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Title: History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I
Author: Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902 [Editor], Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906 [Editor], Gage, Matilda Joslyn, 1826-1898 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Edited by


Illustrated with Steel Engravings.

In Three Volumes.




[Illustration: FRANCES WRIGHT (with autograph).]

Second Edition.

Susan B. Anthony.
Rochester, N. Y.: Charles Mann.
London: 25 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.
Paris. G. Fischbacher, 33 Rue De Seine.

Copyright, 1881, by
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and
Matilda Joslyn Gage.

Copyright, 1887, by Susan B. Anthony.

                          THESE VOLUMES



                             TO THE

                            Memory of

                       MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT,
              ELIZA W. FARNHAM, LYDIA F. FOWLER, M.D.,
                        PAULINA WRIGHT DAVIS,

        Whose Earnest Lives and Fearless Words, in Demanding
               Political Rights for Women, have been,
                 in the Preparation of these Pages,
                       a Constant Inspiration


                           The Editors.


In preparing this work, our object has been to put into permanent
shape the few scattered reports of the Woman Suffrage Movement 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 emancipation, 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 oar co-workers have already fallen asleep,
and that in a few years all who could tell the story will have passed

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 prepare 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."
Viewing 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
individualism in woman.

Woven with the threads of this history, we have given some personal
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 fight 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."









  Individualism rather than Authority--Personal appearance of
  Abolitionists--Attempt to silence Woman--Doable 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 19-80,
  1848--Property Bights 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 Rochester--
  Opposition with Bible arguments                                     63



  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--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



  The promised land of fugitives--"Uncle Tom's Cabin"--Salem Convention,
  1850--Akron, 1851--Massilon, 1853--The address to the women of
  Ohio--The Mohammedan law forbidding pigs, dogs, women, and other
  impure animals to enter a Mosque--The _New York Tribune_--Cleveland
  Convention, 1853--Hon. Joshua K. Giddings--Letter from Horace
  Greeley--A glowing eulogy to Mary Wollstonecraft--William Henry
  Channing's Declaration--The pulpit and public sentiment--President Asa
  Mahan debates--The Rev. Dr. Nevin 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                                                       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 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. Wm. G. Eliot, and Rev. Mr. Weaver      171



  Women in the Revolution--Anti-Tea Leagues--Phillis Wheatley--Mistress
  Anne Hutchinson--Heroines in the Slavery Conflict--Women Voting under
  the Colonial Charter--Mary Upton Ferrin Petitions the Legislature in
  1848--Woman's Rights Convention in 1850, '51--Letter of Harriet
  Martineau from England--Letter 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 Taxation--Lucy
  Stone's Protest against the Marriage Laws--Boston Conventions--
  Theodore Parker on Woman's Position                                201



  Indiana Missionary Station--Gen. Arthur St. Clair--Indian
  surprises--The 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--Robert Dale
  Owen--Woman Suffrage Conventions--Wisconsin--C. L. Sholes' report  290



  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 Grimké--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--Philadelphia
  Convention, 1854--Lucretia Mott answers Richard H. Dana--Jane Grey
  Swisshelm--Sarah Josepha Hale--Anna McDowell--Rachel Foster searching
  the records--Sketch of Angelina Grimké                             320



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



  Tory feeling in New Jersey--Hannah Arnett rebuked the traitor
  spirit--Mrs. Dissosway 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 Historical
  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 pronunciamentos 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 platform--Senator Seward discussing
  Woman's Rights at a dinner-party--Mrs. Seward 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 excitement over a fugitive wife from the insane
  asylum--The Bloomer costume--Gerrit Smith's home                   456



  First Steps in New York--Woman's Temperance Convention, Albany,
  January, 1852--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 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 Convention,
  1852--Mob in the Broadway Tabernacle Woman's Rights Convention through
  two days, 1853--State Woman's Rights Convention at Rochester,
  December, 1853--Albany Convention, February, 1854, and Hearing before
  the Legislature 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 Committees, until the War--Married Women's
  Property Law, 1860--Bill before the Legislature Granting Divorce for
  Drunkenness--Horace Greeley and Thurlow Weed oppose it--Ernestine L.
  Rose, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Address the
  Legislature in favor of the Bill--Robert Dale Owen defends the Measure
  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                                    472



  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 England--Marriage 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--Rev. Knox-Little--Pan-Presbyterians--Quakers not as liberal
  as they have been considered--Restrictive action of the Methodist
  Church--Offensive debate upon ordaining Miss Oliver--The Episcopal
  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 degradation--
  Wives still sold in the market-place as "mares," by ahalter around
  their necks--Degrading servile labor performed by woman in Christian
  countries--A lower degradation--"Queen's women"--"Government
  women"--Interpolations in the Bible--Letter from Howard Crosby,
  D.D., LL.D.                                                        752

  APPENDIX                                                           801


                                   VOL. I.

  FRANCES WRIGHT                                            Frontispiece
  ERNESTINE L. WRIGHT                                           page  97
  FRANCES D. GAGE                                                    129
  CLARINA HOWARD NICHOLS                                             193
  PAULINA WRIGHT DAVIS                                               273
  LUCRETIA MOTT                                                      369
  ANTOINETTE L. BROWN                                                449
  AMELIA BLOOMER                                                     497
  SUSAN B. ANTHONY                                                   577
  MARTHA C. WRIGHT                                                   641
  ELIZABETH CADY STANTON                                             721
  MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE                                                753


The prolonged slavery of woman is the darkest page in human history. A
survey of the condition of the race through those barbarous 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 gradually, one
after another, asserting and maintaining their independence, 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 happiness
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 chivalrous 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

It is 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 might 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 we
not also see the great changes in woman's condition, the marvelous
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 condition, and that
society has not yet conceded all that is necessary for its attainment.

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
institutions, 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. When the State of New
York gave married women certain rights of property, the individual
existence of the wife was recognized, and the old idea that "husband
and wife are one, and that one the husband," received its death-blow.
From that hour the statutes of the several States have been steadily
diverging from the old English codes. Most of the Western States
copied the advance legislation of New York, and some are now even more

The broader demand for political rights has not commanded the thought
its merits and dignity should have secured. While complaining 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 refinement.

A certain odium has ever rested on those who have risen above the
conventional level and sought new spheres for thought and action, 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, knowledge 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 society; 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 suffrage is a natural
right that may be regulated, but can not be abolished by State law.

Under the influence of these liberal principles of republicanism that
pervades all classes of American minds, however vaguely, if suddenly
called out, they might be stated, woman readily perceives the
anomalous position she occupies in a republic, where the government
and religion alike are based on individual conscience and
judgment--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,
wages, 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 element 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 debts. Hence
in the several States able men championed these early measures. 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." The
fear of a social revolution thus complicated the discussion. The
Church, too, took alarm, knowing that with the freedom and education
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 the Bible
anew from her own stand-point, and claim an equal voice in all
ecclesiastical councils. With fierce warnings and denunciations from
the pulpit, and false interpretations of Scripture, women have been
intimidated and misled, and their religious feelings have 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 defended 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 are now
giving us higher and purer expositions of the Scriptures.

As the social and religious objections appeared against the demand for
political rights, the discussion became many-sided, contradictory, 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 question." 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 indifference 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 and duplicity of the slaves themselves. That little band of
heroes who precipitated the American Revolution in 1776 were so
ostracised that they walked the streets with bowed heads, from a sense
of loneliness and apprehension. Woman's apathy to the wrongs of her
sex, instead of being a plea for her remaining in her present
condition, is the strongest argument against it. How completely
demoralized by her subjection must she be, who does not feel her
personal dignity assailed when all women are ranked in every State
Constitution with idiots, lunatics, criminals, and minors; when in the
name of Justice, man holds one scale for woman, another for himself;
when by the spirit and letter of the laws she is made responsible for
crimes committed against her, while the male criminal goes free; when
from altars where she worships no woman may preach; when in the
courts, where girls of tender age may be arraigned for the crime of
infanticide, she may not plead for the most miserable of her sex; when
colleges she is taxed to build and endow, 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 insensible 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, "the difference between the sexes indicates different
spheres." It would be nearer the truth to say the difference indicates
different duties in the same sphere, seeing that man and woman were
evidently made for each other, and have shown equal capacity in the
ordinary range of human duties. In governing nations, leading armies,
piloting ships across the sea, rowing life-boats in terrific gales; in
art, science, invention, literature, woman has proved herself the
complement of man in the world of thought and action. This difference
does not compel us to spread our tables with different food for man
and woman, nor to provide in our common schools a different course of
study for boys and girls. Sex pervades all nature, yet the male and
female tree and vine and shrub rejoice in the same sunshine and shade.
The earth and air are free to all the fruits and flowers, yet each
absorbs what best ensures its growth. But whatever it is, it requires
no special watchfulness on our part to see that it is maintained. This
plea, when closely analyzed, is generally found to mean woman's

The superiority of man, however, does not enter into the demand for
suffrage, for in this country all men vote; and as the lower orders of
men are not superior, either by nature or grace, to the higher orders
of women, they must hold and exercise the right of self-government on
some other ground than superiority to women.

Again it is said, "Woman when independent and self-asserting 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 individual 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 degrade
politics, and politics would degrade woman." As the influence of woman
has been uniformly elevating in new civilizations, in missionary 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
ennobling 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; government
needs force behind it,--a woman could not be sheriff or a policeman."
She might not fill these offices in the way men do, but 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 direct her forces
and keep order without ever using a baton or a pistol in her own
hands. "The elements of sovereignty," says Blackstone, "are three:
wisdom, goodness, and power." Conceding to woman wisdom and goodness,
as they are not strictly masculine virtues, and substituting moral
power for physical force, we have the necessary elements of government
for most of life's emergencies. Women manage families, mixed schools,
charitable institutions, large boarding-houses and hotels, farms and
steam-engines, drunken and disorderly men and women, and stop street
fights, as well as men do. The queens in history compare favorably
with the kings.

