impression your mother made upon us a woman who 
had lived nearly her whole life in a small Western village, absorbed 
in petty cares, and yet who could stand before us* with a calm 
-dignity, telling us searching truths in simple and strong words." 
The only lecture I heard my mother deliver was- in the church of 
our village. Her subject was the rearing of children. A calm light 

<1 on her silver hair and broad brow ; her manner was the earnest 
manner of a woman who has looked into the heart of life. Blessed 
is the daughter to whom it is given to reverence a mother as I rev- 
erenced mine that night. A quiet, but deep attention was given to 
her words, for the fathers and mothers who were listening to her 

* The vast audience of women alone, in Apollo Hall, to discuss the McFarland and 
Hichardson tragedy. 

304 History of Woman Suffrage. 

knew that she was speaking on a subject to which she had given 
long years of careful thought and faithf ul endeavor. It would not 
be possible in the space allotted me to give a detailed account of my 
mother's teachings with regard to the rearing of children ; but I will 
state a few of the more prominent theories theories proved by 
practice, which I remember. 

Self-government was the primary principle, the broad foundation. 
She held this qualification to be the only guarantee of success in the 
broadest sense of the word, and that to be effectual and never-failing 
it must be interwoven into the very fiber of the child. During the 
earliest years our mother administered punishment, or rather she 
invented some means by which the child should be made to feel 
the result of its bad conduct. Injuring another was held to be a 
cardinal sin. For this misdeed our hands were tied behind us for an 
interminable length of. time ; for running away we were tied to the 
bed-post ; for eating at irregular hours we were deprived of dainties 
at the next meal, etc. But as soon as we reached the age of reason, 
she exerted, not a controlling, but a guiding hand. We were 
restricted by few rules, for our mother believed in the largest pos- 
sible liberty, and she held that it was better to pass over the smaller 
shortcomings unnoticed, than constantly to be finding fault. She 
maintained that scolding should be indulged in most sparingly, as 
much of it was detrimental both to the temper of the child and the 
dignity of the mother. She believed that too little allowance was 
made for the heedlessness growing out of pure exuberance of spirits. 
But when a law was once established it was unalterable, and no 
child ever thought of resisting it. For instance, no one, large or 
small, was allowed to exhibit a peevish ill-nature, either by word or 
manner, in the public rooms of the house. My mother merely said, 
in a quiet tone : " My child, you are either tired or sick ; in either 
case, it would be better to go to your own room and lie down until 
you are quite restored." The result of this simple rule was an 
almost uniform cheerfulness. I have lived in many homes, in many 
parts of the world, but I have never seen one which equaled my 
mother's in this respect. I do not remember a single command 
issued by my mother to her older children ; but I can well remem- 
ber her saying: "I think you had better do so and so"; and I 
recollect distinctly that when we obstinately followed our own 
unreasoning will, as we were often inclined to do, we were invari- 
ably taught a bitter but wholesome lesson. She believed these les- 
sons to be much more effectual for good than any arbitrary prohi- 
bition on her part would have been ; she reserved such prohibition 

The Sun Shines. ;-5u5 

for the cases where the consequences were not confined to ourselves, 
or were of too serious a nature. 

The one mistake made by my mother was in the physical manage- 
ment of her children. Like many mothers whose bodies and minds 
are kept at the highest tension, she failed to give vital strength to 
her children. The most promising of these died in early child- 
1, " by the will of God," as we say in our blindness. One of 
them especially, the "little king," as he was called, being a magnifi- 
child, both in mental and moral development. Of those who 
came to maturity, one died at the age of twenty-seven, one has been 
an invalid for years, one has fair health, and one only rejoices in a 
rous physique. This boy was born in my grandmother's house, 
near the sea, where my mother had spent, as she expressed it, " the 
laziest year of her whole life." These children have all had a keen 
love of study, an energy which carried them far beyond their 
strength, and she failed sufficiently to curb them. But in other 
respects, our mother has done to the uttermost. Her children had 
strong propensities both for good and ill. She has, so far as is pos- 
sible, strengthened the virtues and repressed the faults of every 
child given into her keeping. 

" The sun shines," is a sentence simple and short, but how infinite 
is its meaning ; myriads of unfolding blossoms flash U back in vivid 
coloring ; myriads of stalwart trees whisper it ; myriads of breath- 
ing things revel in it ; myriads of men thank God for it. So is it 
with the influence of a good mother. It is .not given us to follow 
each tiny shaft of light in its endless searchings, neither do we note 
how the riot of the waste places within us is pruned by deft hands 
into a tenuous symmetry, nor how, in the midst of this life's growth, 
is laid the foundation of the kingdom of Heaven, by the silent ma- 
sonry of a mother's constant endeavor. 

Mothers, all over this broad land, heavy-laden with the puerile 
details of daily living, fling oif your shrouding cares, and lift your 
worn faces that you may see with a broad outlook how full-fruited 
is the vineyard in which you are toiling ; the thorns are irritating ; 
the glebe is rough ; your spirit faints in the heat of the toilsome 
lay. Look up ! the lengthening shadows are falling like dew upon 
you ! tired hearts, look up ! purple-red hangs the clustering fruit of 
your life-long work ; the vintage has come, the freest from blight 
that can ever come the vintage of a faithful mother ! 

The name of Mary Owen was not written upon the brains of men, 
but it is graven upon the hearts of these her children ; so long as they 
live, the blessed memory of that home shall abide with them, a 

306 History of Woman Suffrage. 

home wherein all that was sweet, and strong, and true, was nur- 
tured by a wise hand, was sunned into blossoming by a loving heart. 
A benediction rests upon the brow of him who has given his best 
work to help this world onward, even though it be but a hair's- 
breadth ; but the mother who has given herself to her children 
through long years of an unwritten self-abnegation, who has thrilled 
every fiber of their beings with faith in God and hope in man, a 
faith and a hope which no canker-worm of worldly experience can 
ever eat away, she shall be crowned with a sainted halo. 


At an anti-slavery meeting held in Greensboro, Henry Co., in 
1851, a resolution was offered by Amanda M. Way, then an active 
agent in the " Underground Railroad," as follows : 

WHEREAS, The women of our land are being oppressed and degraded by the 
laws and customs of our country, and are in but little better condition than 
chattel slaves ; therefore, 

Resolved, That we call a Woman's Rights Convention, and that a committee 
be now appointed to make the necessary arrangements. 

The resolution was adopted. Amanda M. Way, Joel Davis, and 
Fanny Hiatt were appointed. 

The Convention met in October, 1851, in Dublin, Wayne Co., 
and organized by electing Hannah Hiatt, President ; Amanda Way, 
Vice-President ; and Henry Hiatt, Secretary. Miss Way made the 
opening address, and stated the object of the Convention to be a full, 
free, and candid discussion of the legal and social position of women. 
The meetings continued two days. Henry C. Wright addressed 
large audiences at the evening sessions. A letter was received from 
Mary F. Thomas, of North Manchester, urging all those who be- 
lieve in woman's rights to be firm and outspoken. She encouraged 
young ladies to enter the trades and professions, to fit themselves in 
some way for pecuniary independence, and adds, " Although a wife, 
mother, and housekeeper, with all that that means, I am studying 
medicine, and expect to practice, if I live." 

Such a Convention being a novel affair, called out some ridicule 
and opposition, but the friends were so well pleased with their suc- 
cess, that a committee was appointed to arrange for another the 
next year, which was held in Richmond, Oct. 15 and 16, 1852. A 
few of the resolutions* will show the spirit of the leaders at that 

* Sea Appendix. 

The First Con cent ion* In Indiana. 307 

time. A "Woman's Rights Society was formed at this Convention, 
a Constitution and By-laws adopted, and it became one of the per- 
manent organizations of the State. Hannah ILiatt, President ; Jane 
Morrow, Vice-President ; Mary B. Birdsall, Secretary; Amanda 
Way, Treasurer. 

Another Convention was held at Richmond October 12, 1853. 
The President being absent, Lydia W. Vandeburg presided with 
dignity and ability. Frances D. Gage, Josephine S. Griffing, Emma 
R. Coe, and Lydia Ann Jenkins were among the prominent speakers. 
Having heard that Antoinette Brown had been denied admission 
delegate to the " World's Temperance Convention," held in 
York, on account of her sex, they passed a resolution condemn- 
ing this insult offered to all womankind. Thirty-two persons* 
signed the Constitution in the first Convention, and the movement 
spread rapidly in the Hoosier State. 

The fourth annual meeting convened in Masonic Hall, Indianapo- 
1 >ctober 26, 1854. Frances D. Gage, Caroline M. Severance, 
and L. A. Hine were the invited speakers, and right well did they 
sustain the banner of equal rights in the capital of the State. J. W. 
Gordon, then a young and promising lawyer, and since one of the 
leading men of the State, avowed himself in favor of woman suf- 
frage, and added much to the success of the Convention. The pres*, 
-ual, ridiculed, burlesqued, and misrepresented the proceedings; 
but the citizens manifested a serious interest, and requested that the 
m-xt Convention be held at the capital. 

About this time the "Maine Liquor Law" was passed in this 

e. The women took an active part in the temperance campaign, 

and helped to secure the prohibitory law. Thig made the suffrage 

movement more popular, as was shown in the increased attendance 

at the next Convention in Indianapolis, October 12, 1855, at which 

Emma B. Swank presided. The prominent speakers were James 

and Lucretia Mott, Frances D. Gage, Ernestine L. Rose, Joseph 

Barker, Amanda Way, Henry Hiatt, and J. W. Gordon. With 

such women as these to declare the gospel of equality, and to enforce 

it with their pure faces, womanly graces, and noble lives, the people 

could not fail to give their sympathy, and to be convinced of the 

rightfulness of our cause. The two leading papers again did their 

to make the movement ridiculous. The reporters gave glowing 

sketches of the " masculine women " and " feminine men " ; they 

ribed the dress and appearance of the women very minutely 

* See Appendix. 

308 History of Woman Suffrage. 

but said little of the merits of the question, or the arguments of the 
speakers. Amanda Way was chosen President of the Society ; Dr. 
Mary Thomas, Vice-President ; Mary B. Birdsall, Secretary ; Ahbe 
Lindley, Treasurer. 

The next annual meeting was held in Winchester, October 16 and 
17, 1856. In her introductory remarks, the President referred to 
the great change that had taken place in five years. Women were 
now often seen on the platform making speeches on many questions, 
behind the counters as clerks, in the sick-room as physicians. The 
temperance organization of Good Templars, now spreading rapidly 
over the State, makes no distinction in its members ; women as well 
as men serve on committees, hold office, and vote on all business 
matters. Emma B. Swank and Sarah E. Underbill were the princi- 
pal speakers at this Convention. For logical argument and beauty 
of style, Miss Swank was said to have few equals. Dr. Mary Thomas 
was chosen President for the next year. 

The annual meeting of 185T was again held in Winchester, by an 
invitation from the citizens, and the Methodist Episcopal Church 
was tendered for their use. On taking the chair, the President, Dr. 
Mary F. Thomas, said : 

This is the first time I have had the pleasure of meeting with this Associa- 
tion, still my heart, my influence, and my prayers have all been with the advo- 
cates of this cause. Although I have not enjoyed the privilege of attending 
the annual meetings, owing to my many cares, I have not been an idler in the 
vineyard. By my example, as well as my words, I have tried to teach women 
to be more self-reliant, and to prepare themselves for larger and more varied 
spheres of activity. 

Frances D. Grage, who was always a favorite speaker in Indiana, 
was again present, and scattered seeds of truth that have produced 
abundant fruit. On motion of Amanda Way, who said she believed 
it was time for us to begin to knock at the doors of the Legislature, 
a committee of three was appointed to prepare a form of petition to 
be circulated and presented to the next Legislature. 

In 1858 the Convention again met in Richmond, Sarah Under hill, 
President. Adeline T. Swift and Anne D. Cridge, of Ohio, both 
excellent speakers, were present. The committee appointed to draft 
a form of petition, reported the following : 
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Indiana: 

The undersigned, residents of the State of Indiana, respectfully ask you to 
grant to women the same rights in property that are enjoyed by men. We also 
ask you to take the necessary steps to amend the Constitution so as to extend 
to woman the right of suffrage. 

/ \ t it / ms 1 V< 8( n fed to the Legislature. 309 

Sarah Underbill, Emma Swank, Mary Birdsall, Agnes Cook, Dr. 

Marv K. Thomas, and Amanda Way were appointed to present said 

petition to the Legislature. The interest was so great, and the dis- 

ions so animated, for many new speakers from all parts of the 

had risen up, that the Convention continued through three 

i the 19th of January, 1859, the petition was presented to the 
dature by Mary Birdsall, Agnes Cook, and Dr. Mary Thomas. 
An account of the proceedings was given in The Lily, a woman's 
rights paper, published and edited by Dr. Mary Thomas. The oc- 
casion of the presentation of petitions in person by a delegation of 
the Indiana Woman's Rights Association before the assembled 
Houses of the Legislature, drew an immense crowd long before the ap- 
pointed hour. On the arrival of the Committee, they were escorted 
to the Speaker's stand. The President, J. R. Cravens, introduced 
them to their Representatives. 

Mrs. Agnes Cook, in a few brief remarks, invited a serious and 
candid consideration of the intrinsic merits of the petition about to 
be presented, and the arguments of the petitioners. 

Dr. Mary Thomas read the petition signed by over one thousand 
residents of Indiana, and urged the Legislature to pass laws giving 
equal property rights to married women, and to take the necessary 
steps to so amend the Constitution of the State as to secure to all 
women the right of suffrage. She claimed these rights on the 
ground of absolute justice, as well as the highest expediency, point- 
ing out clearly the evils that flow from class legislation. 

Mrs. Birdsall being introduced, read a clear, concise address, occu- 
pying about half an hour. 

The following resolution, offered by Gen. Steele, was unanimously 
adopted : 

Resolved, That the addresses just read be spread upon the Journal, and that 
copies be requested for publication in the city papers. 

After the Senate adjourned, the Speaker called the House to 
order, and on the motion of Mr. Murray, it resolved itself into com- 
mittee of the whole on the memorial just presented. On motion of 
Mr. Hamilton, the petition was made the special order for Friday, 
when it was referred to the Committee on "Rights and Privileges," 
who reported "that legislation on this subject is inexpedient at this 
tiim-, v which report was concurred in by the House. 