But, "in the settlement of national difficulties," it is said, "the
last resort is war; shall we summon our wives and mothers to the
battle-field?" Women have led armies in all ages, have held positions
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 exempt
from military duty. All men over forty-five, all who suffer mental or
physical disability, such as the loss of an eye or a forefinger;
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
support,--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 "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 for 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 act of voting occupies but
little time in itself, and the vast majority of women will attend to
their family and social affairs to the neglect of the State, just as
men do to their individual interests. The virtue of patriotism is
subordinate in most souls to individual and family aggrandizement. As
to offices, it is not to be supposed that the class of 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 expediency 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 parallel 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 children and
servants, whose aspirations and ambitions rise no higher than the roof
that shelters it, is necessarily dwarfed in its proportions. 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

Quite as many false ideas prevail as to woman's true position in the
home as to her status elsewhere. Womanhood is the great fact in her
life; wifehood and motherhood are but incidental relations.
Governments legislate for men; we do not have one code for bachelors,
another for husbands and fathers; neither have the social relations 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 sentiment is love of
children; that in this relation her soul finds complete satisfaction.
But the love of offspring, common to all orders of women and all forms
of animal life, tender and beautiful as it is, can not as a sentiment
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 supreme powers
in nature, the positive and negative magnetism, the centrifugal and
centripetal forces, the masculine and feminine elements, possessing
the divine power of creation, in the universe of thought and action.
Two pure souls fused into one by an impassioned love--friends,
counselors--a mutual support and inspiration to each other amid life's
struggles, must know the highest human happiness;--this is marriage;
and this is the only corner-stone of an enduring home. Neither does
ordinary motherhood, assumed without any high purpose or preparation,
compare in sentiment with the lofty ambition and conscientious
devotion of the artist whose pure children of the brain in poetry,
painting, music, and science are ever beckoning her upward into an
ideal world of beauty. They who give the world a true philosophy, a
grand poem, a beautiful painting or statue, or can tell the story of
every wandering star; a George Eliot, a Rosa Bonheur, an Elizabeth
Barrett Browning, a Maria Mitchell--whose blood has flowed to the
higher arches of the brain,--have lived to a holier purpose than they
whose children are of the flesh alone, into whose minds they have
breathed no clear perceptions of great principles, no moral
aspiration, no spiritual life.

Her rights are as completely ignored in what is adjudged to be woman's
sphere as out of it; the woman is uniformly sacrificed to the wife and
mother. Neither law, gospel, public sentiment, nor domestic affection
shield her from excessive and enforced maternity, depleting alike to
mother and child;--all opportunity for mental improvement, health,
happiness--yea, life itself, being ruthlessly sacrificed. The weazen,
weary, withered, narrow-minded wife-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 has never given one
thought to the higher life, liberty, and happiness of the woman by his
side; believing her self-abnegation to be Nature's law.

It is often asked, "if political equality would not rouse antagonisms
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 hesitate in proposing any change
whatever. But the apathy, the helpless, hopeless resignation of a
subjected class can not be called happiness. 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 civilization. A woman
growing up under American ideas of liberty in government and religion,
having never blushed behind a Turkish mask, nor pressed her feet in
Chinese shoes, can not brook any disabilities based on sex alone,
without a deep feeling of antagonism with the power that creates it.
The change needed to restore good feeling can not be reached by
remanding woman 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 inventions have banished the spinning-wheel,
and the same law of progress makes the woman of to-day a different
woman from her grandmother.

With these brief replies to the oft-repeated objections made by the
opposition, we hope to rouse new thoughts in minds prepared to receive
them. That equal rights for woman have not long ago been secured, is
due to causes beyond the control of the actors in this reform. "The
success of a movement," says Lecky, "depends much less upon the force
of its arguments, or upon the ability of its advocates, than the
predisposition of society to receive it."



As civilization advances there is a continual change in the standard
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. Although 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 certain 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 surrendered their most sacred rights of
conscience. In all periods of human 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

Again, "subjection to the powers that be" has been the lesson of both
Church and State, throttling science, checking invention, crushing
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 themselves to popes, nations
have knelt at the feet of monarchs, and individuals have sold
themselves to others under the subtle promise of "protection"--a word
that simply means release from all responsibility, all use of one's
own faculties--a word that has ever blinded people to its true
significance. Under authority and this false promise of "protection,"
self-reliance, the first incentive to freedom, has not only been lost,
but the aversion of mankind for responsibility has been fostered by
the few, whose greater bodily strength, 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 out 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 against the internal law of
progress, certain beliefs have been inculcated, certain crimes
invented, in order to intimidate the masses. Hence, the Church 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 God and the king, to
be speedily and severely punished. In this union of Church and State
mankind touched the lowest depth of degradation. As late as the time
of Bunyan the chief doctrine inculcated from the pulpit was obedience
to the temporal power.

All these influences fell with crushing weight on woman; more
sensitive, helpless, and imaginative, she suffered a thousand fears
and wrongs where man did one. Lecky, in his "History of Rationalism in
Europe," shows that the vast majority of the victims of fanaticism 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 barbarism, thanks God there
is no system of caste in Europe; ignoring the fact that in all its
dire and baneful effects, the caste of sex everywhere exists, creating
diverse codes of morals for men and women, diverse penalties for
crime, diverse industries, diverse religions and educational rights,
and diverse relations to the Government. Men are the Brahmins, women
the Pariahs, under our existing civilization. Herbert Spencer's
"Descriptive Sociology of England," an epitome of English history,
says: "Our laws are based on the all-sufficiency of man's rights, and
society exists to-day for woman only in so far as she is in the
keeping of some man." Thus society, including our systems of
jurisprudence, civil and political theories, trade, commerce,
education, religion, friendships, and family life, have all been
framed on the sole idea of man's rights. Hence, he takes upon himself
the responsibility of directing and controlling the powers of woman,
under that all-sufficient excuse of tyranny, "divine right." This same
cry of divine authority created the castes of India; has for ages
separated its people into bodies, with different 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 not in its
final result so much to be feared as the opposition of those holding
political power. The Church, knowing this, has in all ages aimed to
connect itself with the State. Political freedom guarantees religious
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 perpetuate tyranny.
The thinkers and actors who find their authority within, are those who
inaugurate freedom. Obedience to outside authority 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 institutions. 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 Catholicism 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 individual
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. Although woman has
performed much of the labor of the world, her industry and economy
have been the very means of increasing her degradation. Not being
free, the results of her labor have gone to build up and sustain the
very class that has perpetuated this injustice. 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 uncomplaining 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 deteriorated.
Confined most of the time to the house, she has neither as strong
lungs nor as vigorous a digestion as her brother. Forbidden 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 has 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 judging.

Woman has been the great unpaid laborer of the world, and although
within the last two decades a vast number of new employments have been
opened to her, statistics prove that in the great majority of these,
she is not paid according to the value of the work done, but according
to sex. The opening of all industries to woman, and the wage question
as connected with her, are most subtle and profound questions of
political economy, closely interwoven with the rights of

The revival of learning had its influence upon woman, and we find in
the early part of the fourteenth century a decided tendency 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 opposition to the general
licentious spirit of the age. Margaret of Angoulême, the brilliant
Queen of Navarre, was a voluminous writer, her Heptaméron 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 believers 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 Platonic
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, possessed many women of learning, one of whom, Lucrezia
Morinella, a Venetian lady, wrote a work entitled, "The Nobleness and
Excellence 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 History of Women, John Paul Ribera's
work upon Women, the two huge quartos of De Costa upon the same
subject, Count Ségur'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 reign of Elizabeth,
England was called the Paradise of Women. When Elizabeth ascended the
throne, it was not only as queen, but she succeeded her father as the
head of the newly-formed rebellious Church, and she held firm grasp on
both Church and State during the long years of her reign, bending
alike priest and prelate to her fiery will. The reign of Queen Anne,
called the Golden Age of English Literature, is especially noticeable
on account of Mary Astell and Elizabeth Elstob. The latter, speaking
nine languages, was most famous for her skill in the Saxon tongue. She
also replied to current objections made to woman's learning. Mary
Astell elaborated a plan for a Woman's College, which was favorably
received by 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 ages,
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 people had defied its
monarchs and wrested from them many civil rights, rights which
protected women as well as men, and although its common 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 Conquest, abbesses sat in councils of
the Church and signed its decrees; while kings were even dependent
upon their consent in granting certain 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 communicated the orders of Heaven to the Pope
himself. Ladies of birth and quality sat in council with the Saxon
Witas--_i.e._, wise men--taking part in the Witenagemot, the great
National Council of our Saxon ancestors in England. In the seventh
century this National Council met at Baghamstead to enact a new code
of laws, the queen, abbesses, and many ladies of quality taking part
and signing the decrees. Passing by other similar instances, we find
in the reign of Henry III, that four women took seats in Parliament,
and in the 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 Christian 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, being in great degree restorations and compilations from
the laws of Martia, which were known as the "Martian Statutes."

When the American colonies 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 "Women of the Revolution"
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 principles 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
Revolution. 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 rendered firm and enduring by the
similarity of their intellects and political views. The home of Mrs.
Warren was the resort of patriotic spirits and the headquarters of the
rebellion. She herself wrote, "By the Plymouth fireside were many
political plans organized, 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 "inherent rights," a phrase afterward made the
corner-stone of political authority. Mrs. Warren asserted that
"'inherent rights' belonged 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 Pennsylvania, Jefferson, Gerry, and Knox. She was the first
person who counseled separation and pressed those views upon John
Adams, when 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
Philadelphia for having dared to hint such a possibility. Mrs. Warren
sustained his sinking courage and urged him to bolder steps. Her
advice 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
dissemination 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 correspondents at
that time. She wrote several works of a republican character, for home
influence; among these, in 1775. "An Address 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
American's 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 woman should be
unrecognized, demanding for her a voice and representation. 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 generous 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 over woman, declaring all arbitrary power dangerous and
tending to revolution. Nor was she less mindful of equal advantages
of education. "If you complain of education in sons, what shall I say
in regard to daughters, who every day experience the want of it?" She
expressed 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 masculine selfishness in showing the reflex action woman's
education would have upon man. "If," said she, "we mean to have
heroes, statesmen, and philosophers, we should have learned women."
Thus did the Revolutionary Mothers urge the recognition of equal
rights when the Government was 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 May, 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 patriotism 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 allowed 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 women 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 continually 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 Women,"
published in London, attracted much attention from liberal 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 representation. 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 contemporaries 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 "Conversations 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 hundred 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 person 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 _Daily
News_, the second paper in circulation in England, for many years
writing five long articles weekly, also to Dickens' _Household Words_,
and the _Westminster Review_. She saw clearly the spirit and purpose
of the Anti-Slavery Movement in this country, and was a regular
contributor to the _National Anti-Slavery Standard_, published in New
York. Eliza Lynn, an Irish lady, was at this time writing leading
editorials for political papers. In Russia, Catharine II., the
absolute and irresponsible ruler of that vast nation, gave utterance
to views, of which, says La Harpe, the revolutionists of France 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 executions of
women on account of their radical political opinions, Madame Roland,
the leader of the liberal party in France, going to the guillotine
with the now famous words upon her lips, "Oh, Liberty, what crimes are
committed in thy name!" The beautiful Charlotte Corday sealed with her
life her belief in liberty, while Sophia Lapiérre barely escaped the
same fate; though two men, Siéyes and Condorcét, in the midst of the
French Revolution, proposed the recognition of woman's political

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 people had been
proclaimed; she was filled with joy and a determination to visit the
American Republic where the foundations of justice, 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 first 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 Government of the United States was framed
on the basis of entire separation of Church and State, yet from an
early day the theological 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, devout, woman's general lack of education made her a
fitting instrument for the work of thus undermining the republic.
Having deprived her of her just rights, the country was new to find in
woman its most dangerous foe. Frances Wright lectured that winter in
the 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 country 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 reformer
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, introducing 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, invited 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 this
institution, which was the first instance in the United States of
Government aid for the education of women. Amos B. Eaton, Professor of
the Natural Sciences in the Rensselaer Institute, Troy, at this time,
was Mrs. Willard'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 afford teachers for these branches, with faithful study she
fitted herself. Mrs. Willard's was the first girls' school in which
the higher mathematics formed part of the course, but such was the
prejudice against a liberal education for woman, that the first public
examination of a girl in geometry (1829) created as bitter a storm of
ridicule as has since assailed women who have entered the law, the
pulpit, or the medical profession. The derision attendant upon the
experiment of advancing woman's education, led Governor Clinton to say
in his message to the Legislature: "I trust you will not be deterred
by commonplace ridicule from extending your munificence to this
meritorious institution." At a school convention in Syracuse, 1845,
Mrs. Willard suggested the employment of woman 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 student, 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 study.

In Ancient Egypt the medical profession was in the hands of women, to
which we may attribute that country's almost entire exemption from
infantile diseases, a fact which recent discoveries fully
authenticate. The enormous death-rate of young children in modern
civilized 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 surgery, it is but
recently that they have been welcomed as practitioners 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 Bunyan prepared his
"Pilgrim's Progress" 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 Condrày's invention of the manikin, are among
the notable steps which opened the way to the modern Elizabeth
Blackwell, Harriot K. Hunt, Clemence 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.[1] Mariana 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.[2] In 1845-6, preceding Miss
Blackwell's course of study, Dr. Samuel Gregory and his brother George
issued pamphlets advocating the education and employment 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 "American
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. Rose, 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 New York, a
leading member of the Bar, wrote a vigorous work on "Human Rights,"[3]
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 married women their rights
of property. This bill was drawn up under the direction of Hon. John
Savage, Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court, and Hon. John C. Spencer,
one of the revisers of the statutes of New York. It was in furtherance
of this bill that Ernestine L. Rose and Paulina Wright at that early
day circulated petitions. The very few names they secured show the
hopeless apathy and ignorance of the women as to their own rights. As
similar bills[4] were pending in New York until finally passed in
1848, a great educational work was accomplished in the constant
discussion of the topics involved. During the winters of 1844-5-6,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 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 resolved 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. Angelina 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 harmony with the expressed will of God.
Thus women from the beginning took an active part in the Anti-Slavery
struggle. They circulated 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 documents.

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 prevailed. The
debates, resolutions, speeches, and appeals were fully equal to those
in any Convention held by men of that period. Angelina 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 District 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, Mrs. A. L.
Cox, Rebecca B. Spring, and Abigail Hopper Gibbons, a daughter 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 opportunity. For
listening to her, on Sunday, many men and women were expelled from
their churches. Thus through continued persecution was woman's
self-assertion and self-respect sufficiently developed 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 Century." This, with her
parlor conversations, on art, science, religion, politics, philosophy,
and social life, gave a new impulse to woman's education as a

"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, assisted by
Georgiana Bruce Kirby and Mariana Johnson, are worthy of mention.

In the State of New York, in 1845, Rev. Samuel J. May preached a
sermon at Syracuse, upon "The Eights and Conditions of Women," in
which he sustained their right to take part in political life, saying
women need not expect "to have their wrongs fully redressed, until
they themselves have a voice and a hand in the enactment and
administration of the laws."

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

In 1849, Lucretia Mott published a discourse on woman, delivered in
the Assembly Building, Philadelphia, in answer to a Lyceum lecture
which Richard H. 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 beyond that
of man, early gave them a local place on this platform as a favor,
though denied as a right. Delegates from woman's societies 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, N. 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, N. 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.

Nor 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 intellectual 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, declared it to be woman's right and
duty to vote. These essays were strong, vigorous, and convincing. Miss
Weber also lectured in Vienna, Berlin, and several of the large German
cities. In England, Lady Morgan's "Woman and her Master" appeared;--a
work filled with philosophical reflections, and of the same general
bearing as Miss Weber'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 pungently 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 Sand, Frederika Bremer, Charlotte Bronté, George
Eliot, Catharine Sedgwick, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, in literature;
Mrs. Hemans, Mrs. Sigourney, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in poetry;
Angelica Kauffman, Rosa Bonheur, Harriet Hosmer, in art; Mary
Somerville, 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.


[1] 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.

[2] The writer's father, a physician, as early as 1843-4, canvassed
the subject of giving his daughter (Matilda Joslyn Gage) a medical
education, looking to Geneva--then presided over by his old
instructor--to open its doors to her. But this bold idea was dropped,
and Miss Blackwell was the first and only lady who was graduated from
that Institution until its incorporation with the Syracuse University
and the removal of the college to that city.

[3] Judge Hurlbut, with a lawyer's prejudice, first prepared a paper
against the rights of woman. Looking it over, he saw himself able to
answer every argument, which he proceeded to do--the result being his
"Human Rights."

[4] In the New York chapter a fuller account of the discussion and
action upon these bills will be given.

[5] See Appendix.



In newspaper literature woman made her entrance at an early period 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 Franklin 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 carried it on for many years, making it both a literary and a
pecuniary success. The second newspaper 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
Baltimore in 1773. Mrs. Mary K. Goddard published the _Maryland
Journal_ for eight years. Her editorials were of so spirited and
pronounced a character that only her sex saved her from sound
floggings. She took in job work. She was the first postmaster after
the Revolution, holding the office for eight years. Two papers were
early published in Virginia by women. Each was established in
Williamsburg, and each was called _The Virginia Gazette_. The first,
started by Clementina Reid, in 1772, favored the Colonial cause,
giving great offense to many royalists. To counteract its influence,
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 Colonial _Virginia
Gazette_ was the first paper in which was printed the Declaration of
Independence. A synopsis was given July 19th, and the whole document
the 26th. Mrs. Elizabeth Timothee published 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 1771. She set her own type,
and was such a ready compositor as to set up her editorials without
written copy, while working 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 besieged by the British. Mrs. Sarah
Goddard printed a paper at Newport, R. I., in 1776. She was a
well-educated woman, and versed in general literature. For 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 edited for two years by Mrs. Watson, after the
death of her husband, in 1777. In 1784 Mrs. Mary Holt edited and
published the _New York Journal_, continuing the business several
years. She was appointed 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 correctness in proof-reading. The _Free
Enquirer_, edited in New York by Frances Wright in 1828, "was the
first periodical 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
Indiana, by Robert Dale Owen, for which Mrs. Wright had written many
leading editorials, and in which she published serially "A Few Days in

Sarah Josepha Hale established a ladies' magazine in Boston in 1827,
which she afterward removed to Philadelphia, there associating with
herself Louis Godey, and assuming the editorship of _Godey'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 important 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 assumed 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 appearance in 1840; its
contributors, among whom were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott,
Theodore Parker, Wm. H. Channing, and the nature-loving Thoreau, were
some of the most profound thinkers of the time. Charlotte Fowler
Wells, the efficient coadjutor of her brothers and husband for the
last forty-two years in the management of _The Phrenological Journal_
and Publishing House of Fowler & 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 novels, and
Harriet Farley, both "mill girls," had entire editorial charge during
the latter part of its existence. In Vermont, Clarina Howard Nichols
edited the _Windham County Democrat_ from 1843 to 1853. It was a
political paper of a pronounced character; her husband was the
publisher. Jane G. Swisshelm edited _The Saturday Visitor_, at
Pittsburg, 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 Woman's Rights,
and attained a circulation in nearly every State and Territory of the
Union. _The Sybil_ soon followed, Dr. Lydia Sayre Hasbrook, editor;
also _The Pledge of Honor_, edited by N. M. Baker and E. Maria
Sheldon, Adrian, Michigan.