The ninth annual meeting was held in Good Templars' Hall, 
Richmond, in October, 1859. It continued but one day, as the time 

310 History of Woman Suffrage. 

was fully occupied in business plans for future work. Mary B. 
Birdsall was chosen President of the Association. 

The intense excitement of the political campaign of 1860, arid the 
civil war that followed, absorbed every other interest. The women 
who had so zealously worked for their own rights, were just as ready 
to help others. Some hastened to the hospitals ; others labored in 
the sanitary movement. Others did double duty at home, tilling the 
ground and gathering in the harvests, that their fathers, husbands, 
brothers, and sons might go forth to fight the battles of freedom. 
No conventions were held for ten years ; but public sentiment had 
taken a long stride during those years of conflict, and when the 
pioneers of this reform, who had been accustomed to opposition and 
misrepresentation, again began the work, they were astonished to 
find themselves in a comparatively popular current. 

We find the following letters from Henry C. Wright and Esther 
Ann Lukens, in The Liberator : 

DUBLIN, WAYNE Co., Indiana, Oct. 14, 1851. 

DEAR GARRISON: I ani in a Woman's Rights Convention, the first ever 
held in this State, called by the women of Indiana to consider the true position 
of woman. An excellent but short address was made by the President, Han- 
nah Hiatt, on the importance of the movement and the ruinous consequences 
of dividing the interests of men and women, and making their relations an- 
tagonistic in the State, the Church, and the affairs of every-day life. Much 
was said against woman's taking part in government. It would degrade her 
to vote and hold office, and destroy her influence as mother, wife, daughter, 
sister. It was .n answer that if voting and holding office would degrade wom- 
en, they would degrade men also ; whatever is injurious to the moral nature, 
delicacy, and refinement of woman is equally so to man. Moral obligations rest 
equally on both sexes. Man should be as refined and chaste as woman if we 
would make our social life pure. Women may as well say to men, " Keep 
away from the ballot-box and from office, for it degrades you and unfits you to 
be our companions," as for man to say so to women. Dr. Curtis, a Methodist 
class-leader, said the Bible had placed the final appeal in all disputes in man ; 
that if woman refused obedience, God gave man the right to use force. This 
" Christian teacher " was the only person in the Convention who appealed to the 
spirit of rowdyism, whose language was unbecoming the subject and the occa- 
sion. He was the only one who appealed to the Bibje to justify the subjection 
of woman. And while he awarded to man the r'ght to use force, he said the 
only influence the Bible authorized woman to use was moral suasion. Man is 
to rule woman by violence ; woman must rule man by love, kindness, and long- 
suffering. So says the Bible according to the interpretation of the learned 
Dr. Curtis. The Convention lasted two days. It was a thrilling meeting. 


NEW GARDEN, Ohio, Oct. 2, 1851. 
DEAR FRIENDS : When Goethe was asked if the world would be better if 

Ut<\ Amanda Jf. Way. 311 

olden Age were restored, he answered. "A synod of good women shall 

Could his spirit look down upon us he would see those synods, of which he 

I- prophetically spoke. a<seniMing all over the land, not to restore an age 

mi-barbarism, but to hasten the advent of a new and far more golden era, 

when there will be no dangerous pilgrimage of years' duration to win back the 

Holy Sepulchre, but a far more divine and sacred inheritance shall have been 

t and found ; namely, freedom for woman to exercise every right, capacity, 

and power with which God has endowed her. 

If there are any natural rights, then they belong to all by virtue of our hu- 
manity, and are not graduated by degrees of superiority. If the privilege of 
voting had been limited to those men who were strong in mind and morals, 

mid never have had a Governors signature to " the black laws of Ohio." 
It is perverse and cruel to raise the cry that we make war upon domestic life ; 

that we would destroy its natural order and attraction by allowing woman to 
mingle in the coarse and noisy scenes of political life. Is not the aid of man 
equally important in the family, and would his necessary duties in the home 
conflict with his duties as a citizen and a patriot ? 

Man- can not wrong and oppress woman without jeopardizing his own lib- 
erty. Cramped and crippled as she may be by inexorable law, she avenges 
f. and decides his destiny. So long as woman is outlawed, man pays the 
penalty in ignorance, poverty, and suffering. Our interests are one, we rise or 
fall together. 

era of Indiana, accept my heartfelt sympathy in the work you have under- 
. It is well for the pioneers of a new country to call down God's blessing 
on their labors by an early claim to an equality of rights. 

Yours, for justice to all, ESTHER ANN LUKENS. 

Ha vino- never met the brave women who endured the first shower 
of ridicule in Indiana, we asked to be introduced to them in some 
brief pen-sketches, and in the following manner they present theni- 


may -he truthfully called the mother of ' The Woman Suffrage Association " in 
Indiana organized in 1851, and took an active part in all the Conventions until 

i-ame a resident in Kansas in 1872. Miss Way was always an abolitionist, 
a prohibitionist, and an uncompromising suffragist the great pioneer of a'l 
refiii-ms. It is amusing to hear how many places she has been the first to fill; 
yet -he has done it all in such a quiet way that no one seemed to feel that she 

ver out of place. It was a common remark, " Amanda can do that, but 
is not like other people/ 1 She was the first woman elected Grand Secre- 

f the Indiana Order of Good Templars,'' in 1856 ; the first State lecturer 
and organizer ; the first in the world to be elected Grand Worthy Chief Tem- 
plar ; the first one in her State to be a representative to the national lodge ; the 

lie admitted as a regular representative to the Grand Division, Sons of 

erance, and the first to be a licensed preacher in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. What i> better still, she continues in the work she began, gaining 

r and influence with the experience of years. An editor, speaking of her, 

312 History of Woman Suffrage^ 

said : " There is no woman more widely and favorably known in this State 
than Amanda Way. Her name is a household word, and in the hearts of the 
temperance reformers her memory will ever be sacred." 

In 1859, she was associated with Mrs. Underhill in editing The Ladies' Trib- 
une, and has since been connected with the press much of the time. During 
the Rebellion, her time and thoughts were given to active labors in the hos- 
pitals and the sanitary movement. Many a soldier returned to his home who 
M'ould have died but for her care. In company with Mrs. Swank she presented 
a memorial to the Legislature in 1871, asking the elective franchise for women, 
and made a very effective speech on the occasion. 

Her home-life has been equally active and faithful; a widowed mother and a 
sister's orphaned children, have been her special care, depending on her for 
support. Once, when asked why she never married, she laughingly replied, 
" I never had time." 

She has been a consistent member of the Methodist Church twenty years, and 
ten years ago, unsolicited by herself, she was licensed as a minister by the 
Winchester Quarterly Conference, Rev. Milton Mahin, Presiding 'Elder. In 
her travels over the State she preaches almost every Sunday, being invited to 
fill many pulpits, both in Kansas and this State. 

She is a calm, forcible, earnest speaker, and, though quiet and reserved in 
manner, she is genial and warm in her affections. 

She is now fifty-two years old, and though her life has been a constant battle 
with wrongs, she has not become misanthropic nor despondent. Knowing that 
progress is the law of life, she has full faith that the moral world, though mov- 
ing slowly, is still moving in the right direction. 


Corresponding Secretary of the State Suffrage Association for many years, a 
position for which she was eminently fitted, being gifted as a writer. Having 
had a liberal education, and great enthusiasm in our cause, her labors have 
been valuable and effective. She is a correspondent for several journals and 
periodicals, is very active in " The State Horticultural Society,'' and takes a 
deep interest in all the progressive movements of the day. 


Mrs. Boyd is a lady of fine poetical genius and superior literary attainments. 
She has been an earnest advocate of woman suffrage for many years, and is 
herself a living argument of woman's ability to use the rights she asks. 

In 1871 she read a very able essay on the " Women of the Bible," before 
the State Association of the Christian Church. It was the first time a woman's 
voice had been heard in that religious body. The success of her effort on 
that occasion opened the way for other women. Mrs. Boyd and her husband 
(Dr. S. S. Boyd, who is also a zealous friend of our cause), have both been 
officers of the S'ate W. S. Association for many years, taking an active part in 
all our Conventions. 


Mrs. Clark has been an acceptable lecturer and preacher for many years in 
different parts of the State. She was early a recognized minister among the 

Pioneers in Indiana. 313 

:vir;itional Quakers. More recently she has been ordained in the Univer- 
t'hurch, and enjoys equal rights and honors with the clergymen of that 

.It-nomination. She is a woman of education and culture, and of English 



Mr>. Swank is one of the most pleasing speakers of Indiana. She is a 

graduate of Antioch, and while yet in college she gained quite a reputation 

r lecturing on Astronomy. She spent several years lecturing to classes 

of women on Physiology, Anatomy, and Hygiene. Of late, she has devoted 

if to Woman Suffrage and Temperance. She served as president of the 

^ociety one year before the war and one since, and has always done good 

service to the cause of woman with both pen and tongue. 


Mrs. Underbill was first known in Indiana as the editor and proprietor of 
the Ladies' Tribune at Indianapolis in 1857. She associated with her Amanda 
Way as office editor, that she might devote her entire time to lecturing. 
Thousjli she remained in the State but three years, she was widely and favor- 
ably known as an earnest and effective speaker on Woman Suffrage and Tem- 
perance. When the war began, she was among the first to go to the sick and 
wounded soldiers. A brief account of her work in the hospitals will be found 
in the " Women of the War." 


Miss Morrow was a pioneer in our movement; attended the Second Conven- 
tion in 1852. She was not a speaker, but a practical business woman, owning 
and successfully carrying on a dry-goods store in Richmond for many years. 
By precept and example, she taught the doctrine of woman's independence and 
self-reliance. She was a kind, genial, sunny-hearted woman, who made all 
about her bright and happy, though she was what the world calls an "old 
maid/' In 1867, she died suddenly, without a moment's warning or parting 
word ; but '' Aunt Jane," as she was familiarly called, will long be remembered 
in her native town. 


was secretary of the Convention of 1852, and held that position for three 
years. She purchased The Lily, a Woman's Rights paper, of Amelia Bloomer, 
"., and published it for three years. Her home is in Richmond. 


Mrs. Owen, wife of Robert Dale Owen, was not known to the public until 
after the war. It is said, however, that she suggested and helped prepare the 
amendments to the laws with reference to woman's property rights, that her hus- 
band carried through our Legislature. She had a strong, clear intellect, and 
her lectures were more argumentative and pointed than rhetorical and finished, 
mpathized with and aided her husband in all his reformatory movements, 
iv d a as his equal in mental power. She was one of the vice-presidents of our 
Indiana State Woman Suffrage Association at the time of her death, 1871. 

314 History of Woman Suffrage. 


Mary F. Thomas, M.D., was born October 28. 1816, in Montgomery County, 
Maryland. Her parents, Samuel and Mary Myers, were members of the Society 
of Friends, and resided in their early days in Berks and Chester Counties, in 
Pennsylvania. Her father was the associate of Benjamin Lundy, in organizing 
and attending the first anti-slavery meeting held in Washington, at the risk of 
their lives. 

Desiring to place his family beyond the evil influences of slavery, he moved 
to Columbiana County, Ohio. He purchased a farm there ; his daughters as- 
sisted him in his outdoor labors in the summer, and studied under his instruc- 
tions in the winter. While in Washington he frequently took his daughters to 
the capitol to listen to the debates, which gave them interest in political questions. 
Mary was early roused to the consideration of woman's wrongs by the unequal 
wages paid to teachers of her own sex. In 1845 she was much moved in 
listening to the preaching of Lucretia Mott at a yearly meeting in Salem, 
Ohio, and resolved that her best efforts should be given to secure justice for 

In 1839 she was married to Dr. Owen Thomas. She has three daughters, all 
well educated, self-reliant women. Her youngest daughter, a graduate of Cor- 
nell University, Ithaca, New York, took the Greek prize in the intercollegiate 
contest in 1874. As Mrs. Thomas' husband was a physician, she studied 
medicine with him, and graduated at the Penn Medical College of Philadelphia 
in 1854. She was the first woman to take her place in the State Medical Asso- 
ciation as a regularly admitted delegate. She is a member of the Wayne County 
Medical Association ; has been physician for " The Home for Friendless Wom- 
en " in the city of Richmond for nine years, and has filled the office of City 
Physician by the appointment of the Commissioners for several years. 

Though deeply interested in the woman suffrage reform, owing to her domes- 
tic cares and medical studies she could not attend any public meetings until 
1857; since that time she has been one of the most responsible standard- 
bearers, and for several years President of the State Association. 

Mrs. Thomas was always a conscientious abolitionist; the poor fugitive from 
bondage did not knock at her door in vain. The temperance reform, too, has 
had her warm sympathy and the benefit of her pure example. She is a member 
of the Grand Lodge of Good Templars, and has held important offices in that 
Order, having been a faithful disciple in spreading the gospel of temperance 
over forty years, always a member of some organization. 

During the war of the rebellion she gave herself in every way that was open 
to woman to the loyal service of her country. As assistant physician in 
hospitals, looking after the sick and wounded, and in sanitary work at 
home, she manifested as much patriotism as any man did on the battle-field. 
After her long experience, she comes to the conclusion, that with the ballot in 
her own hand, with the power to coin her will into law, a woman might do a 
far more effective work in preventing human misery and crime, than she ever 
can accomplish by indirect influence, in merely mitigating the evils man per- 
petuates by law. 

of Wu,n,-/ t in \Y't<'<>n*ui. 315 

<Frnm the Liberator qf If ay, 1856). 