In 1849, _Die Frauen Zeitung_, edited by Mathilde Franceska Anneke,
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, Julia Ward Howe edited, with her
husband, _The Commonwealth_, a newspaper dedicated to free thought,
and zealous for the liberty of the slave. In 1851, Mrs. C. C. Bentley
was editor 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
motto 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
Woman's Rights. In 1853, _The Una_, a paper devoted to the
enfranchisement 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 _Era_, an anti-slavery
paper, in Washington, D. C., after her husband'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; women, their rights and nothing less." In 1870 it passed
into the hands of Laura Curtis Bullard, who edited 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 advocated. Many other papers devoted
to the discussion of woman's enfranchisement soon arose. In 1869, _The
Pioneer_, in San Francisco, Cal., Emily Pitts Stevens, editor and
proprietor. _The Woman's Advocate_, at Dayton, O., A. J. Boyer and
Miriam M. Cole, editors, started the same year. _The Sorosis_ and _The
Agitator_, in Chicago, Ill., the latter owned and edited by Mary A.
Livermore, and _The Woman's Advocate_, in New York, were all alike
short-lived. _L'Amérique_, a semi-weekly French paper published in
Chicago, Ill., by Madam Jennie d'Héricourt, and _Die Neue Zeit_, a
German paper, in New York, by Mathilde F. Wendt, this same year, show
the interest 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
Claflin'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 Northwest_, 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 Langdon
Williams, editor, under the auspices of the city Woman's Suffrage
Association. It was moved to Syracuse in 1878, and is now edited 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 California.
In opposition to this large array of papers demanding equality 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 Centennial 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, Penfield, N. 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_. _L'Avenir des Femmes_, edited by M. Leon
Richer, has Mlle. Maria Dairésmes, the author of a spirited reply to
the work of M. Dumas, _fils_, on Woman, as its special contributor.
_L'Ésperance_, of Geneva, an Englishwoman its editor, was an early
advocate of woman's cause. _La Donna_, at Venice, edited by Signora
Gualberti Aläide 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 countries which have
published Woman's Rights papers. In Lima, Peru, we find a paper edited
and controlled entirely by women; its name, _Alborada_, _i.e._, 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_, devoted to the interests of Indian ladies,
its editorials all from woman'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 Demorest's Monthly_, a paper that originated the vast
pattern business which has extended its ramifications 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 week for the _Ledger_, and for
twenty years Jennie June (Mrs. Croly) has edited _Demorest's Monthly_
and contributed to many other papers 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 editorials 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
substitute for the divine right of kings, priests, and orders of
nobility, the higher and broader one of individual conscience and
judgment 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-born liberties suddenly announced
to the world. That the radical political theories, propagated 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 political
questions, and have more frequently spoken and written on such themes,
than on those merely religious. This may be attributed, 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

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
compassed the known, are ambitious to enter and explore. And yet, the
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 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 wonders
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 philosophy, 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 simultaneously 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 movement 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 government.

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 property
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 firesides. 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 lectures of
Frances Wright, on political, religious, and social questions.
Ernestine L. Rose, 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 Movement," 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 appearance, 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, Paulina 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 maintained 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
congregations against the influence of such women. The clergy
identified 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, 1840, a formal vote was taken on the
appointment of Abby Kelly on a business committee and was sustained by
over one hundred majority in favor of woman's right to take part in
the proceedings 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 committees,
not only precipitated the division in the ranks of the American
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 assembly. But
after going three thousand miles to attend a World's Convention, it
was discovered that women formed no part of the constituent 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 pulpit, who had been the cause of
setting all American Abolitionists by the ears, and split their ranks
asunder, were on their way to England. Their fears of these formidable
and belligerent women must have been somewhat appeased when Lucretia
Mott, Sarah Pugh, 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
trepidation, 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 the 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 withhold 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 discretionary power in the proposed action,
and the responsibility of accepting or rejecting them must rest on the

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 standing;
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

     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-slavery 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, limiting 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 Massachusetts. We stand here in
     consequence of your invitation, and knowing our custom, as it
     must be presumed you did, we had a right to interpret "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. Bowring: 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 meeting. 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-operation 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 custom, so far
as to withdraw their credentials, as it never did occur to the British
and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society that they were 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
     violation 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 consideration of our American female friends who are so
     deeply interested in the subject, the example of your noble
     Queen, who by sanctioning her 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 Englishmen, as a standard for the government
     on this occasion of Americans, 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 conventions 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 purpose 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

     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 eloquence. 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 controversialists
     in the country, and one of the best authorities upon questions of
     business, points of order, and matters of principle. What are
     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

          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 Convention,
     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 abolition 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 country 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 question, remember, that in receiving or rejecting these
     ladies, they acknowledge 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, and that that distinguished 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 vigorous 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. 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 stated.

     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 Massachusetts if we had
     deserted them, when they chose to send out their own sisters as
     their representatives here. We could not go back to Massachusetts
     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 principle 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 combined efforts to annihilate slavery throughout the
     world, are you to commence 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
     America, 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

     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 abominations 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 majority was
     swelled by the votes of the women themselves. I have just
     received a letter from a gentleman in New York (Louis Tappan),
     communicating the fact, that the persistence of the friends of
     promiscuous female representation in pressing that practice on
     the American Anti-Slavery Society, at its annual meeting on the
     twelfth of last month, had caused such disagreement 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

     Rev. C. Stout: My vote is that we confirm the list 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 everything, in order that we may do
     something against slavery, and shall we be divided on this
     _paltry question_ and suffer the whole tide of benevolence 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 connected 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? Will they keep up a discussion in which the delicacy,
     the honor, the respectability of those excellent females who have
     come from the Western world are concerned? I tremble at the
     thought of discussing the question in the presence of these
     ladies--for whom I entertain the most profound 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 opposition
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 Convention, 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[6] 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 Phillips'
mind, had Frederick Douglass and Robert Purvis been refused their
seats in a convention of reformers under similar circumstances? 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 feelings, and
been so insensible to the insults offered them, as to have told a
Convention of men who had just trampled on their most sacred 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 heresy of woman's equality was a severe ordeal for a young
man to pass through, and Wendell Phillips, who accepted the odium of
presenting this question to the Convention, and thus earned the
sincere gratitude of all womankind, 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 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 universal 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
Abolitionists, they had been compelled to fight 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 woman.

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 delegates, 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 interesting 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 so 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. However, the debates in the Convention
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 exciting scenes
of the day, they agreed to hold a woman's rights convention 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 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 breakfast, to the horror of his host and a circle of æsthetic
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 defence.[7]

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


[6] 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.

[7] 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 Hertell'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.

New York with its metropolis, fine harbors, great lakes and rivers;
its canals and railroads uniting the extremest limits, and controlling
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 convention in 1847, which compelled
the thinking people of the State, and especially the members of the
convention, to the serious consideration of the fundamental principles
of government. As in the revision 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 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 influential 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 carried 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:

                                     FAIRMOUNT, ONONDAGA CO., N. Y.,}
                                                _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 request 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 married 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 matters. 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 desired 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, 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 examining 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, was that it was a good bill and ought to

     I believe this law originated with Judge Fine, without any
     outside prompting. On the third day of the session he gave notice
     of his intention 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 personal friends--I presented it
     nearly two months after the bill had been introduced to the

     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 married women's, as well as
     married men's rights, demanded careful revision and adaptation to
     our times and to our civilization. But no such revision 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
     foundations, and leave it to other times and wiser councils to
     perfect a new system.

     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 happiness. 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 motion 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 before 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 of the law which
     opened the way to clothe woman with 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 and 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

     Jan. 8th, p. 47. "Mr. Fine introduced '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 married 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,
     reported 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
     proceeded to the consideration of the report of the Select
     Committee on the bill entitled '(as above)', which report was
     agreed to, and the bill ordered 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,
     Cornwell, 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 concurrence.

     Its history in the Assembly (_see its Journal_):

     March 29th, p. 966. A message from the Senate, requesting the
     concurrence 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
     (_see page_ 967).

     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
     Committee 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,
                                                  GEO. GEDDES.

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, by her will left a
sum for the republication of this exhaustive argument, 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 liberal in
starting. Thus the discussions in the constitutional convention and
the Legislature, heralded by the press to every school district,
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:

                        SENECA FALLS CONVENTION.

     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 A.M. During the first day the meeting will be exclusively
     for women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public
     generally are invited to be present on the second day, when
     Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gentlemen,
     will address the convention.

This call, without signature, was issued by Lucretia Mott, Martha C.
Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Mary Ann McClintock. At this time
Mrs. Mott was visiting her sister Mrs. Wright, at Auburn, and
attending the Yearly Meeting of Friends in Western New York. Mrs.
Stanton, having recently removed from Boston to Seneca Falls, finding
the most congenial associations in Quaker families, met Mrs. Mott
incidentally for the first time since her residence there. They at
once returned to the topic they had so often discussed, walking arm
in arm in the streets of London, and Boston, "the propriety of holding
a woman's convention." These four ladies, sitting round the tea-table
of Richard Hunt, a prominent Friend near Waterloo, decided to put
their long-talked-of resolution into action, and before the twilight
deepened into night, the call was written, and sent to the Seneca
County Courier. On Sunday morning they met in Mrs. McClintock's parlor
to write their declaration, resolutions, and to consider subjects for
speeches.[8] 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 perusal of various masculine productions. The reports of
Peace, Temperance, 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
conditioned; they were neither "sour old maids," "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 literature 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 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 find
them out."

The eventful day dawned at last, and crowds in carriages and on foot,
wended their way to the Wesleyan church. When those having 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 discussions, 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 Douglass, 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 inaugurating some movement
for her education and elevation. Elizabeth and Mary McClintock, and
Mrs. Stanton, 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 Constitutional 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

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

                       DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS.

     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 inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty,
     and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights
     governments are instituted, deriving 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
     principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them
     shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
     Prudence, indeed, will dictate 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 constrains them
     to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.

     The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and
     usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct
     object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To
     prove this, let facts be submitted 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 earns.

     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.

     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 of women--the law, in all cases,
     going upon a false supposition of the supremacy 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 recognizes 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 Church.

     He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a
     different 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 conscience and to her God.

     He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her
     confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to
     make her willing 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 legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the
     pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will
     be followed by a series of Conventions embracing every part of
     the country.

The following resolutions were discussed by Lucretia Mott, Thomas and
Mary Ann McClintock, Amy Post, Catharine A. F. Stebbins, 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 Commentaries remarks, that this law of Nature being
     coeval with mankind, 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;

     _Resolved_, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true
     and 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 precept of nature, and therefore of no force or

     _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
     intellectual superiority, does accord to woman moral superiority,
     it is pre-eminently 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 attendance, her appearance on the stage, in
     the concert, or in feats of the circus.

     _Resolved_, That woman has too long rested satisfied in the
     circumscribed 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

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

     _Resolved, therefore_, That, being invested by the Creator with
     the same capabilities, and the same consciousness of
     responsibility for their exercise, it is demonstrably the right
     and duty of woman, equally with man, to promote every righteous
     cause by every righteous means; and especially in regard to the
     great subjects of morals and religion, it is self-evidently her
     right to participate with her brother in teaching them, both in
     private and in public, by writing and by speaking, by any
     instrumentalities proper to be used, and in any assemblies proper
     to be held; and this being a self-evident truth growing out of
     the divinely implanted principles 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 following

     _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 demand 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
movement 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 ridiculed by
the press, and denounced by the pulpit, much to the surprise and
chagrin of the leaders. Being deeply in earnest, and believing 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 carefully preserved,[9] and it is
curious to see that the same old arguments, and objections rife at the
start, are reproduced by the press of to-day. But the brave protests
sent out from this Convention touched a responsive chord in the hearts
of women all over the country.

Conventions were held soon after in Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana,
Pennsylvania, and at different points in New York.

Mr. Douglass, in his paper, _The North 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 resolutions 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 characterized by marked
     ability and dignity. No one present, we think, however 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 important 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 countenance 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 prejudices. Standing as we do upon the
     watch-tower of human freedom, we can not be deterred from an
     expression of our approbation of any movement, 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 conviction 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 government 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


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 August 2d, and so well
advertised in the daily papers, that at the appointed hour, the
Unitarian Church was filled to overflowing.

Amy Post called the meeting to order, and stated that at a gathering
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 Vice-President; Elizabeth McClintock, Sarah Hallowell, and
Catherine A. F. Stebbins, for Secretaries. 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 knowledge of Cushing's
Manual, or the least experience in public meetings, 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
duties of the office, and the admirable manner in which she discharged
them, soon reconciled the opposition to the seemingly ridiculous

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 concerning 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 Resolutions. Frederick
Douglass, William C. Nell, and William C. Bloss advocated the
emancipation of women from all the artificial disabilities, 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 Eights Convention, and said that a few years
ago, the Female Moral Reform Society of 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 the 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

Near the close of the morning session, a young bride in traveling
dress,[10] 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

     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
     positively 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 unlooked
     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 earnings of dependents will be paid;
     popular demagogues crushed; impostors 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,
     submissive, 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 seemed a most
delighted, nay, reverential listener. It was a scene never to be
forgotten, and one of the most pleasing incidents of the Convention.

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 lucrative 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 profession.

     It is by this inverted order of society that woman is 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 designed them, and women be educated to fill all those
     stations which require 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 contemptible
     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 mercantile 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 wisdom of recognizing a co-worker in her, then may be
     looked for the dawning of a perfect day, when woman shall stand
     where God designed she should, on an even platform with man

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
deliberations, made some appropriate remarks relative to the
intolerable servitude and small remuneration paid to the working-class
of women. 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 experienced
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 debates, 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?

Lucretia Mott replied that in the Society of Friends she had never
known any difficulty to arise on account of the wife's not having
promised _obedience_ in the marriage contract. She had never known any
mode of decision except an appeal to reason; and, although in some of
the meetings of this Society, women are placid 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 family.

Mr. Pickard asked who, after marriage, should hold the property, and
whose name should be retained. He thought an umpire necessary. He did
not see but all business must cease until the consent of both parties
be obtained. He saw an impossibility of introducing such rules into
society. The Gospel had established the unity and oneness of the
married pair.

Mrs. Stanton said she thought the Gospel, rightly understood, pointed
to a oneness of equality, not subordination, and that property 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 beginning, 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 liberty--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 Convention 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[11] 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 Boston, who, during the early
days of Anti-Slavery, gave her unceasing efforts to that struggle. Her
pen was a power in the journals and magazines, and her presence an
inspiration in their fairs and conventions. When Abby Kelly, Angelina
Grimke, and Lucretia 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 from 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, dependent, 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 individuals, 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
     advancing 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 ourselves 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 regret 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
     character of public lecturers and teachers. We especially deplore
     the intimate acquaintance and promiscuous conversation of females
     with regard to things which ought not to be named; by which that
     modesty and delicacy 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

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

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 fulminated with
special reference to those two noble South Carolina women, Sarah M.
and Angelina E. Grimke, who were at that time publicly pleading for
those in bonds as bound with them, while on a visit to Massachusetts.
It was written by the Rev. Dr. Nehemiah Adams, of Boston, author of 'A
South-side View 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.

                   MRS. CHAPMAN'S POEM.


    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;
    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 look
    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 Greenleaf
Whittier, poured out his indignation on the New England clergy in
thrilling denunciations. Mr. Whittier early saw that woman's only
protection against religious and social tyranny, could 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 reform and church

              THE PASTORAL LETTER.

    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."
    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!

    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?

    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 gentle 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 complete equality
of woman in all the rights that belong to any human soul. He thought
the true basis of rights was the capacity of individuals; and as for
himself, he should not dare claim a right that he would not concede to

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 different parts of the
country. The resolutions and discussions regarding woman's right to
enter the professions, encouraged many to prepare 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."


[8] The antique mahogany center-table on which this historic document
was written now stands in the parlor of the McClintock family in

[9] See Appendix.

[10] Rebecca Sanford, now Postmaster at Mt. Morris, N. Y.

[11] See Appendix.




     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.
     Y.--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.

I was born and lived almost forty years in South Bristol, Ontario
County--one of the most secluded spots in Western New 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 revolted 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 I take action. Then I summoned a few
women in our neighborhood together and formed an Equal Suffrage
Society, and sent petitions to our Legislature; 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 correction of
refractory children in like manner. I remember 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 necessary, 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 cooking, washing, making, and mending
for the family, 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 privilege--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 knowledge 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 conditions, 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 denunciation of
the wrongs of the Southern slave, was, I felt, equally applicable to
the wrongs of my own sex. Every argument for the emancipation 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. Rose 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 rights.

I hailed with gladness any aspiration of women toward an enlargement
of their sphere of action; and when, in the early part of 1848, I
learned that Miss Elizabeth Blackwell 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 from writing
her a letter of approval and encouragement. In return I received the

                                   PHILADELPHIA, _August 12, 1848_.

     DEAR MADAM:--Your letter, I can assure you, met with a hearty
     welcome from me. And I can not refrain from writing to you a warm
     acknowledgment 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 religious enthusiasm, no opinion of the
     world will move me, but when I receive from a woman an approval
     so true-hearted and glowing, a recognition 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 in tensest
     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 martyrdom 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 remain 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

     Much is said of the oppression woman suffers; man is reproached
     with being unjust, tyrannical, jealous. I do not so read human
     life. The exclusion and constraint woman suffers, is not the
     result of purposed injury or premeditated insult. It has arisen
     naturally, without violence, simply 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.

     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 inseparably united, and harmonic freedom for the
     perfect growth of every human soul is the great want of our time.
     It has given me heartfelt satisfaction, 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 accomplish 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 and the good.

                                             ELIZABETH BLACKWELL.

But, it was the proceedings of the Convention, in 1848, at Seneca
Falls, that first gave a direction to the efforts of the many women,
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 franchise, 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 proposed 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.
     earlier, but wished to report somewhat of progress whenever I
     should write. Our prospects here are brightening. Every lady of
     any worth or intelligence 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 consequently 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
     Star_?[12] 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
     their 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
     labor; that once attained, all the rest will be easily acquired.
     Moral Reform 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 people 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. People 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, Vice-President; Mrs. Horace Pennell, Treasurer; and one
of several young ladies who were members was Secretary. Horace
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 intelligent
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 companionship 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 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 intelligence 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 "strong-minded" and
"masculine" as opprobrious epithets used against progressive women, by
their own sex as by the other; another 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 suspended on account of bad weather and the difficulty of
coming together in the country districts. We, however, continued to
send petitions to the Legislature for the removal of woman's

From 1858 to 1869 my home was in Rochester, N. Y. There, by brief
newspaper articles and in other ways, I sought to influence 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 produced some agitation in the meeting and
some newspaper criticisms. In Rochester, I found many pioneers in the
cause of Woman Suffrage, and from year to year we petitioned our
Legislature for it.

Since 1869 I have been a citizen of Louisiana. Here, till recently,
political troubles engrossed the minds of men to the exclusion of
every other consideration. They glowed with fiery indignation at
being, themselves, deprived of the right of suffrage, or at having
their votes annulled, and regarded it as an intolerable outrage; 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 indefatigable in her efforts, and went before
the Convention in person 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 Louisiana 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 us at this
distance of time. _The American_, Rochester, N. 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 application was denied, and the lady
     subsequently entered the Geneva Medical College, where, at the
     Annual Commencement on the 23d instant, 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
     faithfully to every duty required of candidates striving for the
     honor. Eighteen 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
education 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 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 convert 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 engaged 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 Scriptures, 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[13] 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 emphatic 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 fourteen 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
inheritance 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. Mlle. 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 of a poor
sailor, the father of four children, whose wife had been imprisoned
for an alleged crime of which he insisted she was innocent. Inquiring
into the case, Mlle. Potoski drew up a petition which she personally
presented to the King of Holland, and had the satisfaction 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 Lafayette to the people of Paris
from the balcony of the Tuilleries, she remarked 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 family, with
Frances Farrar, sister of Oliver Farrar, M.P., the Miss Leeds, and
others of the nobility; also with many prominent members 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 Classes of all Nations,
without distinction of sect, sex, party condition, 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 reform questions.

[Illustration: ERNESTINE L. ROSE (with autograph).]

At a great public meeting in the Broadway Tabernacle to consider the
necessity of an improved system of Free Schools, J. S. Buckingham,
M.P., of England, and Rev. Robert Breckenridge, of Kentucky, 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 harangue against
a class whom he stigmatized as infidels. This bold innovation 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!" resounded in all parts of the
building. She, however, held her ground, calm and collected while the
tumult lasted, and after quiet was restored, 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 woman's
rights, anti-slavery and religious liberty, she has earned a
world-wide celebrity. For fifty years a public speaker, during which
period she has associated with the influential classes in Europe and
America, and borne an active part in the great progressive movements
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, speaking two or
three times in each place. This was after the introduction of the
Kansas-Nebraska Bill in Congress, and the excitement of the country
upon the slavery question was intense. Mrs. Rose's third lecture in
Washington was on the "Nebraska Question." This lecture was scarcely
noticed, the only paper giving it the least report, 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-slavery 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--'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
pioneer 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 Martineau,
Lucretia Mott, and Lydia Maria Child, who will long be pleasantly
remembered for their 'works' sake.'"