Minority Report of ('. L. Sholes, from the "Committee on Expiration and Re- 
iiu'iit of Laws," to whom were referred sundry petitions, praying that 
- may be taken to confer upon women the right of suffrage in 

The minority of the Committee on Expiration and Re-enactment of Laws, 
beg leave to report : 

The theory of our government, proclaimed some eighty years since, these pe- 
titioners ask may be reduced to practice. The undersigned is aware that the 
opinion has been announced from a high place and high source, that this theory 
is. in the instrument which contains it, a mere rhetorical flourish, admirable to 
fill a sentence and round a period, but otherwise useless and meaningless ; that 
>o far from all mankind being born free and equal, it is those only who have 
rights that are entitled to them ; those yet out of the pale of that fortunate con- 
dition being intended by Providence always to be and remain there. But not- 
withstanding ihig opinion has the weight of high authority, and notwithstand- 
ing the practice of the American people has thus far been in strict accordance 
\\ith such opinion, the undersigned believes the theory proclaimed is not sim- 
plv a rhetorical flourish, nor meaningless, but that it means just what it savs ; that 
it is true, and being true, is susceptible of an application as broad as the truth 

All humankind, says the theory, are endowed by their Creator with cer- 
tain inalienable rights. Other governments proclaim the divine right of kings, 
and assume that man is the mere creature of the government, deriving all his 
rights from its concessions, and forever subject to all its impositions, while this 
government (or at least its theory) elevates all men to an equality with kings, 
brings every man face to face with the author of his being and the arbiter of 
-tiny, deriving his rights from that source alone; and makes government 
bis creature instead of his master, instituted by him solely for the better protec- 
tion and application of his God-given rights. It is important to keep in mind 
this theory of our government and its difference with the theories of all other 
governments. Endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, it 
says, because those rights are necessary to correct relations between each indi- 
vidual of humanity and his Creator. Herein is the whole merit of the Amer can 
theory of government, and of its practice too, so far as that practice has gone. 
It is a grand theory, opening as it does to every human being the boundless 
plains of progress which stretch out to the foot of the eternal throne, and im- 
plying as it does such noble powers in humanity, and such noble conditions aud 
uses for those powers. Its effect upon those who have enjoyed the benefit of its 
application has been in harmony with its own exalted character. Though but 
a day old, jis it were, in the history of nations, the United States, in a great 
many respects, outstrip all other nations of the earth, and are inferior in few or 
no particulars to any. The mass of her people are conceded to be the most in- 
nt people of the world, and manifest, individually and collectively, the 
fruits of superior intelligence. It will not be denied that our theory of gov- 
ernment, viewing as it does every man as a sovereign, opening up to every man 

316 History of Woman Suffrage. 

all the distinctions, all the honors, and all the wealth which man is capable of 
desiring, appreciating, or grasping, exercises a powerful, indeed a controlling 
influence in making our people what they are, and our nation what it is. 

These petitions ask only that these rights, enjoyed by one portion of the 
American people, may be extended to embrace the whole, not less for the ab- 
stract but all-sufficient reason, that they have been given to the whole by the 
Creator, than that by their application to the whole, the more general will be 
the benefits experienced; and the deeper,- broader, more prevailing and more 
enduring will become those benefits. Manifestly, such must be the case ; for 
as these rights belong to humanity, and produce their exalted and beneficial 
fruits by their application to and upon humanity, it follows that, wherever 
humanity is, there they belong, and there they will work out their beneficial 
results. To exclude woman from the possession of equal political rights with 
man, it should be shown that she is essentially a different being ; that the 
Creator of man is not her Creator ; that she has not the same evil to shun, the 
same heaven to gain ; in short, the same grand, immortal des'iny which is sup- 
posed to invite to high uses the capacity of man, does not pertain to nor invite 
her. We say this must be shown ; and if it can not be, as certainly it can not, 
then it follows that to withhold these rights, so beneficial to one portion, is to 
work an immediate and particular injury to those from whom they are with- 
held, and, although a more indirect, not a less certain injury to all. Man-mas- 
culine is not endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights because he 
is male, but because he is human ; and when, in virtue of our strong and 
superior physical capacity, we deny to man-feminine the rights which are ours 
only in virtue of our humanity, we exercise the same indefensible tyranny 
against which we felt justified in taking up arms, and perilling life and fortune. 

The argument against conceding these rights all are familiar with. They a-e 
precisely the same which have been in the mouths of tyrants from the begin- 
ning of time, and have been urged against any and every demand for popular 
liberty. A want of capacity for self-government freedom will be only licen- 
tiousness and out of the possession of rights will grow only the practice of 
follies and wrongs. This is the argument, in brief, applied t every step of 
gradual emancipation on the part of the male, and now by him applied to the 
female struggling to reach the common platform. Should the American male, 
in the van of human progress, as the result of this theory of a capacity for self- 
government, turn round and ignore this divinity, this capacity in another 
branch of the human family ? The theory has worked only good in its appli- 
cation thus far, and it is a most unreasonable, a most unwarrantable distrust to 
expect it to produce mischief when applied to others in all respects mentally 
and morally the eqna's of those who now enjoy it. It neither can nor will do 
so ; but, necessarily, the broader and more universal its application, the broader 
and more universal its benefits. 

The possession of political rights by woman does not necessarily imply that 
she must or will enter into the practical conduct of all the institutions, proper 
and improper, now established and maintained by the male portion of the race 
These institutions may be right and necessary, or they may not, and the nature 
of woman may or may not be in harmony with them. It is not proposed to 
enact a law compelling woman to do certain things, but it is proposed simply 
to place her side by side with man on a common platform of rights, confident 

An Insult to tlie Divinity of Tier Nature. 317 

that, in that position, she will not outrage the " higher law " of her nature by 

!iding to H participation in faults, follies, or crimes, for which she has no 

itutional predilections. The association of woman with man, in the 
various relations of life in which such association is permitted, from the first 
unclosing of his eyes in the imbecility of infancy, till they close finally upon all 
things earthly, is conceded to be highly beneficial. Indeed, we think it will be 
found, on scrutiny, that it is only those institutions of society in which women 

no part, and from which they are entirely excluded, which are radically 
wrong, and need either thorough renovation or entire abrogation. And if we 
have any duties so essentially degrading, or any institution so essentially 
impure, as to be beyond the renovating influence which woman can bring to 

>n them, beyond question they should be abrogated without delay a result 
which woman's connection with them would speedily bring about. 

Who dares say, then, that such association would not be equally beneficial, 
if in every sphere of activity opened to man, woman could enter with him and 

his side ? Are our politics, in their practice, so exalted, so dignified, so 
pure, that we need no new associations, no purer and healthier influences, than 
now connected with them ? Is our Government just what we would have it ; 
are our rulers just what we would have them ; in short, have we arrived at that 
happy summit where perfection in these respects is found ? Not so. On the 
con'rary, there is an universal prayer throughout the length and breadth of the 

for reform in these respects ; and where, let us ask, could we reasonably 
look for a more powerful agent to effect this reform, than in the renovating 
influences of woman ? That which has done so much for the fireside and social 
life generally, neither can nor will lose its potent, beneficial effect when brought 
to bear upon other relations of life. 

To talk of confining woman to her proper sphere by legal disabilities, is an in- 
sult to the divinity of her nature, implying, as it does, the absence of instinctive 
virtue, modesty, and sense on her part. It makes her the creature of law of 
our law from which she is assumed to derive her ability to keep the path of 
n -ctitude, and the withdrawal of which would leave her to sink to the depths 
of folly and vice. Do we really think so badly of our mothers, wives, sister-, 
daughters ? Is it really we only of the race who are instinctively and innately 
so sensible, so modest, so virtuous, as to be qualified, not only to take care of 
ourselves, but to dispense all these exalted qualities to the weaker, and, as we 

ic, inferior half of the race? If it be so, it may be doubted whether 
Heaven's last gift was its best. Kings, emperors, and dictators confine their 
subjects, by the interposition of law, to what they consider their proper 
spheres; and there is certainly as much propriety in it as in the dictation, by 
one sex, of the sphere of a different sex. In the assumption of our strength, 

y woman rr.ust not have equal rights with us, because she has a different 
nature. If so, by what occult power do we understand that different nature to 
dictate by metes and bounds its wants and spheres ? Fair play is a Yankee 
characteristic ; and we submit, if but one-half of the race can have rights at a 
time because of their different natures, whether it is not about time the pro- 
scrihed half had its chance in, to assume the reins of Government, and dictate 
our sphere. It is no great compliment to that part of the race to venture the 
opinion, that the country would be full as well governed as it now is, and our 
sphere would be bounded with quite ae much liberality as now is tbeirs. 

318 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Let every human being occupy a common platform of political rights, and all 
will irresistibly gravitate exactly to their proper place and sphere, without dis- 
cord, and with none but the most beneficial results. In this way human energy 
and capacity will be fully economized and expended for the highest interest of 
all humanity ; and this- result is only to be obtained by opening to all, without 
restriction, common spheres of activity. 

Woman has all the interests on earth that man has she has all the interest 
in the future that man has. Man has rights only in virtue of his relations to 
earth and heaven ; and woman, whose relations are the same, has the same 
rights. The possession of her rights, on the part of woman, will interfere no 
more with the duties of life, than their possession by man interferes with his 
duties ; and as man is presumed to become a better man in all respects by the 
possession of his rights, such must be the inevitable effect of their possession 
upon woman. 

The history of the race, thus far, has been a history of tyranny by the strong 
over the weak. Might, not right, has been as yet the fundamental practice of 
all governments ; and under this order of things, woman, physically weak, from 
a slave, beaten, bought, and sold in the market, has but become, in the more 
civilized and favored portions of the earth, the toy of wealth and the drudge 
of poverty. But we now have at least a new and different theory of govern- 
ment ; and as the aspiration of one age is sure to be the code of the next, and 
practice is sure at some time to overtake theory, we have reason to expect that 
principle will take the place of mere brute force, and the truth will be fully 


44 That men and women have one glory and one shame ; 
Everything that's done inhuman injures all of us the same." 

Never, till woman stands side by side with man, his equal in the eye of the 
law as well as the Creator, will the high destiny of the race be accomplished. 
She is the mother of the race, and every stain of littleness or inferiority cast 
upon her by our institutions will soil the offspring she sends into the world. 
and clip and curtail to that extent his fair proportions. If we would abrogate 
that littleness of her character which finds a delight in the gewgaws of fashion, 
and an enjoyment in the narrow sphere of gossipping, social life, or tea-table 
scandal, so long the ridicule of our sex ; open to her new and more ennobling 
fields of activity and thought fields, the exploration of which has filled the 
American males with great thoughts, and made them the foremost people of the 
world, and which will place the American females on their level, and make 
them truly helps meet for them. When we can add to the men of Amer- 
ica a race of women educated side by side with them, and enjoying equal 
advantages with them in all respects, we may expect an offspring of giants in 
the comprehension and application of the great truths which involve human 
rights and human happiness. 

These petitions ask that the necessary steps may be taken to strike from the 
Constitution the legal distinction of sex. Your Committee is in favor of the 
prayer of the petitions ; but, under the most favorable circumstances, that is a 
result which could not be attained in less than two years. In all probability, it 
will not be longer than that before the Constitution will come up directly for 
revision, which will be a proper, appropriate, and favorable time to press the 

ReconniK IK! no Action. 819 

Your Committee, therefore, introduces no bill, and recommends no action ;it 

All of which is respectfully submitted. C. L. SIIOLES. 

This able report was the result, in a great measure, of the agita- 
>tarted by Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Fowler in 1853, and by Lui-y 
e'a lecturing tour in 1855, thus proving that no true words or 
L' deeds are ever lost. The experiences of these noble pioneers 

in their tirst visits to Wisconsin, though in many respects trying and 
Hi-aging, brought their own rich rewards, not only in higher 

individual development, but in an improved public opinion and 

more liberal legislation in regard to the rights of women in that 



William Penn Independence Hall British troops Heroism of women Lydia Darrah 
Who designed the Flag Anti-slavery movements in Philadelphia Pennsylvania Hall 
destroyed by a mob David Paul Brown Fugitives Millard Fillmore John Brown 
Angelina Grimke" Abby Kelly Mary Grew Temperance in 1848 Hannah Dar- 
lington and Ann Preston before the Legislature Medical College for Women in 1850 
Westchester Woman Rights Convention, 1852 Philadelphia Convention, 1854 Lucrc- 
tia Mott answers Richard H. Dana Jane Grey Swisshelm Sarah Josepha Hale 
Anna McDowell Rachel Foster searching the records. 

IN 1680, Charles II., King of England, granted to William Penn 
a tract of land in consideration of the claims of his father, Admiral 
Penn, which he named Pennsylvania. The charter for this land is 
still in existence at Harrisburg, among the archives of the State. 
The principal condition of the bargain with the Indians was the pay- 
ment of two beaver skins annually. This was the purchase money 
for the great State of Pennsylvania. 

Penn landed at New Castle October 27, 1682, and in November visit- 
ed the infant city of Philadelphia, where so many of the eventful scenes 
of the Revolution transpired. Penn had been already imprisoned in 
England several times for his Quaker principles, which had so benefi- 
cent an influence in his dealings with the Indians, and on the moral 
character of the religious sect he founded in the colonies. 

While yet a student he was expelled from Christ Church, Oxford, 
because he was converted to Quakerism under the preaching of 
Thomas Loe. He was imprisoned in Cork for attending a Quaker 
meeting, and in the Tower of London in 1668 for writing " The 
Sandy Foundation Shaken," and while there he wrote his great 
work, "No Cross, No Crown." In 1671, he was again imprisoned 
for preaching Quakerism, and as he would take no oath on his trial, 
he was thrown into Newgate, and while there he wrote his other 
great work on " Toleration." 

In 1729 the foundations of Independence Hall, the old State 
House, were laid, and the building was completed in 1734. Here 
the first Continental Congress was held in September, 1774 ; a 

Provincial Convention in January, 1775 ; the Declaration of In 


Lydia Da r rait. 

dependence proclaimed July 4, 1776, and on the 8th, read to thou- 
sands assembled in front of the building. These great events 
have made Philadelphia the birthplace of freedom, the Mecca of this 
rn world, where the lovers of liberty go up to worship; and 
made the Keystone State so rich in memories, the brightest star 
in the republican constellation, where in 1776 freedom was pro- 
claimed, and in 1780 slavery was abolished. 