                                   LONDON, _January 9, 1877_.

     MY DEAR MISS ANTHONY:--Sincerely do I thank you for your kind
     letter. Believe me it would give me great pleasure to comply with
     your request, 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 expect
     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 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
     uttermost, 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 work 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 collection, 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 listeners, 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, Rochester, 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 settlements 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 signatures. 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."

     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 thinking and
believing. How much of the freedom they now enjoy, the women of
America owe to this noble Polish woman, can not be estimated, for
moral influences are too subtle for measurement.

Those who sat with her on the platform in bygone days, well remember
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 dignity 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 abstract
principles clearly, but in their application touched the deepest
emotions of the human soul.


[12] 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 sympathized with the anti-slavery movement.

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



     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 forbids 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 Declaration--The pulpit responsible for public
     sentiment--President Asa Mahan debates--The Rev. Dr. Nevin 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 agitation
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 discussions, 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 familiar 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 reasoners,
and the most eloquent, impassioned orators the world ever produced,
kept their audiences wrought up to the highest pitch of enthusiasm
hour after hour, were the school in which woman's rights found its
ready-made disciples. With such women as Frances D. Gage, Hannah Tracy
Cutler, Josephine S. Griffing, 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., 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 ridiculed 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 action, 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 conventions, 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 institutions, and how justly they estimated
their true position in a republic, we shall give rather more of these
early speeches and letters than in any succeeding chapters.

In 1849, Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson, of Cadiz, Ohio, aroused some attention
to the general question, by the publication of "A Scriptural View of
Woman's Rights and Duties," clearly demonstrating the equality of man
and woman in the creation, as well as the independent, 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 arrogant as against the
emancipation of the African, and they defended 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 Lucretia 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.[14] The meeting convened at 10
o'clock, and was called to order by Emily Robinson, who proposed
Mariana W. Johnson as President _pro tem._, Sarah Coates, Secretary
_pro tem._ On taking the chair, Mrs. Johnson read the following call:

     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 recognition 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
     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
     earnestly 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-devotion 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

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

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

Mrs. Jones read a very able speech, which was printed in full in their
published report, also a discourse of Lucretia Mott's, "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.[15] Twenty-two
resolutions, covering the whole range of woman's political, religious,
civil, and social rights, were discussed and adopted. The following
memorial to the Constitutional Convention, was presented by Mariana


     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 Independence. In the language of
     Prof. Walker, in his "Introduction to American Law": "Women have
     no part or lot in the foundation or 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
     definition 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 individuality. Blackstone says: "The
     very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during
     marriage, or at least incorporated or consolidated into that of
     her husband." Legally, she ceases to exist, and becomes
     emphatically a new creature, and is ever after denied the dignity
     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 dispose 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 dependence 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 political and legal
     rights that are guaranteed to men.

After some discussion the memorial was adopted. With the hope of
creating a feeling of moral responsibility on this vital question, an
earnest address[16] to the women of the State was also presented,
discussed, and adopted.

                      ADDRESS TO THE WOMEN OF OHIO.

     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 interest 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
     heritage, 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

     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 because, 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 abolish it, and
     to substitute a new government, laying its foundation on such
     principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them
     shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
     The Government of this country, in common with all others, has
     never recognized or attempted 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 having
     signally failed to secure the end for which all just government
     is instituted, 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

                              OF HUSBAND AND WIFE,

          "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 substantive, 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
     marriage, unless the property has been specially secured to her.
     If the property be not in his possession, he may take measures to
     reduce it to possession. 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 collect 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 political rights
     whatever. While single, their legal rights are the same as 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 voidable, but absolutely void. Nor can
     she make herself liable for his contracts, torts, or crimes. Her
     only separate liability is for her own crimes. Her only joint
     liability, is for her own torts committed without his
     participation, 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 allowed 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 sacred 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
     bickerings 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 turbulence 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 vengeance on his fellow-man,
     could inflict no greater wrong on society than the same done by
     man; but it would create an intenser feeling of shuddering
     horror, and would, we conceive, rouse to more healthful activity
     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

     Men are not destitute of justice or humanity; and let it be
     remembered 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 enslaved 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 wickedness and folly of
     disfranchising half the people. Let us no longer delay to use

     Let it be remembered too, that tyrannical and illiberal as our
     Government 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 and 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 Hindustan, 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 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 expended 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
     lethargy 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 Convention 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 purchasing 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 sustained
for two days, and the deliberations were conducted with dignity and
order. It was here Josephine S. Griffing uttered her first 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 Robinson, with such aid
as she could enlist, was largely attended and entirely 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 received warm
congratulations and earnest words of sympathy, for the new gospel of
woman's equality was spreading in England as well as America.


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, another 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, Caroline M.
Severance, Emma R. Coe, Maria L. Giddings, Celia C. Burr (afterward
Burleigh), 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 taking the chair she said:

     I am at a loss, kind friends, to know whether to return you
     thanks, or not, for the honor conferred upon me. And when I tell
     you that I have never in my life attended a regular business
     meeting, and am entirely inexperienced 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 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 children. 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, 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

     But the children answered: "Let us go; this land has sufficed for
     you, 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
     destroyed, and the hopes and prophetic visions of their
     far-seeing powers in the new and untried country, were more than

     Permit me to draw a comparison between the situation of our
     forefathers 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 more
     exquisite, or forms of beauty more soul-satisfying to his senses,
     than to hers? To all these interrogatories every one will answer,

     Where then did man get the authority that he now claims over
     one-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 made 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

     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 day proves the contrary; proves that we have
     aspirations that are not met. 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

     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 reformers in the last

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

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
condensed into a resolution. Accordingly the Akron Convention
presented, 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 Coming." 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 Convention are so meagre that
we can not tell who were in the opposition; but from Sojourner Truth's
speech, 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 difficult 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 Sojourner
Truth was once a slave in the State of New York, and carries to-day as
many marks of the diabolism of slavery, as ever scarred 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, though now 110 years old.
Although the exalted character and personal appearance of this noble
woman have been often portrayed, and her brave deeds and words many
times rehearsed, yet we give the following graphic picture of
Sojourner's appearance in one of the most stormy sessions of the
Convention, from

                     REMINISCENCES BY FRANCES D. GAGE.

                            SOJOURNER TRUTH.

     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 all over the
     house, and there fell on the listening ear, "An abolition
     affair!" "Woman's rights and niggers!" "I told you so!" "Go it,

     I chanced 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, her 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 "Life of Sojourner Truth,"
     a narrative of her own strange and adventurous life. Again and
     again, timorous and trembling ones came to me and said, with
     earnestness, "Don't let her speak, Mrs. Gage, it will ruin us.
     Every newspaper in the land 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, Presbyterian, and Universalist ministers came in to
     hear and discuss the resolutions presented. One claimed superior
     rights and privileges for man, on the ground of "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 "sin of our first

     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,
     and the atmosphere betokened a storm. When, slowly from her seat
     in the corner rose Sojourner Truth, who, till now, had scarcely
     lifted her head. "Don't let her speak!" gasped half a dozen in my
     ear. She moved slowly and solemnly to the front, laid her old
     bonnet at her feet, and turned her great speaking eyes 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' kilter. 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 talkin' '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 raising 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 slavery, 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?"
     ("Intellect," whispered some one near.) "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 the argument. The cheering was long and

     "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 asserting: "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-continued cheering greeted this. "'Bleeged to ye for hearin'
     on me, and now ole Sojourner 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 with
     gratitude. She had taken us up in her strong arms and carried us
     safely over the slough of difficulty turning the whole tide in
     our favor. I have never in my life seen anything like the magical
     influence that subdued the mobbish 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 "testifyin' agin concerning 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." The elected delegates
     assembled in Cincinnati in the spring of that year.

     In view of affecting this legislation the "Woman's Rights
     Convention" at Salem, Columbiana Co., was called in April, 1850,
     and memorialized the Delegate Convention, praying that Equal
     Rights to all citizens 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 the ballot,[17] 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 admitted. 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 Mrs. 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 memorial For years I had
     been talking and writing, and people were used 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 all "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

     In December of 1851 I was invited to attend a Woman's Rights
     Convention 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, "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, borrowed 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.

                                             FRANCES D. GAGE.

In September, 1851, a Woman's Temperance Convention was held in
Cincinnati, Ohio, in Foster Hall, corner of Fifth and Walnut Streets.
Mrs. Mary B. Slough, President; Mrs. George Parcells, Vice-President:
Mrs. William Pinkham, Secretary. Resolutions 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:

     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, Representatives,
     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," 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 met 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,

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

     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 Temperance 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 proceed
     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 conspicuous before men. They proceeded to shake the
     dust from their own skirts of the whole thing. They discussed
     wisely the disgraceful conduct of Antoinette L. Brown at the
     World's Temperance Convention, as reported to them by Hon. Samuel
     Carey, with more of the same sort, which I beg to be excused 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, 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 Scripture, 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 mind, 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 I assured
     my hearers that Samuel Carey had certainly been lying--under a
     mistake. 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, "Shame on the woman," and
     stamping and clamoring till the dust on the carpet of the
     platform enveloped them in a cloud. Meanwhile, her best friends,
     William H. Channing, William Lloyd Garrison, Oliver Johnson,
     Wendell Phillips 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 thoroughfares, in the midst of a
     State fair, to tell some other women that they were making
     themselves "conspicuous." What I said, or how it was said,
     mattereth not.

     That evening, the Sons of Temperance Hall, which our committee
     had promised to "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 advertisement.

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

                       THE OHIO WOMEN'S CONVENTION.

                                        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 both 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 illustrations. 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 if we consider the matter, style, or manner of delivery.
     Men can deal in statistics and logical deductions, but women only
     can describe the horrors of intemperance--can draw aside the
     curtain and show us the wreck it makes of domestic love and home
     enjoyment--can paint the anguish of the drunkard's wife and 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 act, 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 Temperance Convention in undelegating Miss
     Brown, and excluding her from the platform.

     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
     mortification 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.