Philadelphia remained the seat of Government until 1800. 
The British troops occupied the city from September 26, 1777, 
to June 18, 1778. During this period we find many interest- 
ing incidents in regard to the heroism of women. In every way 
aided the struggling army, not only in providing food and 
clothes, ministering to the sick in camp and hospitals, but on active 
duty as messengers and spies under most difficult and dangerous cir- 
cumstances. The brave deeds and severe privations the women of 
this nation endured with cheerfulness would fill volumes, yet no- 
monuments are built to their memory, and only by the right of 
petition have they as yet the slightest recognition in the Government, 
A lew instances that occurred at Philadelphia will illustrate the 
patriotism of American women.* 

While the American army remained encamped at White Marsh, the 
British being in possession of Philadelphia, Gen. Howe made some vain 
:upts to draw Washington into an engagement. The house opposite 
the headquarters of Gen. Howe, tenanted by William and Lydia Darrah, 
members of the Society of Friends, was the place selected by the supe- 
rior officers of the army for private conference, whenever it was necessary 
to hold consultations. 

On the afternoon of the 3d of December, the British Adjutant-General 
called and informed the mistress that he and some friends were to meet 
there that evening, and desired that the back room up-stairs might be 
prepared for their reception. "And be sure, Lydia," he concluded, 
" that your family are all in bed at an early hour. When our guests are 
ready to leave the house, I will myself give you notice, that you may let 
it and extinguish the candles." 

Having delivered this order, the Adjutant-General departed. Lydia 
betook herself to getting all things in readiness. But she felt curious to 
know what the business could be that required such secrecy, and re- 
solved on further investigation. Accordingly, in the midst of their con- 
ce :hat night, she quietly approached the door, and listening, heard 
a plan for the surprise of Washington's forces arranged for the next night. 
She retreated softly to her room and laid down ; soon there was a knock- 
ing at her door. She knew well what the signal meant, but took no 
heed until it was repeated again and again, and then she arose quickly 

Mi>. Ellet's "Women of the Revolution.' 

322 History of Woman Suffrage. 

and opened the door. It was the Adjutant-General who came to inform 
her they were ready to depart. Lydia let them out, fastened the door, 
extinguished the fire and lights, and returned to her chamber, but she 
was uneasy, thinking of the threatened danger. 

At the dawn of day she arose, telling her family that she must go to 
Frankfort to procure some flour. She mounted her horse, and taking the 
bag, started. The snow was deep and the cold intense, but Lydia's 
heart did not falter. Leaving the grist at the mill, she started on foot 
for the camp, determined to apprise Gen. Washington of bis danger. 
On the way she met one of his officers, who exclaimed in astonishment at 
seeing her, but making her errand known, she hastened home. 

Preparations were immediately made to give the enemy a fitting re- 
ception. None suspected the grave, demure Quakeress of having snatch- 
ed from the English their anticipated victory ; but after the return of the 
British troops Gen. Howe summoned Lydia to his apartment, locked the 
door with an air of mystery, and motioned her to a seat. After a moment 
of silence, he said: "Were any of your family up, Lydia, on the night 
when I received my company here ?" "No," she replied, " they all re- 
tired at eight o'clock." " It is very strange," said the officer, and mused 
a few minutes. "I know you were asleep, for I knocked at your door 
three times before you heard me; yet it is certain that we were betrayed." 

Afterward some one asked Lydia how she could say her family were 
all in bed while she herself was up ; she replied, ' ' Husband and wife are 
one, and that one is the husband, and my husband was in bed." Thus 
the wit and wisdom of this Quaker woman saved the American forces at 
an important crisis, and perhaps turned the fate of the Revolutionary 

During that dreadful winter, 1780, at Valley Forge, the ladies of 
Philadelphia combined to furnish clothing for the army. Money 
and jewels were contributed in profusion. Those w r ho could not 
give money, gave their services freely. Not less than $7,500 were 
contributed to an association for this purpose, of which Esther De 
Eerdt Reed was president. Though an English woman, the French 
Secretary said of her: "She is called to this office as the best 
patriot, the most zealous and active, and the most attached to the 
interests of the country." 

The archives of the Keystone State prove that she can boast many 
noble women from the time of that great struggle for the nation's 
existence, the signal for which was given when the brave old bell rang 
out from Independence Hall its message of freedom. The very 
colors then unfurled, and for the first time named the flag of the 
United States, were the handiwork, and in part the invention of 
;a woman. That to the taste and suggestions of Mrs. Elizabeth 
Ross, of Philadelphia, we owe the beauty of the Union's flag can 
not be denied. There are those who would deprive her of all credit 

The American Flwj. 323 

in this connection, and assert that the committee appointed to pre- 
a flag gave her tlie perfected design; but the evidence is in 
: of her having had a large share in the change from the origi- 
nal design to the flag as it now is ; the same flag which we have held 
nation since the memorable year of the Declaration of Inde- 
ence, the flag which now floats on every sea, whose stars and 
stripes carry hope to all the oppressed nations of the earth ; though 
t> woman it is but an ignis fatuus, an ever waving signal of the 

.titude of the republic to one-half its citizens. 
An anecdote of a female spy is related in the journal of Major Tall- 
inadoje. While the Americans were at Valley Forge he was stationed 
in the vicinity of Philadelphia with a detachment of cavalry to 
rve the enemy and limit the range of British foraging parties. 
lli> duties required the utmost vigilance, his squad seldom remained 
all night in the same position, and their horses were rarely unsad- 
dled. Hearing that a country girl had gone into the city with eggs ; 
having been sent by one of the American officers to gain informa- 
tion ; Tallmadge advanced toward the British lines, and dismounted 
at a small tarern within view of their outposts. The girl came to 
the tavern, but while she was communicating her intelligence to the 
Major, the alarm was given that the British light-horse were ap- 
proaching. Tallmadge instantly mounted, and as the girl entreated 
protection, bade her get up behind him. They rode three miles at 
full speed to Germantown, the damsel showing no fear, though there 

^ome wheeling and charging, and a brisk firing of pistols. 
Tradition tells of some women in Philadelphia, whose husbands 
used to send intelligence from the American army through a market- 
boy, who came into the city to bring provisions, and carried the dis- 
patches sent in the back of his coat. One morning, when there 
some fear that his movements were watched, a young girl 
undertook to get the papers. In a pretended game of romps, she 
threw her shawl over his head, and secured the prize. She hastened 
with the papers to her friends, who read them with deep interest, 
after the windows were carefully closed. When news came of Bur- 
goyne's surrender, the sprightly girl, not daring to give vent openly 
to her exultation, put her head up the chimney and hurrahed for 

And not only in the exciting days of the Revolution do we find 

abundant records of woman's courage and patriotism, but in all the 

great moral movements that have convulsed the nation, she has 

taken an active and helpful part. The soil of Pennsylvania is 

ic with the startling events of the anti-slavery struggle. In 

324 History of Woman Suffrage. 

the first Anti-Slavery Society, of which Benjamin Franklin was 
-president, women took part, not only as members, but as officers. 
The name of Lydia Gillingham stands side by side with Jacob M. 
Ellis as associate secretaries, signing reports of the " Association for 
the Abolition of Slavery." 

The important part women took in the later movement, inaugu- 
rated by William Lloyd Garrison, has already passed into history. 
The interest in this question was intensified in this State, as it was 
the scene of the continued recapture of fugitives. The heroism 
of the women, who helped to fight this great battle of freedom, 
was only surpassed by those who, taking their lives in their hands, 
escaped from the land of slavery. The same love of liberty that 
glowed in eloquent words on the lips of Lucretia Mott, Angelina 
Grimke, and Mary Grew, was echoed in the brave deeds of Mar- 
garet Garner, Linda Brent, and Mrs. Stowe's Eliza. 

On December 4, 1833, the Abolitionists assembled in Philadelphia 
to hold a national convention, and to form the American Anti- 
Slavery Society. During all the sessions of three days, women were 
constant and attentive listeners. Lucretia Mott, Esther More, Sid- 
ney Ann Lewis, and Lydia White, took part in the discussions. 
The following resolution, passed at the close of the third day, with- 
out dissent, or a word to qualify or limit its application, shows that 
no one then thought it improper for women to speak in public : 

Resolved, That the thanks of the Convention be presented to our 
female friends for the deep interest they have manifested in the cause of 
anti- slavery, during the long and fatiguing sessions of this Convention. 

Samuel J. May, in writing of this occasion many years after, says : 
" It is one of the proudest recollections of my life that I was a 
member of the Convention in Philadelphia, in December, 1833, 
that formed the American Anti-Slavery Society. And I well re- 
member the auspicious sequel to it, the formation of the Philadelphia 
Female Anti-Slavery Society. N"or shall I ever forget the wise, the 
impressive, the animating words spoken in our Convention by dear 
Lucretia Mott and two or three other excellent women who came 
to that meeting by divine appointment. But with this last recollec- 
tion will be forever associated the mortifying fact, that we men 
were then so blind, so obtuse, that we did not recognize those 
women as members of our Convention, and insist upon their sub- 
scribing their names to our < Declaration of Sentiments and Pur- 
poses.' r 

<; r< uf% Jt''ort. 325 


X<> sooner did the National Society adjourn, than the women who 

had listened to the discussions with such deep interest, assembled to 

ii/.e themselves for action. A few extracts from Mary Grew 's 

final report of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 

1870 show that 

A meeting convened at the school-room of Catherine McDermott, 12th 
mo. Oth, 1833, to take into consideration the propriety of forming a 

tie Anti-Slavery Society ; addresses were made by Samuel J. May, 
of Brooklyn, Conn., and Nathaniel Southard, of Boston, who pointed 
out the important assistance that might be rendered by our sex in re- 
moving the great evil of slavery. After some discussion upon this in- 

r ing subject, it was concluded to form a Society, in the belief that 
our combined efforts would more effectually aid in relieving the oppres- 

of our suffering fellow-creatures. For this purpose a Committee 

ippointed to draft a Constitution, and to propose such measures as 
would be likely to promote the Abolition of Slavery, and to elevate the 
people of color from their present degraded situation to the full enjoy- 
ment of their rights, and to increased usefulness in society. 

At a meeting held 12th mo. 14th, the Committee appointed on the 9th 
submitted a form of Constitution, which was read and adopted. After 

loption, the following persons signed their names : Lucretia Mott, 
Esther Moore, Mary Ann Jackson, Margaretta Forten, Sarah Louisa 
Forten, Grace Douglass, Mary Sleeper, Rebecca Hitchins, Mary Clement, 
A. C. Eckstein, Mary Wood, Leah Fell, Sidney Ann Lewis, Catherine Mc- 
Derinott, Susan M. Shaw, Lydia White, Sarah McCrummell, Hetty Burr. 
The Society then proceeded to the choice of officers for the ensuing 
year; when the following persons were elected: Esther Moore, Presiding 
Officer; Margaretta Forten, Recording Secretary; Lucretia Mott, Corre- 
>ponding Secretary; Anna Bunting, Treasurer; Lydia White, Librarian. 
The Annual Reports of the first two years of this Society are not ex- 

: but from its third, we learn that in each of those years the Society 
memorialized Congress, praying for the abolition of slavery hi the Dis- 
trict of Columbia and the Territories of the United States. In the 
second year of its existence, it appointed a Standing Committee for the 
purpose of visiting the schools for colored children in this city, and aid- 
ing them in any practicable way. In the third year it appointed a Com- 
mittee "to make arrangements for the establishment of a course of sci- 
entific lectures, which our colored friends were particularly invited to 

id." The phraseology of this statement implies that white persons 

not to be excluded from these lectures, and indicates a clear-sighted 
purpose, on the part of the Society, to bear its testimony against dis- 
tinctions founded on color. In this year it published an Address to the 
Women of Pennsylvania, calling their attention to the claims of the 
>lavr, and urging them to sign petitions for his emancipation. Mrs. 
Eli/.abeth Heyrick's well-known pamphlet, entitled "Immediate, not 

32 ti History of Woman Suffrage. 

Gradual Emancipation," was during the same year republished by the 
"Anti-Slavery Sewing Society," a body composed of some of the mem- 
bers of this Association, but not identical with it, which met weekly at 
the house of our Vice-President, Sidney Ann Lewis. Another event, im- 
portant and far-reaching beyond our power then to foresee, had marked 
the year. A member of this Society* had received and accepted a com- 
mission to labor as an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society. It 
is evident, from the language of the Report, that the newly-appointed 
agent and her fellow-members regarded the mission as one fraught with 
peculiar trial of patience and faith, and anticipated the opposition which 
such an innovation on the usages of the times would elicit. Her ap- 
pointed field of labor was among her own sex, in public or in private ; 
but in the next year's Report it is announced that she had enlarged her 
sphere. The fact should never be forgotten by us that it was a member 
of this Society who first broke the soil in that field where so many 
women have since labored abundantly, and are now reaping so rich a 

The next year, 1837, was made memorable by a still greater innovation 
upon established usage the first National Convention of American Anti- 
Slavery Women. It is interesting and profitable to notice, as the years 
passed, that new duties and new responsibilities educated woman for 
larger spheres of action. Each year brought new revelations, presented 
new aspects of the cause, and made new demands. Our early Reports 
mention these Conventions of Women, which were held during three 
consecutive years in New York and this city, as a novel measure, which 
would, of course, excite opposition ; and they also record the fact that 
"the editorial rebukes, sarcasm, and ridicule" which they elicited, did 
not exceed the anticipations of the Abolitionists. 

The second of these Conventions was held in this city, in the midst of 
those scenes of riot when infuriated Southern slaveholders and cowardly 
Northern tradesmen combined for purposes of robbery and arson, and 
surrounded Pennsylvania Hall with their representatives, the mob which 
plundered and burnt it, while the City Government looked on consent- 
ing to these crimes. That Convention was the last assembly gathered in 
that Hall, then just dedicated to the service of Freedom. Its fifth ses- 
sion, on the 17th of May, 1838, was held, calmly and deliberately, while 
the shouts of an infuriated mob rose around the building, mingling with 
the speakers' voices, and sometimes overwhelming them ; while stones 
and other missiles crashing through the windows imperilled the persons 
of many of the audience. The presence of an assembly of women was 
supposed to be a partial protection against the fury of the rioters ; and 
believing that the mob would not fire the building while it was thus 
filled, a committee of anti-slavery men sent a request to the Convention 
to remain in session during the usual interval between the afternoon 
and evening meetings, if, with their knowledge of their perilous sur- 
roundings, they felt willing to do so. The President laid the request 
before the Convention, and asked, Will you remain? A few minutes of 

Angelina E. Grimke. 

ii deliberation; a few moments' listening to the loud madness surg- 
_ainst the outer walls; a moment's unvoiced prayer for wisdom and 
.-trvngth. and the answer caine : HY trill ; and the business of the meet- 
ing proceeded. But before the usual hour of adjournment arrived, 
another message caine from the committee, withdrawing their request, 
and stating that further developments of the spirit pervading the mob 
and the city, convinced them that it would be unwise for the Conven- 
tion to attempt to hold possession of the Hall for the evening. The 
ii.: adjourned at 4 the usual hour, and, on the next morning, the 
burnt and crumbling remains of Pennsylvania Hall told the story of 
Philadelphia's disgrace, and the temporary triumph of the spirit of 


The experience of that morning is very briefly mentioned in the pub- 
lished "Proceedings," which state that "the Convention met, pursuant 
to adjournment, at Temperance Hall, but found the doors closed by 
order of the managers " ; that they were offered the use of a school-room, 
in which they assembled; and there the Convention held its closing 
n of six hours. But they who made a part of the thrilling history 
of those times well remember how the women of that Convention walked 
through the streets of this city, from the Hall on Third Street, closed 
against them, to the school-room on Cherry Street, hospitably opened to 
them by Sarah Pugh and Sarah Lewis, and were assailed by the insults 
of the populace as they went. It was a meeting memorable to those who 
composed it; and was one of many interesting associations of our early 
anti-slavery history which cluster around the school -house, which in 
those days was always open to the advocacy of the slave's cause.* 

An incident in connection with the last of these Conventions, shows 
how readily and hopefully, in the beginning of our work, we turned for 
help to the churches and religious societies of the land; and how slowly 
and painfully we learned their real character. It is long since we ceased 
to expect efficient help from them ; but in those first years of our warfare 
against slavery, we had not learned that the ecclesiastical standard of 
morals in a nation can not be higher than the standard of the populace 

A committee of arrangements appointed to obtain a house in 
which the Convention should be held, reported: "That in com- 
pliance with a resolution passed at a meeting of this Society, an applica- 
tion was made to each of the seven Monthly Meetings of Friends, in this 
for one of their meeting-houses, in which to hold the Convention.'* 
returned respectful answers, declining the application; three re- 
fused to hear it read ; one appointed two persons to examine it, and then 
decided "that it should be returned without being read," though a few 
members urged "that it should be treated more respectfully "; and that 
from one meeting no answer was received. 

A to other denominations of professed Christians, similar applications 
had been frequently refused by them, although there was one exception 

* This building, the property of Jacob Peirce, was thus imperilled with his free con- 

328 History of Woman Suffrage. 

which should be ever held in honorable remembrance by the Abolitionists 
of Philadelphia. The use of the church of the Covenanters, in Cherry 
street, of which Rev. James M. Wilson was for many years the pastor, 
was never refused for an anti-slavery meeting, even in the most perilous 
days of our enterprise. Another fact in connection with the Convention 
of 1839 it is pleasant to remember now, when the faithful friend whose 
name it recalls has gone from among us. The Committee of Arrange- 
ments reported that their difficulties and perplexities ' ' were relieved by 
a voluntary offer from that devoted friend of the slave, John H. Caven- 
der, who, with kindness at once unexpected and gratifying, offered the 
use of a large unfurnished building in Filbert Street, which had been 
used as a riding school ; which was satisfactorily and gratefully occupied 
by the Convention." 

In the year 1840, our Society sent delegates to the assembly called 
"The World's Anti-Slavery Convention," which was held in London, in 
the month of May of that year. As is well known, that body refused to 
admit any delegates excepting those of the male sex, though the invita- 
tion was not thus limited ; consequently, this Society was not represented 

The year 1850 was an epoch in the history of the anti-slavery cause. 
The guilt and disgrace of the nation was then intensified by that infa- 
mous statute known by the name of "The Fugitive Slave Law." Its 
enactment by the Thirty -first Congress, and its ratification by Mil- 
lard Fillmore's signature, was the signal for an extensive and cruel 
raid upon the colored people of the North. Probably no statute 
was ever written, in the code of a civilized nation, so carefully and cun- 
ningly devised for the purpose of depriving men of liberty. It put in im- 
minent peril the personal freedom of every colored man and woman in 
the land. It furnished the kidnapper all possible facilities, and bribed 
the judge on the bench to aid him in his infamous work. The terrible 
scenes that followed; the cruel apathy of the popular heart and con- 
science; the degradation of the pulpit, which sealed the deed with its 
loud Amen! the mortal terror of a helpless and innocent race; the 
fierce assaults on peaceful homes ; the stealthy capture, by day and by 
night, of unsuspecting free-born people; the blood shed on Northern 
soil; the mockeries of justice acted in United States courts; are they 
not all written in our country's history, and indelibly engraven on the 
memories of Abolitionists? 

The case of Adam Gibson, captured in this city by the notorious kid- 
napper, Alberti, and tried before the scarcely less notorious Ingraham, in 
the year 1850, and which was succeeded in the next year by the Christiana 
tragedy, are instances of many similar outrages committed in Pennsyl- 
vania. No pen can record, no human power can estimate, the aggregate 
of woe and guilt which was the legitimate result of that Fugitive Slave 

The year 1855 was marked by a series of events unique in our history. 
A citizen of Philadelphia, whose name will always be associated with the 
cause of American liberty, in the legal performance of his duty, quietly 
informed three slaves who had been brought into this State by their 

The Fugitive Slave Law. 329 

ter, a Virginia slaveholder, that by the laws of Pennsylvania they 
. The legally emancipated mother, Jane Johnson, availing her- 

r tliis knowledge, took possession of her own person and her own 
children; and their astonished master suddenly discovered that his 

r to hold them was gone forever. No judge, commissioner, or 
lawyer, however willing, could help him to recapture his prey. But a 
judge of the United States District Court could assist him in obtaining a 
int-an revenge upon the brave man who had enlightened an ignorant 
wnman respecting her legal right to freedom. Judge Kane, usurping ju- 
risdiction in the case, and exercising great ingenuity to frame a charge 
of contempt of Court, succeeded in his purpose of imprisoning Passmore 
Williamson in our County jail. The baffled slaveholder also found sym- 
pathizers in the Grand Jury, who enabled him to indict for riot and as- 
>ault and battery, Passmore Williamson, William Still, and five other 
persons. During the trial which ensued, the prosecutor and his allies 
confounded by the sudden appearance of a witness whose testimony 
that she was not forcibly taken from her master's custody, but had left 
him freely, disconcerted all their schemes, and defeated the prosecution. 
The presence of Jane Johnson in that court room jeoparded her newly- 
acquired freedom; for though Pennsylvania was pledged to her protec- 
tion, it was questionable whether the slave power, in the person of United 
is officers and their ever ready minions, would not forcibly overpower 

authority and obtain possession of the woman. It was an intensely 
trying hour for her and for all who sympathized with her. Among those 
who attended her through that perilous scene, were the president of this 
Society, Sarah Pugh, and several of its members. All those ladies will 

r'y to the calm bearing and firm courage of this emancipated slave- 
mother, in the hour of jeopardy to her newly-found freedom. Protected 
by the energy and skill of the presiding Judge, William D. Kelley, and 
of the State officers, her safe egress from the court-room was accomplish- 
ed; and she was soon placed beyond the reach of her pursuers. 

In 1859 we reaped a rich harvest from long years of sowing, in the result 
of the trial of the alleged fugitive slave, Daniel Webster. This trial will 
never be forgotten by those of us who witnessed it. The arrest was made 
in Harrisburg, in the month of April, and the trial was in this city before 
United States Commissioner John C. Longstreth. We do not, at this 
distance of time, need the records of that year, to remind us that "it was 
with heavy and hopeless hearts that the Abolitionists of this city gath- 
ered around that innocent and outraged man, and attended him through 
the solemn hours of his trial." The night which many of the members 
of this Society passed in that court, keeping vigils with the unhappy 
man whose fate hung tremulous on the decision of the young commis- 
sioner, was dark with despair; and the dawn of morning brought no 
hope to our souls. We confidently expected to witness again, as we had 

i witnessed before, the triumph of the kidnapper and his legal allies 
over law and justice and human liberty. In the afternoon of that day 
we re-assembled to hear the judicial decision which should consign the 
wretched man to slavery, and add another page to the record of Penn- 
sylvania's disgrace. But a far different experience awaited us. Com- 

330 History of Woman Suffrage. 

missioner Longstreth obeyed the moral sentiment around him, and, 
doubtless the voice of his conscience, and pronounced the captive free. 
"The closing scenes of this trial; the breathless silence with which the 
crowded assembly in the court-room waited to hear the death-knell of 
the innocent prisoner; the painfully sudden transition from despair to 
hope and thence to certainty of joy; the burst of deep emotion; the fer- 
vent thanksgiving, wherein was revealed that sense of the brotherhood 
of man which God has made a part of every human soul ; the exultant 
shout which went up from the multitude who thronged the streets wait- 
ing for the decision " ; these no language can portray, but they are life- 
long memories for those who shared in them. This event proved the 
great change wrought in the popular feeling, the result of twenty-five 
years of earnest effort to impress upon the heart of this community anti- 
slavery doctrines and sentiments. Then for the first time the Abolition- 
ists of Philadelphia found their right of free speech protected by city au 
thorities. Alexander Henry was the first Mayor of this city who ever 
quelled a pro-slavery mob. 

Our last record of a victim sacrificed to this statute, is of the case of 
Moses Horner, who was kidnapped near Harrisburg in March, 1860, and 
doomed to slavery by United States Judge John Cadwallader, in this 
city. One more effort was made a few months later to capture in open 
day in the heart of this city a man alleged to be a fugitive slave, but it 
failed of ultimate success. The next year South Carolina's guns thun- 
dered forth the doom of the slave power. She aimed them at Fort Sum- 
ter. and the United States Government. God guided their fiery death to 
the very heart of American slavery. 

If the history of this Society were fully written, one of its most inter- 
esting chapters would be a faithful record of its series of annual fairs. 
Beginning in the year 1836, the series continued during twenty-six years, 
the last fair being held in December, 1861. The social attraction of these 
assemblies induced many young persons to mingle in them, besides those 
who labored from love of the cause. Brought thus within the circle of 
anti-slavery influence, many were naturally converted to our principles, 
and became earnest laborers in the enterprise which had so greatly en- 
riched their own souls. The week of the fair was the annual Social Fes- 
tival of the Abolitionists of the State. Though held under the immediate 
direction of this Society, it soon became a Pennsylvania institution. 
Hither our tribes came up to take counsel together, to recount our victories 
won, to be refreshed by social communion, and to renew our pledges of 
fidelity to the slave. There were years when these were very solemn fes- 
tivals, when our skies were dark with gathering storms, and we knew not 
what peril the night or the morning might bring. But they were always 
seasons from which we derived strength and encouragement for future 
toil and endurance, and their value to our cause is beyond our power to 

The pro-slavery spirit which always pervaded our city, and which some- 
times manifested itself in the violence of mobs, never seriously disturbed 
our fair excepting in one instance. In the year 1859 our whole Southern 
country quaked with mortal fear in the presence of John Brown's great 

Assembly 7////W/ 331 

i< >m. The coward North trembled in its turn lest its South- 
ern trail.- should he imperilled, and in all its eities there went up a fran- 

py that the Union must be saved and the Abolitionists suppressed. 
Tin- u.Mial time for holding our fair was at hand. Before it was opMi.-d 
a daily newspaper of this city informed its readers that notwithstanding 
huke which the Abolitionists had received from a recent meeting of 
Unic: they had audaciously announced their intention of holding 

another fair, the avowed purpose of which was the dissemination of anti- 

ry principles. The indignant journalist asked if Philadelphia would 
-utter such a fair to be held. This was doubtless intended as a summons 

:aob, and a most deadly inob responded to the call. It did not ex- 
pend its violence upon our fair, but against an assembly in National Hall, 
gathered to listen to a lecture by George W. Curtis, upon the Present 
Aspect of the Country. 

The High Constable, Mayor, and Sheriff were the agents employed by 

-lave power to take and hold possession of Concert Hall, and in its 

behalf, if not in its name, to eject us and our property. The work was 

commenced by the Mayor, who sent the High Constable with an order 

that our flag should be removed from the street. Its offensiveness con- 

l in the fact that it presented to the view of all passers-by a picture 
of the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall, inscribed with the words, "Pro- 
claim liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof." 
The next step was an attempt to induce the lessee to eject us from the 
hall. On his refusal to violate his contract with us, the trustees obtained 
legal authority to dispossess us on the plea that the hall had been rented 
for a purpose which tended to excite popular commotion. The sheriff 

ed, took possession, and informed the managers that our property 

be removed within three hours. Then were the doors of this hall,* 

where we are now assembled, opened to us, and here our fair was held, 

with great success, during the remainder of the week. In the stormiest 

us of our enterprise these saloons have never been closed against 
anti-slavery meetings; and our fair of 1860 was welcomed to them amidst 
the loud threatenings of a mob which were seeking to appease the angry 
South, then just rising in open rebellion against the United States Gov- 
ernment. The experience of those four days of December spent in these 
rooms will never be forgotten by us. It was a season of trial, of rejoic- 
ing, and of victory. The veterans of our cause, long accustomed to the 
threats and the presence of mobs, found reason for rejoicing in the cour- 
age and serenity with which the young recruits in our ranks faced the 
peril of scenes so new to them, and proved their faith in the principles 
of our cause and their devotion to the right. Our victory was complete, 
our right of peaceful assemblage maintained, without any active demon- 
ion of hostility from the indignant citizens who had fiercely resolved 
that the Anti-Slavery Fair should be suppressed. Such demonstrations 

, doubtless, restrained by a knowledge of the fact that they would be 
met by vigorous and effectual opposition by the Mayor of the city, who, 

* The Assembly Buildings, opened to us by the kindness of tie lessee, Mr. John Toy. 

332 History of Woman Suffrage. 

upon that occasion, as upon many other similar ones, was faithful to the 
responsibility of his office. 