     "_Resolved_, That our thanks are due to the Hon. Neal Dow, of
     Maine, the President of the Convention, for so manfully and
     persistently deciding and insisting upon and in favor of the
     right of all the friends of temperance, duly delegated, 10 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 nervousness. 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 resolutions
     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 question of Woman's Rights into the
     Convention. All, however, was of no avail; the resolutions passed
     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 from Oberlin, and
     some others, joined in the following protest:

     "We beg 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 uncourteous, 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 valued sisters."

     Thus fell General Carey, probably mortally wounded. His vitality,
     indeed, must be very great, if he can outlive the thrusts given
     him on this occasion. What rendered his conduct in New York more
     aggravating is the fact that heretofore, he has encouraged the
     women of Ohio in their advocacy of temperance, 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 1846, gave an address in
     Columbus on education, by sitting 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 College, lectured at different places in the State on
     "Woman's Rights."

     In 1850 a Convention was held at Salem; Mariana Johnson presented
     a memorial, which was numerously signed and sent to the
     Constitutional Convention. 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 Convention.

                           MRS. CORNER'S LETTER.

                                   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 public 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 ladies 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 woman to occupy positions of trust now withheld from
     her; her limited means for acquiring an education; etc.

     Mrs. Gage spoke with great enthusiasm and warmth. I think it must
     have been 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 for 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. CORNER.


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
     session. It was held in the Baptist church, in this place, and
     was numerously attended, there being a fair representation of
     men, as well as women; 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 highest 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 "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. Caroline M.
Severance presided. The speakers were Rev. Antoinette L. Brown, Mrs.
Lawrence, Emma R. Coe, Josephine S. Griffing, Martha 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 Una_, 1854, and is a very carefully written paper
on the legal status of woman.


In 1853, October 6th, 7th, and 8th, the Fourth National Convention was
held in Cleveland. There were delegates present from New York,
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan, 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 suitable person to fill the office of President on
     this occasion.

     Mrs. Gage, being duly elected, on taking the chair, said: Before
     proceeding 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 regularly ordained preacher,
and installed as a pastor, she felt quite at home in all the forms and
ceremonies of the Church.

     The Cleveland _Journal_, in speaking of her, said: She has one
     distinction, 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 Seneca Falls,
     N. Y., July 19, 1848, and closed by saying: I hope our
     discussions 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 given, 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 neighbor."

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

     _Vice-Presidents_--Antoinette L. Brown, New York; Lucretia Mott,
     Pennsylvania; 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.

     _Treasurer_--T. C. Severance, Ohio.

     _Business Committee_--Ernestine L. Rose, New York; James Mott,
     Pennsylvania; 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,

     _Finance Committee_--Susan B. Anthony, Rochester; Phebe H.
     Merritt, Michigan; H. M. Addison, Ohio; Hettie Little, Ohio; E.
     P. Heaton, Ohio.

Letters were read from distinguished people. Notably the following
from Horace Greeley:

                                       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
     inheritance, 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 considered on the side of
     conservatism, of course that side must preponderate. 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

                              I remain yours,
                                        HORACE GREELEY.
                  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 more
than once, he gave columns to the proceedings of our conventions.

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

     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. I 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
     elevation 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. Another 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,
advocating the political, civil, and moral equality of woman. He
showed the power 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 not be head and shoulders
     above what I had been. Let me say to men, select women worthy to
     be wives. The world is overstocked with these mis-begotten
     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 of Woman," published two
     generations ago, dared to be true to her convictions of duty in
     spite of the prejudices of the world. What was the result? 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
     biographer 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 married 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 God. 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," 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 by Elizabeth Smith
Miller, the daughter of the great philanthropist, Gerrit Smith, in
1850. She wore it for many years, even in the most fashionable circles
of Washington during her father's term in Congress. 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 emphatically "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
     apparently a good-natured woman. Her face does not indicate her
     character as a fiery and enthusiastic advocate of reform. Mrs.
     Gage is not a handsome 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
     express, 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 occupying 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 degradation was their
disfranchisement, hence the discussions often turned on the
surface-wrongs of society.

[Illustration: FRANCES D. GAGE (with autograph).]

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 Convention, 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 Temperance
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 letters contain
valuable suggestions for the adoption of practical measures for
bringing the wrongs of woman to the notice of the world.

                         MR. CHANNING'S LETTER.

                                   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
     Convention, 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

     This Declaration should distinctly announce the inalienable
     rights of women:

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

     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.

     4th. 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 and 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 representation.

     7th. As producers of wealth to be freed from all restrictions on
     their industry; 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, museums of science, galleries of art, libraries,
     and reading-rooms.

     9th. As members of Christian churches and congregations, heirs of
     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 people 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 acknowledged 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 petitions should be directed to the following

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

     2d. That all laws relative to the inheritance and ownership of
     property, to the division and administration of estates, and to
     the execution of Wills, be made equally applicable to women and

     3d. That mothers be entitled, equally with fathers, to become
     guardians 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
     suffrage 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

     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 CHANNING.

Miss Brown 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 hearty approbation.

                         MR. HIGGINSON'S LETTER.

                                   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 Convention, 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 most 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 have 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 which it is

     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 not procure a
     digest of the laws on these subjects, then; prepared carefully,
     arranged systematically, corrected up to the latest improvements,
     and accompanied by brief and judicious commentaries? No such work
     exists, except that by Mansfield, which is now obsolete, and in
     many respects defective.

     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 this 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 obtain 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 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 qualified 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 dispassionately. 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 Convention yet held to consider this question. I find
     the fact everywhere remarked, 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 persecution--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,
                                             THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON.

     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 people. We find men and women in our conventions,
     earnest and thoughtful, who are not drawn by mere curiosity, 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 debates. 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 declaration 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 sentiment? 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 pardon--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 "impropriety," 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.

     You ask me 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 flattered with her cruel
     tyrant, for such he has been made to be--she is quite flattered
     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 flattered 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 public 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
     gloriously. 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 courage.

     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 education 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 century, and the "divines" of the nineteenth
     century, are no less "divines." 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 educates the people
     speaks, "he speaks as one having authority," and is not to be
     questioned. He claims, and has his claim allowed, to be specially
     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 matter, 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
     forming and moulding and fashioning the young mind, as no other
     educating influence can have it. The pulpit has it, not only
     under these circumstances; 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

     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 direction of their clergymen? You may tell
     me, that it is woman who forms 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
     instructions of the pulpit at second hand. If public sentiment is
     wrong on this (and I have the testimony of those who have spoken
     this morning, 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 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. MAHAN: No class of persons had better be drawn into our
     discussions 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 sentiment, 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 criminal 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

     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
     Independence 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 _argumentium ad hominum_, to this nation. It was 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
     suggestion 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 undoubtedly be prepared, although we
     are not now ready to lay it before the Convention.

     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 public
     sentiment, as regards the difference of criminality of man and

     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 will be
     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 propensities, 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 believe 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 involved 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 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 people? 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 wrong.

     Take the case of slavery: How has the anti-slavery cause been
     received? 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 trampled 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 individual 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 principles; for if you can
     convict a man of being wanting in principle anywhere, 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 man.

     It is so in this movement. Nobody argues against it, nobody
     pretends to have an argument. Your platform is free everywhere,
     wherever, these Conventions are held. Yet no man comes forward in
     a decent, respectable 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, having the
     same natural and inalienable rights as man. To state the
     proposition 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
     platform 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

     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 believe, said this morning that he also
     would reply to Mr. Barker, this afternoon. 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. NEVIN: 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

Considerable confusion ensued, Dr. Nevin, 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.
Barker'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 personalities 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. NEVIN 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. Kevin very ingeniously continued to reaffirm them in another
     shape. Finally, Mr. Garrison, in 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 blackguard
     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

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

     Dr. NEVIN: 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 pulpit was the castle of cowards.

     Mrs. MOTT: I said it was John Chambers' cowards' castle; and I do
     say, that such 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

     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 regard 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

     STEPHEN S. FOSTER: Our "reverend" friend spoke of _dragging_
     infidelity 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
     Christianity--I 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

     Mrs. MOTT: Except the Progressive Friends.

     Mr. FOSTER: They are not a denomination, they have broken from
     all 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 Garrison and others--he could not even
     pray a few years ago in an anti-slavery meeting. Now, either the
     Bible is against the Church and clergy, or else they have
     misinterpreted it for two hundred years, yes, for six thousand
     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, declaring 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 largest
     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 profoundest reverence. Still, I welcome
     upon this platform those who differ as far as possible from me.
     And the Atheist no more "drags" in his Atheism, provided he only
     shows that Atheism itself demands woman's equality, 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 overwhelmed 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

     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
     assumption of clergymen, that all who venture to dissent from a
     given interpretation, 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 true.

     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 sustain 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 righteousness 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 unchangeable, than that
     man is infallible.

In this debate on the Bible-position of woman, Mr. Garrison having
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 Rev. Dr. Nevin came out of the
contest 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.
Garrison 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. Nevin
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, Antoinette
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 footing, 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 ignorance 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 designing, cruel man; being made
     cruel by ignorance of laws and institutions,--why such a being,
     in her helplessness, in her ignorance, in her 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 consequence 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 who
     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
effective. 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, is 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 arguments offered in favor of this
     cause, and were put in a forcible and convincing manner. We say
     convincing, because such a speaker would convince 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 back. 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 common 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 Bible,
had expounded many doctrines and passages of Scripture in regard to
woman's position, in direct opposition to the truths generally
promulgated by General Assemblies, and the lesser lights of the
Church. Mrs. Emma R. Coe took an equally defiant position toward 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 essayed 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 gentleman, 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 acquainted 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
     existence 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 because they do not at all invalidate the
     position which the petition affects to establish, viz: the
     inequality of the sexes before the law. Their insertion,
     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 paragraph of which is as

     "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 marriage, or which shall have come to
     her by bequest, gift, etc., after marriage, 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 representatives.
     Second, if there be no children, or their legal representatives
     living, the estate shall pass to the brothers and sisters of the
     intestate, who may be of the blood of the ancestor from whom the
     estate came, or their legal representatives," etc. True again: So
     long as the wife holds real estate in her own name, in title,
     and in title only, it is hers; for her husband even then controls
     its profits, and if she leave it so, it will descend to her heirs
     so long as she has an heir, and so long as she can trace the
     descent. But if she suffers her husband to sell that property and
     receive the money, it instantly becomes his; and instead of
     descending 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 common law, taken from the petition). I have nothing further
     to add on this point, but will quote the last paragraphs in the

     "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
     husband, 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 subject 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 wife 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 to 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
     interests, 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.