In the year 1862 the nation was convulsed with the war consequent upon 
the Southern Rebellion ; our soldiers, wounded and dying in hospitals 
and on battle-fields; claimed all possible aid from the community: anti- 
slavery sentiments were spreading widely through the North, and it was 
believed to be feasible and expedient to obtain the funds needful for our 
enterprise by direct appeal to the old and new friends of the cause. 
Therefore, our series of fairs closed with the twenty-sixth, in December, 

The money raised by this Society in various ways amounted to about 
$35,000. Nearly the whole of this revenue has been expended in dissemi- 
nating the principles of our cause, by means of printed documents arid pub- 
lic lectures and discussions. In the earlier years of this Society, a school 
for colored children, established and taught by Sarah M. Douglass, was 
partially sustained from our treasury. We occasionally contributed, from 
our treasury, small sums for the use of the Vigilance Committees, organ- 
ized to assist fugitive slaves who passed through this State on their way 
to a land where their right to liberty would be protected. But these 
enterprises were always regarded as of secondary importance to our great 
work of direct appeal to the conscience of the nation, in behalf of the 
slave's claim to immediate, unconditional emancipation. To this end a 
large number of tracts and pamphlets have been circulated by this 
Society; but its chief agencies have been the anti-slavery newspapers of 
the country. Regarding these as the most powerful instrumentalities 
in the creation of that public sentiment which was essential to the over- 
throw of slavery, we expended a considerable portion of our funds in the 
direct circulation of The Liberator, The Pennsylvania Freeman, and The 
National Anti-Slavery Standard, and a small amount in the circulation 
of other anti-slavery papers. Our largest appropriations of money have 
been made to the Pennsylvania and American Anti-Slavery Societies, 
and by those Societies to the support of their organs and lecturing agents. 

The financial statistics of this Society are easily recorded. Certain 
great and thrilling events which marked its history are easily told and 
written. But the life which it lived through all its thirty-six years; the 
influence which flowed from it, .directly and indirectly, to the nation's 
heart; the work quietly done by its members, individually, through the 
word spoken in season, the brave, self-sacrificing deed, the example of 
fidelity in a critical hour, the calm endurance unto the end ; these can 
be written in no earthly book of remembrance. Its life is lived ; its 
work is done; its memorial is sealed. It assembles to-day to take one 
parting look across its years; to breathe in silence its unutterable 
thanksgiving; to disband its membership, and cease to be. Reviewing 
its experience of labor and endurance, the united voices of its members 
testify that it has been a service whose reward was in itself; and con- 
templating the grandeur of the work accomplished (in which it has been 
permitted to bear a humble part), the overthrow of American slavery, 
the uplifting from chattelhood to citizenship of four millions of human 
souls; with one heart and one voice we cry, " Not unto us, O Lord! not 

ia Hall. :\:\\\ 

unto us, but unto Thy name " be the glory; for Thy right hand and Thy 
holy arm " hath gotten the victory." 

In 1838, Philadelphia was the scene of one of the most disgrace- 
ful mobs that marked those eventful days. The lovers of free speech 
had found great difficulty in procuring churches or halls in which to 
h the anti-slavery gospel. Accordingly, a number of individ- 
uals of all sects and HO sect, of all parties and no party, erected a 
building wherein the principles of Liberty and Equality could be 
freely discussed. 

IhivM Paul Brown, one of Pennsylvania's most distinguished 
lawyers, was invited to give the oration dedicating this hall to 
lireedoin and the Rights of Man." In accepting the invitation, 

For some. time past I have invariably declined applications that might 
be calculated to take any portion of my time from my profession. But I 
always said, and now say again, that I will fight the battle of liberty as 
long as I have a shot in the locker. Of course, I will do what you require. 

Yours truly, DAVID PAUL BROWX. 

s. WEBB and WM. H. SCOTT, Esqs. 

Whenever fugitives were arrested on the soil of Pennsylvania, 
tins lawyer stood ready, free of charge, to use in their behalf his 
skill and every fair interpretation of the letter and spirit of the law, 
and availing himself of every quirk for postponements, thus adding 
to the expense and anxiety of the pursuer, and giving the engineers 
of the underground railroad added opportunities to run the fugitive 
to Canada. 

Pennsylvania Hall was one of the most commodious and splendid 
buildings in the city, scientifically ventilated and brilliantly lighted 
with gas. It cost upward of $40,000. Over the forum, in large 
gold letters, was the motto, " Virtue, Liberty, Independence." On 
the platform were superb chairs, sofas, and desk covered with blue 
silk damask ; everything throughout the hall was artistic and com- 
plete. Abolitionists from all parts of the country hastened to be 
present at the dedication ; and among the rest came representa- 
tives of the Woman's National Convention, held in New York one 
year before. 

Notices had been posted about the city threatening the speedy 

action of this temple of liberty. During this three days' Con- 

vention, the enemy was slowly organizing the destructive mob that 

finally burned that grand edifice to the ground. There were a large 

number of strangers in the city from the South, and many Southern 

334 History of Woman Suffrage. 

students attending the medical college, who were all active in the 
riot. The crowds of women and colored people who had attended 
the Convention intensified the exasperation of the mob. Black men 
and white women walking side by side in and out of the hall, was 
too much for the foreign plebeian and the Southern patrician. 

As it was announced that on the evening of the third day some 
ladies were to speak, a howling mob surrounded the building. In 
the midst of the tumult Mr. Garrison introduced Maria Chapman,* 
of Boston, who rose, and waving her hand to the audience to become 
quiet, tried in a few eloquent and appropriate remarks to bespeak a 
hearing for Angelina E. Grimke, the gifted orator from South Caro- 
lina, who, having lived in the midst of slavery all her life, could 
faithfully describe its cruelties and abominations. But the inde- 
scribable uproar outside, cries of fire, and yells of defiance, were a 
constant interruption, and stones thrown against the windows a warn- 
ing of coming danger. But through it all this brave Southern 
woman stood unmoved, except by the intense earnestness of her own 
great theme. 


Do you ask, " What has the North to do with slavery ? " Hear it, hear 
it! Those voices without tell us that the spirit of slavery is here, and 
has been roused to wrath by our Conventions ; for surely liberty would 
not foam and tear herself with rage, because her friends are multiplied 
daily, and meetings are held in quick succession to set forth her virtues 
and extend her peaceful kingdom. This opposition shows that slavery 
has done its deadliest work in the hearts of our citizens. Do you ask, 
then, "What has the North to do ? " I .answer, cast out first the spirit 
of slavery from your own hearts, and then lend your aid to convert the 
South. Each one present has a work to do, be his or her situation what 
it may, however limited their means or insignificant their supposed 
influence. The great men of this country will not do this work; the 
Church will never do it. A desire to please the world, to keep the favor 
of all parties and of all conditions, makes them dumb on this and every 
other unpopular subject. 

As a Southerner, I feel that it is my duty to stand up here to-night and 
bear testimony against slavery. I have seen it ! I have seen it ! I know 
it has horrors that can never be described. I was brought up under its 
wing. I witnessed for many years its demoralizing influences and its 
destructiveness to human happiness. I have never seen a happy slave. 
I have seen him dance in his chains, it is true, but he was not happy. 
There is a wide difference between happiness and mirth. Man can riot 
enjoy happiness while his manhood is destroyed. Slaves, howev.-r. may 
be, and sometimes are mirthful. When hope is extinguished, they say. 

* She was the positive power of so much anti-slavery work, that James Russell Lowell 
fepoke of her as " the coiled-up mainspring of the movement." 

Angelina <v/'/////'-' <r//7 ///<-- JA>/>. 335 

ml drink, for to-morrow we die." [Here stones were thrown 
at th.- windows a IJIVUT noise without and commotion within]. 

What is a mob .' what would the breaking of every window be : What 

would rhe levelling 1 of this hall be ? Any evidence that we are wrong, or 

-lav. TV is a urood and wholesome institution ? What if the mob 

>honld now burst in upon us, break up our meeting, and commit vio- 

>n our persons, would that be anything compared with what the 

- endure .' No, no; and we do not remember them, " as bound with 

them," it' we shrink in the time of peril, or feel unwilling to sacrifice our- 

is, it' need be, for their sake. [Great noise]. I thank the Lord that 

There i> yet life enough left to feel the truth, even though it rages at it; 

ThaT conscience is not so completely seared as to be unmoved by the 

TniTh of the living God. [Another outbreak of the mob and confusion 

in The house]. 

How wonderfully constituted is the human mind! How it resists, as 

is it can, all efforts to reclaim it from error! I feel that all this 

di>mrbance is but an evidence that our efforts are the best that could 

been adopted, or else the friends of slavery would not care for what 

we say and do. The South know what we do. I am thankful that they 

are reached by our efforts. Many times have I wept in the land of my 

birth over the system of slavery. I knew of none who sympathized in 

my feelings; I was unaware that any efforts were made to deliver the 

oppressed ; no voice in the wilderness was heard calling on the people 

pent and do works meet for repentance, and my heart sickened 

within me. Oh, how should I have rejoiced to know that such efforts as 

were being made. I only wonder that I had such feelings. But in 

the midst of temptation I was preserved, and my sympathy grew warmer, 

and my hatred of slavery more inveterate, until at last I have exiled 

!f from my native land, because I could no longer endure to hear 

tiling of the slave. 

I fled to the land of Penn ; for here, thought I, sympathy for the slave 
will surely be found. But I found it not. The people were kind and 
hospitable, but the slave had no place in their thoughts. I therefore 
shuT up my grief in my own heart. I remembered that I was a Caro- 
linian, from a State which framed this iniquity by law. Every Southern 
breeze wafted to me the discordant tones of weeping and walling, shrieks 
and groans, mingled with prayers and blasphemous curses. My heart 
sank within me at the abominations in the midst of which I had been 
born and educated. What will it avail, cried I, in bitterness of spirit, to 
se to the gaze of strangers the horrors and pollutions of slavery, when 
is no ear to hear nor heart to feel and pray for the slave ? But how 
different do I feel now! Animated with hope, nay, with an assurance of 
the triumph of liberty and good-will to man, I will lift up my voice like 
a trumpet, and show this people what they can do to influence the South- 
ern mind and overthrow slavery. [Shouting, and stones against the 

We often hear the question asked, "What shall we do ?" Here is an 
opportunity. Every man and every woman present may do something, 
by showing that we fear not a mob, and in the midst of revilings and 

336 History of Woman Suffrage. 

threatenings, pleading the cause of those who are ready to perish. Let 
me urge every one to buy the books written on this subject; read them, 
and lend them to your neighbors. Give your money no longer for things 
which pander to pride and lust, but aid in scattering " the living coals of 
truth upon the naked heart of the nation"; in circulating appeals to the 
sympathies of Christians in behalf of the outraged slave. 

But it is said by some, our * ' books and papers do not speak the truth " ; 
why, then, do they not contradict what we say ? They can not. More- 
over, the South has entreated, nay, commanded us, to be silent; and 
what greater evidence of the truth of our publications could be desired ? 

Women of Philadelphia ! allow me as a Southern woman, with much 
attachment to the land of my birth, to entreat you to come up to this 
work. Especially, let me urge you to petition. Men may settle this and 
other questions at the ballot-box, but you have no such right. It is only 
through petitions that you can reach the Legislature. It is, therefore, 
peculiarly your duty to petition. Do you say, u It does no good ! " The 
South already turns pale at the number sent. They have read the re- 
ports of the proceedings of Congress, and there have seen that among 
other petitions were very many from the women of the North on the sub- 
ject of slavery. Men who hold the rod over slaves rule in the councils of 
the nation; and they deny our right to petition and remonstrate against 
abuses of our sex and our kind. We have these rights, however, from our 
God. Only let us exercise them, and, though often turned away unan- 
swered, let us remember the influence of importunity upon the unjust 
judge, and act accordingly. The fact that the South looks jealously upon 
our measures shows that they are effectual. There is, therefore, no cause 
for doubting or despair. 

It was remarked in England that women did much to abolish slavery 
in her colonies. Nor are they now idle. Numerous petitions from them 
have recently been presented to the Queen to abolish apprenticeship, 
with its cruelties, nearly equal to those of the system whose place it sup- 
plies. One petition, two miles and a quarter long, has been presented. 
And do you think these labors will be in vain ? Let the history of the 
past answer. When the women of these States send up to Congress such 
a petition our legislators will arise, as did those of England, and say: 
*' When all the maids and matrons of the land are knocking at our doors 
we must legislate." Let the zeal and love, the faith and works of our 
English sisters quicken ours; that while the slaves continue to suffer, 
and when they shout for deliverance, we may feel the satisfaction of 
" having done what we could." 

ABBY KELLY, of Lynn, Massachusetts, rose, and said : I ask permission 
to say a few words. I have never before addressed a promiscuous assem- 
bly; nor is it now the maddening rush of those voices, which is the indi- 
cation of a moral whirlwind ; nor is it the crashing of those windows, 
which is the indication of a moral earthquake, that calls ine before you. 
No, these pass unheeded by me. But it is the " still small voice within," 
which may not be withstood, that bids me open my mouth for the dumb 
that bids me plead the cause of God's perishing poor; aye, God's poor. 

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man we may well bring home to 

77//v, Tinman**! People. 

8. The North is that rich man. How he is clothed in purple 

tine linen, and fares sumptuously! Y<>n<l>-i\ YOXDKR, at a litth- dis- 

:he gate where lis tin- La/anis of the South, full of sores and 

ing to be fed with the crumbs that fall from our luxurious table. 

6 him there: even the dog- are more merciful than we. ( >h, see 

him where he lies! We have long, very long, passed by with averted 

Ought not we to raise him up; and is there one in this Hall who 

nothing for himself to do ? 

I.rruF.TiA MOTT, of Philadelphia, then stated that the present was not 
a meeting of the Anti-Slavery Convention of American women, as was 
supposed by some, and explained the reason why their meetings were 
ined to females; namely, that many of the members considered it 
improper for women to address promiscuous assemblies. She hoped that 
such false notions of delicacy and propriety would not long obtain in 
this enlightened country. 

AVhile the large Hall was filled with a promiscuous audience, and 
packed through all its sessions with full three thousand people, the 
women held their Convention in one of the committee-rooms. As 
they had been through terrible mobs already in Boston and ^sew 
York, they had learned self-control, and with their coolness and con- 
tion to the principles they advocated, they were a constant in- 
spiration to the men by their side. 

The Second National Anti-Slavery Convention of American 
AVoinen assembled in the lecture-room of Pennsylvania Hall in 
Philadelphia, May 15, 1838, at ten o'clock A.M. The following offi- 
cers were appointed : 

PRESIDENT Mary L. Parker, of Boston. 

VICE-PRESIDENTS Maria Weston Chapman, Catharine M. Sullivan, 
Susan Paul, of Boston, Mass.; Mariana Johnson, Providence, R. L; 
Margaret Prior, Sarah T. Smith, of New York; Martha W. Storrs, of Utica, 
N. Y. ; Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia; Mary W. Magill, of Buckingham, 
Pa.: Sarah Moore Grhnk6, of Charleston, S. C. 

KETARIES Anne W. Weston, Martha V. Ball, of Boston ; Juliana 
i'appan, of New York; Sarah Lewis, of Philadelphia. 

Tin. A SURER Sarah M. Douglass, of Philadelphia. 

Hi SINESS COMMITTEE Sarah T. Smith, Sarah R. Ingraham, Margaret 
Juliana A. Tappan, Martha W. Storrs, New York ; Miriam Hussey, 
Maine; Louisa Whipple, New Hampshire; Lucy N. Dodge, Miriam B. 
Johnson, Maria Truesdell, Waity A. Spencer, Rebecca Pittman, Rhode 
I -land; Lucretia Mott, Mary Grew, Sarah M. Douglass, Hetty Burr, 
.Martha Smith, Pennsylvania; Angelina Grimke Weld, South Carolina. 

< >u motion of SARAH PUGH, Elizabeth M. Southard. Mary G. Chapman, 
and Abby Kelly were appointed a committee to confer with other asso- 
ciations and the managers of Pennsylvania Hall to arrange for meetings 
during the week. 

SARAH T. SMITH, from the Business Committee, presented letters from 

338 History of Woman Suffrage. 

the Female Anti-Slavery Societies of Salem and Cambridgeport, Massa- 
chusetts, signed by their respective secretaries, Mary Spencer and L 

At this time, even the one and only right of woman, that of peti- 
tion, had been trampled under the heel of slavery on the floor of 
Congress, which roused those noble women to a just indignation, as 
will be seen in their resolutions on the subject, presented by Juliana 
A. Tappan : 

Resolved, That whatever may be the sacrifice, and whatever other rights 
may be yielded or denied, we will maintain practically the right of petition 
until the slave shall go free, or our energies, like Lovejoy's, are paralyzed 
in death. 

Resolved, That for every petition rejected by the National Legislature 
during their last session, we will endeavor to send five the present year; 
and that we will not cease our efforts until the prayers of every woman 
within the sphere of our influence shall be heard in the halls of Congress 
on this subject. 

MARY GREW offered the following resolution, which was adopted : 

WHEREAS, The disciples of Christ are commanded to have no fellow- 
ship with the "unfruitful works of darkness"; and 

WHEREAS, Union in His Church is the strongest expression of fellow- 
ship between men ; therefore 

Resolved, That it is our duty to keep ourselves separate from those 
churches which receive to their pulpits and their communion tables 
those who buy, or sell, or hold as property, the image of the living God. 

This resolution was supported by Miss Grew, Lucretia Mott, Ab- 
by Kelly, Maria W. Chapman, Anne W. Weston, Sarah T. Smith, 
and Sarah Lewis ; and opposed by Margaret Dye, Margaret Prior, 
Henrietta Wilcox, Martha W. Storrs, Juliana A. Tappan, Elizabeth 
M. Southard, and Charlotte Woolsey. Those who voted in the neg- 
ative stated that they fully concurred with their sisters in the belief 
that slaveholders and their apologists were guilty before God, and 
that with the former, Northern Christians should hold no fellowship ; 
but that, as it was their full belief that there was moral power sufficient 
iin the Church, if rightly applied, to purify it, they could not feel it 
their duty to withdraw until the utter inefficiency of the means used 
should constrain them to believe the Church totally corrupt. And 
as an expression of their views, Margaret Dye moved the following 
.resolution : 

JResolved, That the system of American slavery is contrary to the laws 
of God and the spirit of true religion, and that the Church is deeply im- 
plicated in this sin, and that it therefore becomes the imperative duty of 

\Vrittt-it 1>[I An : i<l'tini drunk'. 339 

her int'iiibiT> (o petition their ecrlesiastical bodies to enter their decided 
_rain->t it, and exclude slaveholders from their pulpits and com- 

\va> npened hy the reading of the sixth chapter 

Mthians, and prayer by Sarah M. (irimku. An Address tc 

Anti-Sla\vry SK-ietk's was read hy Sarah T. Smith, and adopted. 

from it the plea and argument for woman's right and duty 

rd in all questions of public welfare : 


DEAK FKIKXDS: In that love for our cause which knows not the fear 

in, we address you in confidence that our motives will be under- 

1 and regarded. We fear not censure from you for going beyond the 

which has been drawn around us by physical force, by mental 

usurpation, by the usages of ages; not any one of which can we admit 

gives the right to prescribe it; else might the monarchs of the old world 

sit firmly on their thrones, the nobility of Europe lord it over the man of 

legree, and the chains we are now seeking to break, continue riveted 

:ie neck of the slave. Our faith goes not back to the wigwam of the 

_re, or the castle of the feudal chief, but would rather soar with hope 

at period when "right alone shall make might " ; when the truncheon 

and the sword shall lie useless ; when the intellect and heart shall speak 

And be obeyed; when "He alone whose right it is shall rule and reign in 

hearts of the children of men." 

We are told that it is not within "the province of woman" to discuss 
the subject of slavery; that it is a "political question," and that we are 
pping out of our sphere " when we take part in its discussion. It is 
not true that it is merely a political question; it is likewise a question of 
justice, of humanity, of morality, of religion; a question which, while 
it involves considerations of immense importance to the welfare and 
;>erity of our country, enters deeply into the home concerns the 
y - day feelings of millions of our fellow beings. Whether the 
laborer shall receive the reward of his labor, or be driven daily to 
unrequited toil: whether he shall walk erect in the dignity of con- 
is manhood, or be reckoned among the beasts which perish; 
whether his bones and sinews shall be his own, or another's; whether 
his child shall receive the protection of its natural guardian, or be 
ranked among the live-stock of the estate, to be disposed of as the 
caprice or interest of the master may dictate; whether the sun of 
knowledge shall irradiate the hut of the peasant, or the murky cloud 
norance brood darkly over it; whether "every one shall have the 
lilM-rty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience," 
<>r man assume the prerogative of Jehovah and impiously seek to plant 
himself upon the throne of the Almighty. - These considerations are all 
involved in tin? question of liberty or slavery. 

And is a subject comprehending interests of such magnitude, merely 
& "political question," and one in which woman "can take no part 

340 History of Woman Suffrage. 

without losing something of the modesty and gentleness which are her- 
most appropriate ornaments" ? May not the " ornament of a meek and 
quiet spirit " exist with an upright mind and enlightened intellect? 
Must woman necessarily be less gentle because her heart is open to the 
claims of humanity, or less modest because she feels for the degradation 
of her enslaved sisters, and would stretch forth her hand for their res- 

By the Constitution of the United States, the whole physical \ ower 
of the North is pledged for the suppression of domestic insurrections; 
and should the slaves maddened by oppression endeavor to shake off 
the yoke of the task-master, the men of the North are bound to make 
common cause with the tyrant, to put down at the point of the bayonet 
every effort on the part of the slave for the attainment of his freedom. 
And when the father, husband, son, and brother shall have left their 
homes to mingle in the unholy warfare; " to become the executioners of 
their brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands," will the mother, 
wife, daughter, and sister feel that they have no interest in this subject? 
Will it be easy to convince them that it is no concern of theirs, that 
their homes are rendered desolate and their habitations the abodes of 
wretchedness? Surely this consideration is of itself sufficient to arouse 
the slumbering energies of woman, for the overthrow of a system which 
thus threatens to lay in ruins the fabric of her domestic happiness; and 
she will not be deterred from the performance of her duty to herself, her 
family, and her country, by the cry of "political question." 

But, admitting it to be a political question, have we no interest in the 
welfare of our country? May we not permit a thought to stray beyond 
the narrow limits of our own family circle and of the present hour? 
May we not breathe a sigh over the miseries of our countrywomen nor 
utter a word of remonstrance against the unjust laws that are crushing 
them to the earth? Must we witness "the headlong rage of heedless 
folly " with which our nation is rushing onward to destruction, and not 
seek to arrest its downward course? Shall we silently behold the land 
which we love with all the heart-warm affection of children, rendered a 
hissing and a reproach throughout the world by the system which is 
already " tolling the death-knell of her decease among the nations " ? 

No ; the events of the last two years have ' ' cast their dark shadows 
before," overclouding the bright prospects of the future, and shrouding 
our country in more than midnight gloom ; and we can not remain in- 
active. Our country is as dear to us as to the proudest statesman ; and the 
more closely our hearts cling to " our altars and our homes," the more fer- 
vent are our aspirations, that every inhabitant of our land may be protect- 
ed in his fireside enjoyments by just and equal laws; that the foot of the 
tyrant may no longer invade the domestic sanctuary, nor his hand tear 
asunder those whom God himself has united by the most holy ties. 

Let our course then still be onward! Justice, humanity, patriotism; 
every high and every holy motive urge us forward, and we dare not re- 
fuse to obey. The way of duty lies open before us, and though no pillar 
of fire be visible to the outward sense, yet an unerring light shall illu- 
mine our pathway, guiding us through the sea of persecution and the 

T/alitl'jul South trick. ;;n 

wilderness of prejudice and error, to the promised land of freedom, 
every man shall sit under his own vine and fig-tree, and none 
r*lmll make him afraid." 

NKKUL SOUTHWICK* moved the following: 

Resolved, That it is the duty of all those who call themselves Abolition- 
to make the most vigorous efforts to procure for the use of their 
he products of FREE LABOR, so that their hands may be clean 
in this particular when inquisition is made for blood. 
ESTHER MOORE made remarks upon the importance of carrying into 
r the resolutions that had been passed. 

This was the last meeting held in Pennsylvania Hall ! Business 

;ected with the safety of the building made it necessary for 

members of the board of managers to pass several times through 

the saloon, when this Convention was in session, and they said 

they never saw a more dignified, calm, and intrepid body of persons as- 
>led. Although the building was surrounded all day by the mob who 
ded about the doors, and at times even attempted to enter the 

saloon, yet the women were perfectly collected, unmoved by the threat- 

* In speaking of her, Lydia Maria Child said in her obituary notice in the National 
/ Standard of May 11, 1867 : " All survivors of the old Abolition band will re- 
member Thankful Southwick as one of the very earliest, the noblest, and the most faithful 
of that small army of moral combatants who fought so bravely and so perseveringly for 
. liverance of the down-trodden. Mrs. Southwick was born and educated in the 
Society of Friends, and to their calmness of demeanor she added their indomitable per- 
e in the path of duty. One of the most exciting affairs that ever occurred in Bos- 
as known as the ' Baltimore Slave Case.' Two girls had escaped in a Boston vessel, 
and when about to be carried back, were brought out on a writ of ' habeas coi-pus.' All 
:i was in a ferment for and against the fugitives. The commercial world were de- 
t;i mined that this Southern property should be restored to the white claimants, and the 
i< mists were determined that it should remain in the possession of the originul 
ra until a bill of sale from the Almighty could be produced. By the vigilance and 
/)us arrangements of ' Father Snowden ' and Thankful Southwick, at a given signal 
ives were spirited away from the crowded court-room, and out of the city. The 
'>f the slaveholders standing near Mrs. Southwick, and gazing with astonish nn-nt 
at the empty space, where an instant before the slaves stood, she turned her large gray 
;pon him and said, 'Thy prey hath escaped thee.' Wherever working or thinking 
was to be done for our righteous cause, there was Thankful Southwick ever ready with 
wise counsel and energetic action. She and her excellent husband were among the vorv 
flrst to sustain Garrison in his unequal contest with the strong Goliath of slavery. At 
that time they were in affluent circumstances, and their money was poured forth freelv 
for the unpopular cause which had as yet found no adherents among the rich. Their 
commodious house was a caravansary for fugitive slaves, and for anti-slavery pilgrims 
from all parts of the country. At the anniversary meetings when most of the Abolitionists 
were desirous to have for their guests, Friend Whittier, the Hon. James G. Birney, 
George Thompson, Theodore, or Angelia Weld, Joseph and Thankful Southwick were 
quietly looking about for such of the anti-slavery brothers and sisters as were too little 
known to be likely to receive invitations. Always kindly unpretending, clear-sighted to 
perceive the right, and faithful in following it wherever it might lead. They were up- 
right in all their dealings with the world, tender and true in the relations of private life 
and the memory they have left is a benediction." 

342 History of Woman Suffrage. 

ening tempest. The cause which they were assembled to promote is 
one that nerves the soul to deeds of noble daring. The Convention had 
already adjourned late in the afternoon, when the mob which destroyed 
the building began to assemble. The doors were blocked up by the 
crowd, and the streets almost impassable from the multitude of "fellows 
of the baser sort." But these "American Women " passed through the 
whole without manifesting any sign of fear, as if conscious of their own 
greatness and of the protecting care of the God of the oppressed. 

We give our readers these interesting pages of anti-slavery his- 
tory because they were the initiative steps to organized public action 
and the Woman Suffrage Movement per se^ and to show how much 
more enthusiasm women manifested in securing freedom for the 
slaves, than they ever have in demanding justice and equality for 
themselves. Where are the societies to rescue unfortunate women 
from the bondage they suffer under unjust law ? Where are the 
loving friends who keep midnight vigils with young girls arraigned 
in the courts for infanticide ? Where are the underground rail- 
roads and watchful friends at every point to help fugitive wives 
from brutal husbands ? The most intelligent, educated women 
seem utterly oblivious to the wrongs of their own sex ; even those 
who so bravely fought the anti-slavery battle have never struck as 
stout blows against the tyranny suffered by women. 

Take, for example, the resolution presented by Mary Grew, and 
passed in the Woman's Anti-Slavery Convention forty-three years 
ago, declaring that it was the Christian duty of every woman to with- 
draw from all churches that fellowshiped with slavery, which was a 
sin against God and man. Compare the conscience and religious 
earnestness for a principle implied in such a resolution with the 
apathy and supineness of the women of to-day. No such resolution 
has ever yet passed a woman's rights convention. And yet is injus- 
tice to a colored man a greater sin than to a woman ? Is liberty 
and equality more sweet to him than to her ? Is the declaration 
by the Church that woman may not be ordained or licensed to preach 
the Gospel, no matter how well fitted, how learned or devout, be- 
cause of her sex, less insulting and degrading than the old custom of 
the negro pew ? 

The attitude of the Church to-day is more hostile and insulting 
to* American womanhood than it ever was to the black man, 
by just so much as women are nearer the equals of priests and 
bishops than were the unlettered slaves. When women refuse 
to enter churches that do not recognize them as equal candidates 
for the joys of earth and heaven, equal in the sight of man and 

Ably Keltys First Speech. 343 

!, we shall have a glorious revival of liberty and justice every- 

How fully these pages of history illustrate the equal share woman 
has had in the trials and triumphs of all the political and moral 
revolutions through which we have passed, from feeble colonies to 
an independent nation ; suffering with man the miseries of poverty 
and war, all the evils of bad government, and enjoying with him 
the blessings of luxury and peace, and a wise administration of law. 
The experience of the heroines of anti-slavery show that no tine- 
spun sentimentalism in regard to woman's position in the clouds 
ever exempt her from the duties or penalties of a citizen. Neither 
State officers, nor mobs in the whirlwind of passion, tempered their 
violence for her safety or benefit. 

When women proposed to hold a fair in Concert Hall, their flag 
was torn down from the street, while they and their property were 
ejected by the high constable. When women were speaking in 
Pennsylvania Hall, brickbats were hurled at them through the win- 
dows. When women searched Philadelphia through for a place 
where they might meet to speak and pray for the slave-mother and 
her child (the most miserable of human beings), halls and churches 
were closed against them. And who were these women ? Eloquent 
speakers, able writers, dignified wives and mothers, the most moral, 
religious, refined, cultured, intelligent citizens that Massachusetts, 
Xew York, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania could boast. There 
never was a queen on any European throne possessed of more per- 
sonal beauty, grace, and dignity than Maria Weston Chapman.* 
The calmness and impassioned earnestness of Angelina Grirnke, 
speaking nearly an hour 'mid that howling mob, was not surpassed 
in courage and consecration even by Paul among the wild beasts at 
Ephesus. Here she made her last public speech, and as the glowing 
words died upon her lips, a new voice was heard, rich, deep, and 
clear upon the troubled air ; and the mantle of self-sacrifice, so faith- 
fully worn by South Carolina's brave daughter, henceforth rested 
on the shoulders of an equally brave and eloquent Quaker girl from 

* On a recent visit at the home of Robert Purvis, of Philadelphia, in talking over those 
eventful days one evening in company with Daniel Neale, it was amusing and gratifying 
to hear those gentlemen dilate on the grandeur of her bearing through those mobs in 
Pennsylvania Hall. It seems on that occasion she had a beautiful crimson shawl tin-own 
gracefully over her shoulders. One of these gentlemen remarked, " I kept m\ T eye on that 
shawl, which could be seen now here, now there, its wearer consulting with one, cheering 
another; and I made up my mind that until that shawl disappeared, every man must stand 
by his guns." 

344 History of Woman Suffrage. 

Massachusetts/ who for many years afterward preached the same 
glad tidings of justice, equality, and liberty for all. 


In this reform, also, the women of Pennsylvania took an equally 
active part. We are indebted to Hannah Darlington, of Kennett 
Square, Chester Co., for the following record of the temperance 
work in this State : 

KENNETT SQUARE, 2 mo., 6, 1881. 

DEAR MRS. STANTON: I did not think our early temperance work of 
sufficient account to preserve the reports, hence with considerable re- 
search am able to send you but very little. Many mixed meetings were 
held through the county before 1847. Woods-meetings, with decorated 
stands, were fashionable in Chester in warm weather, for several years 
before we branched off with a call for a public meeting. That brought 
quite a number together in Friends' Meeting-house at Kennett Square, 
where we discussed plans for work and appointed committess to carry 
them out. 

Sidney Peirce, Ann Preston, and myself, each prepared addresses to 
read at meetings called in such places as the Committee arranged; 
and with Chandler Darlington to drive us from place to place, we ad- 
dressed many large audiences, some in the day-time and some in the 
evening; scattered appeals and tracts, and collected names to petitions 
asking for a law against licensing liquor-stands. 

In 1848, we went to Harrisburg, taking an address to the Legislature 
written by Ann Preston, and sanctioned by the meeting that appointed 
us. The address, with our credentials and petitions, was presented to 
the two Houses, read in our presence, and referred to the Committee on 
"Vice and Immorality," which called a meeting and invited us to give 
our address. Sidney Peirce, who was a good reader, gave it with effect 
to a large roomful of the Committee and legislators. It was listened to 
with profound attention, complimented highly, and I think aroused a 
disposition among the best members to give the cause of temperance 
more careful consideration. The Local Option Law was passed by that 

We also aided the mixed meetings by our presence and addresses, and 
by circulating petitions, and publishing appeals in the county papers ; 
helping in every way to arouse discussion and prepare the people to sus- 
tain the new law. But the Supreme Court of the State, through the liq- 
uor influence, declared the law unconstitutional, after a few months' suc- 
cessful trial. Drinking, however, has not been as respectable since that 
time. We continued active work in our association until the inaugura- 
tion of the Good Templars movement, in which men and women worked 
together on terms of equality. 

Respectfully yours, HANNAH M. DARLINGTON. 

* Abby Kelly. 

Prohibition Unconstitutional. 345 


A Temperance Convention of Women of Chester County, met at Marl- 
borough Friends' Meeting-house, on Saturday, the 30th of December, 
and was organized by the appointment of MARTHA HAYHURST, 
Pn-sident; SIDNEY PEIRCE ^nd HANNAH PENNOCK, Secretarie^. 

letters received by a Committee of Correspondence, appointed at a 
Convention last winter, were read ; one, from Pope Bushnell, Chairman 
of the Committee on Vice and Immorality, to which temperance peti- 
tions were referred; and also from our Representatives in the Legisla- 
ture, pledging themselves to use all their influence to obtain the passage 
of a law to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage 
amongst us. The Business Committee reported addresses to the men 
and women of Chester County, which were considered, amended, and 
adopted, as follows : 

lo the Women of Chester County : 

DEAR SISTERS : Again we would urge upon you the duty and neces- 
sity of action in the temperance cause. Notwithstanding the exertions 
that have been made, intoxicating liquors continue to be sold and drank 
in our midst. Still, night after night, the miserable drunkard reels to 
that home he has made desolate. Still, wives and sisters weep in anguish 
as they look on those dearer to them than life, and see, trace by trace, 
their delicacy and purity of soul vanishing beneath the destroying liba- 
tions that tempt them when they pass the domestic threshold. 

We need not depict to you the poverty and crime and unutterable woe 
that result from intemperance, nor need you go far to be reminded of 
the revolting fact, that under the sanction of laws, men still make it a 
deliberate business to deal out that terrible agent, the only effect of 
which is to darken the God-like in the human soul, and to foster in its 
place the appetites of demons. The law passed the 7th of April, 1846, 
under which the sale of intoxicating drinks was prohibited by vote of 
the people in most of the townships in Chester County, has been decided 
by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional; and this decision, by in- 
spiring confidence in the dealers and consumers of the fatal poison, 
seems to have given a new impetus to this diabolical traffic. Wider and 
deeper its ravages threaten to extend themselves; and to every benevo- 
lent mind comes the earnest question, What must now be done ? It is 
too late for women to excuse themselves from, exertion in this cause, on 
the ground that it would be indelicate to leave the sheltered retirement 
of home. Alas ! where is the home-shelter that guards the delicacy of 
the drunkard's wife and daughter ? We all recognize the divine obliga- 
tion to relieve suffering and to cherish virtue as binding alike on man 
and woman. Our hearts thrill at the mention of those women who were 
*' last at the cross and earliest at the grave " of the crucified Nazarine. 
We commend her whose prayers and entreaties once saved her native 
Rome from pillage. We admire the heroism of a Joan of Arc, as it is 
embalmed in history and song. We boast of virgin martyrs to the faith 
of their convictions, and we dare not now put forth the despicable plea 
of feminine propriety to excuse our supineness, when fathers, sons, and 

346 History of Woman Suffrage. 

brothers are falling around us, degraded, bestialized, thrice murdered by 
this foe at our doors. No! we have solemn obligations resting upon us, 
and we should be unfaithful to the holiest call of duty, false to the in- 
stincts of womanhood and the pleading voice of love, if we should sit 
quietly down in careless ease while vice is thus spreading around us, and 
human souls are falling into the fell snare of the destroyer. 

By meeting together and taking counsel one with another, we will be- 
come more alive to our duty in relation to this momentous subject. The 
more we prize the sweet privacy of happy homes, the more strong is the 
appeal to us to labor to make sacred and joyful the hearth-stones of oth- 
ers. If men will remain comparatively supine we must the more ener- 
getically sound the alarm, and point them to the danger. If rulers will 
devise wickedness by law, we must give them no rest, till, like the unjust 
judge, they yield to our very importunity, and repeal their iniquitous stat- 
utes. The temporal and spiritual welfare of many an immortal being is 
at stake, and we should esteem it a high privilege to labor in this holy 
cause with an earnest and, if need be, a life-long consecration. Let us, 
then, apply ourselves devotedly to the work, and a fresh and resistless 
impulse will be given to the temperance reformation. The electrical 
fervor of earnest spirits ever communicates itself to others, and the Leg- 
islature itself can not long resist our united efforts. In such a cause 
" we have great allies." God and humanity are on our side, our own souls 
will be strengthened and elevated by the work; " failure " is a word that 
belongs not to us, since our efforts are in a righteous cause. 

To the Men of Chester County : 

Permit us once more to plead with you on behalf of temperance. We 
know that to some of you this may seem an old and wearisome subject, but 
we know also that the sorrow and crime caused by intemperance are not 
old; new, fresh cases are around us now. Its ravages are repeated every 
day, and we must beseech you to "hear us for our cause." We can not 
be silent while the grog-shop stands like the poisonous upas amongst 
us, and men openly deal out crime and wretchedness in the form of in- 
toxicating drinks. 

We need not in this place enlarge upon the danger ever attendant 
upon the use of those stimulants, nor will we now stop long to dwell 
upon the solemn fact, that whoever, at the demand of appetite, drinks 
even the sweet cider, weakens his own moral strength, becomes a tempter 
to the weak, and casts away the pure influence of an unsullied example. 
Reckless and guilty indeed is that man who, in the light of this day, 
dares to insult humanity and defy heaven by publicly putting the glass 
to his lips. 

Men of Chester County! you possess the power to put a stop to the 
traffic in liquors, and we conjure you by the sacred obligations of virtue 
and humanity, as you hope to stand acquitted before the just tribunal of 
God, to arise in your might and banish it from the community; think, w> 
beseech you, of the depths of pollution to which intemperance leads, of 
the bestial appetites it fosters, of all the unnameable impurities that 
revel in its abodes; think of the hearth-stones desolated, of the mothers 

IMeti of Chester County. 347 

and daughters whose earthly hopes and joys have been destroyed by that 
charnel-house, the tavern. The incendiary who applies the midnight 
torch to peaceful dwellings, the robber who commits murder to secure 
his prey, is not an enemy to society half so dangerous, as he who in- 
flames all evil passions and scatters wretchedness through a com- 
munity, by dispensing alcoholic poison. Oh! are there not sorrows 
enough in our best condition ? have we not temptations strong enough 
within and without ? Shall men progress too fast in the "onward and 
upward " road of virtue and happiness, that you leave before them these 
sinks of pollution, these trap-doors of ruin, these fatal sirens, enticing 
the unwary listener to destruction ? Call us not fanatical. Indifference 
is crime; silence is fatal here. When the midnight cry of fire is sounded, 
you rush from your slumbers, and, heedless of danger, hasten to extin- 
guish the flames; but here is a devouring element, burning on from year 
to year, consuming not mere shingles and rafters, but the priceless hopes 
and aspirations of immortal souls, leaving blackened ruins in the place 
of beauty; and we must continue to cry " Fire! fire! " until you hasten 
to stop the fearful conflagration. Tell us not of liberty and natural 
right, as a plea for this traffic. It is the liberty to rob innocent families 
and reduce them to pauperism ; the right to break hearts and hopes, to 
reduce men to demons, to scatter vice and anguish and desolation around 
the land. Well may we exclaim with Madame Roland, when she was 
taken along the bloody streets of Paris, about to be murdered in the 
abused name of freedom, "Oh, Liberty, what crimes are committed in 
thy name ! " 

Fathers and brothers, shall woman in her agony, and man in his deg- 
radation, appeal to you in vain ? Too long has this evil been borne, too 
long have minor points of public good taken precedence of this reform. 
It must not be that you will be content to dwell in quiet indifference, in 
the midst of a rum-selling community, and die, leaving your children ex- 
posed to the tempter's snare. It must not be endured that this infernal 
traffic, this shame to civilization, this slur on Christianity, shall continue 
amongst us. It must not be endured that men shall be clothed with 
the monstrous authority to demoralize neighborhoods and scatter the 
fire-brands of death and destruction. The power to arrest this horrible 
work is in your hands. Be vigilant, be active. There is resistless might 
in the energy of earnest wills devoted to a noble cause. Petition, re- 
monstrate, work while yet it is day. Say not that we can gain nothing 
by petitioning. Was it not through this means, we obtained the law 
under which a vote of the majority excluded the sale of itoxicating liq- 
uors amongst us ? Did not our petitions last winter cause a bill for its 
prohibition to be reported in the Legislature, which was lost in the