     The question of woman's voting, of the propriety of woman's
     appearing 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 entreaties 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, instead 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 despotism 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 attempted 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 no mere
     assumption on her part, but has been recognized as right and
     proper by men.

     You have already been told of distinguished women who have borne
     a very prominent part in politics, both in ancient and modern
     times, and yet the multitude of men have believed and
     acknowledged that it was all right; and are now acknowledging it
     with all the enthusiasm of devoted loyalty. They are now
     acknowledging it in the case of an Empire on which it has been
     said that the sun never sets--an Empire, "The morning drumbeat of
     whose military stations circles the earth with one continued 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 aptitudes. Try it. Did one ever trust
     in God and meet with disappointment? 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 rebound, and at the first spring, even manifest that law
     of reaction somewhat to your inconvenience, and somewhat even
     beyond the dictates of the wisest judgment. What then? Is the
     fault to be charged to the removal 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' sure, 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 shalt
     thou come"; and as you watch the 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
     writing 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. What 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 proportion as she has enjoyed the right to
     reveal herself; if this is the testimony 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 impregnably 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 promise of its own supply."

     I might even add the rest of the passage as an address to woman
     herself, 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 lowly, 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 sentiment 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 persecution, and
     contempt, will not falter now. No! Every step is bearing us to a
     higher eminence, and thus revealing a broader promise of hope, a
     brighter prospect of success. Though they who are foremost in
     this cause must bear obloquy and reproach, and though it may seem
     to the careless looker-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 they shall 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. MAHAN: 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 there are things which are said, the ultimate bearing of
     which I believe is not always understood. I have heard during
     these discussions, things said which bear this aspect--that the
     relation of ruler and subject is that of 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, even that the woman should be subject to the man,
     and the wife to the husband, you will find that in no other
     position will woman attain her dignity; for God has never dropped
     an inadvertent thought, never penned 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_ says:

     This noble poet had not said much in the Convention. He had taken
     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 noble
     defense of woman's rights. It was the only speech made before the
     Convention by man in which the cause of woman was advocated
     exclusively. When Mr. Burleigh arose, two or three geese hissed;
     when he closed, a 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, but little of what
they said will be preserved beyond this generation unless recorded
now. These debates show the wit, logic, and readiness 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 Mahan, 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 leaders of each
movement met for the first time to measure their powers of logic and

Antoinette L. Brown was appointed a delegate by two Temperance
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 Convention, 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 Rochester. (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
     abandon 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 Temperance 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 women
     would be received as delegates, and others saying they would not.
     We 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 necessary to make the test of their sincerity.

     We met at the Woman's Bights 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 compliance with your wish, and
     from interest in the cause itself. But I am not a delegate, and I
     have in this city venerated grandparents, 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
     uncalled 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
     friends, I did quietly what we had predetermined was the best to
     do. The Secretary was sitting upon the platform. I handed him my
     credentials from both societies. He said: "I can not now tell
     whether you will be received or not. There is a resolution before
     the house, stating, in substance, that they would receive all
     delegates without distinction of color 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 admission, and I went again upon the
     platform. In the meantime a permanent organization was effected.
     I went there, for the purpose of thanking 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
     member 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
     temperance organ of your State. The writer is still Gen. Carey.
     (The extract intimated that Miss Brown, supported and urged on by
     several others, made an unwomanly entrance into the Convention,
     and upon the platform 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
     platform, 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 the Woman's Rights meeting at the Tabernacle, the evening
     after Miss 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 platform. As to that matter, when I went upon the
     platform I was not hissed, 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 revoked 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 substance of my remarks, and not one word of
     objection was taken, or reply made by our Convention.

     I read again from this paper. (An extract implying that among the
     measures taken to browbeat the Convention into receiving Miss
     Brown, was the forming of a society instantly, under the special
     urgency of herself 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 simple, literal facts as they
     occurred, and they may speak for themselves.

     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. Hopper. The
     last two were men from New York City. The question was already
     decided that women might be received as delegates to that
     Convention; 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 various resolutions
     were brought forward. I arose, and the President said 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 platform, who were incessantly raising "points of
     order"--the extempore bantlings of great minds in great
     emergencies. For the space of three 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
     might be persons voting in the house who were not delegates, and
     it was decided 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. Wendell Phillips and his colleagues were among them. He
     went to the President and said: "I rely upon you to be admitted
     to the Hall, for we know that our names are not yet on the list."
     The President assented. As the 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 persons who came in afterward, asked what was the
     business before the house, and on being informed, moved that it
     be reconsidered. The President 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," 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 comes out
     of evil often.

     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 Committee 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 herself 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 mention 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.

     One word more as to Mr. Carey. He says, "The negro question was
     not discussed as Greeley & Co. wished it to be. O Greeley, how
     art thou fallen!" These are Gen. Carey's words, not mine. Mr.
     Greeley has risen greatly in my estimation, and not fallen. A
     colored delegate[18] did take his credentials to the Convention,
     but he was not received. I saw him myself, 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 platform; second day,
     gagging 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 wore 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 acquainted 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 unenviable 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 unpleasant 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 circumstances of the World's Convention to be sure, but one,
     at the same time, which, acknowledged, must forward all good
     causes, and, disregarded, must retard them. I went there, asking
     no favor as a woman, asking no special recognition of the
     woman-cause. I went there in behalf 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 daughters of the race
     should be received in that Convention, if they went there 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 principle which we were there 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 member 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 carried 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 clinging 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 balance the whole ocean. We went there, only to claim
     in the name of Democracy 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
     reverenced 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 circumstances, 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 Metropolitan 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: "Miss Brown has the floor."

     A DELEGATE: "Mr. President, I rise to a point of order."

     PRESIDENT: "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!" another, "She sha'n't be heard!" another, "You raise a
     point of order when he is done, and I will raise another." In the
     confusion I hear something almost like swearing, but not
     swearing, for most of those men are "holy men," 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
     class of comforters gathers around me, speaking smooth, consoling
     words in my ear while upon the other side are angry disputants,
     clinching their fists and growing 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 conscientiously; 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."

     "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 certainly cry

     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 fasting," 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. "I think He would," spoken with a
     positive 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 kiss, 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
     me, and I caught the flashing of defiant eyes; but above me, and
     within me, 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 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 conceded 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. It reminded me of a remark which was made concerning
     the Brick Chapel meeting: "If you had spoken words of flattery,
     they would have done what you wanted."

     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 eyewitness 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
     disgraceful 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, claiming 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 question 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. "I said to my father, you had stormy times at the
     Convention to-day." "Yes," said the father, "stormy times." Said
     the son, "Why didn't you allow her to speak?" "Ah," said the
     Doctor, "it was the principle of the thing!" But it so happened
     that the son and daughter thought the principle a wrong one.

     Mr. Garrison: Yes, it was the principle that was at stake. It was
     not simply 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 object, she might speak elsewhere for
     another object, and she might, peradventure, as my friend does,
     proceed to occupy a pulpit and settle over a congregation. 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
     character, and so he was unwilling to take the first step toward

     The principle for which Miss Brown contended, was this: every
     society has a right to determine who shall represent it in
     convention. Invitation was 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. When a body like that
     comes together, the principle is this, each delegate stands on
     the same 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 societies and all the friends of 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 "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 address the assembly (though
     declared by the President to be entitled to the floor, and
     although his decision was repeatedly sustained by a majority of
     the 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 be
     heard, and thus virtually excluding her from the Convention in an
     ignominious manner, solely on account of her being a woman;

     _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 the
     societies whose credentials she bore, worthy only of those who
     are filled with strong drink, and a scandal to the temperance

     _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 advocate 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 Reserve, 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

     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

     WILLIAM L. GARRISON: I wish to make one statement in regard to
     General 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, Come-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 recognizing 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 to prevent a delegate from
     being admitted, on the ground of being a woman; showing that
     while at old Kennett they were willing to conform, finding it
     would be popular; in New York they joined in this brutal
     proscription of a woman, only because she was a woman.

     LUCY STONE: I know it is time to take the question upon these
     resolutions, but I wish to say one word. When a world's
     convention of any kind is called--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 amount
     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, I want 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 the 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! Now 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 mention 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, philosophers--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 womankind.


In 1855, October 17th and 18th, the people of Cincinnati, Ohio, were
summoned to the consideration of the question of Woman's Rights. 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 gentlemen
shawls, that the audiences were large and enthusiastic, that the
curiosity to see women who could make a speech was intense. Martha C.
Wright, of Auburn, a sister of Lucretia Mott, was chosen President. On
the platform sat Mrs. Mott, Hannah Tracy Cutler, Josephine S.
Griffing, Mary S. Anthony, of Rochester, N. Y.; Ernestine L. Rose,
Adeline Swift, Joseph Barker, an Englishman, an ex-member 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,[19] 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
movement 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 ridicule
them, then report them without comment, and at last openly advocate
them. We seem to be still in the first stage on this question.

     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 increase 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 on 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, conferring 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 to England, 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 replied by showing the effect of it upon
     France, which he declared was the only country in which it
     existed. "You forget," exclaimed one, "America!" "America! never
     name her! a land of three millions of slaves." The multitude
     would not believe this; they shouted in derision, whenever the
     speaker attempted to resume. America was their last hope. If that
     country was given 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 American," said one near me;
     "get up and defend your country!" What could I say? 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 principally 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 profession 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 being 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
     prevailed 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 basis
     except in the usages and prejudices of the age. This is seen in
     the fact that what is tolerated 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 capable of doing, that is his sphere." I
     have confidence in the Father to believe that when He gives us
     the capacity to do anything He does 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, and sew on buttons. We are told woman has all the
     rights she wants; and even women, I am ashamed to say, tell us
     so. They mistake the politeness of men for rights--seats while
     men stand in this hall to-night, and their adulations; but 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 before
     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 punctured paper; but if she goes
     heartily and bravely to give herself to some worthy 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 condition
     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 affection.

     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 would 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 brothers 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 Grimké 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
     difficulties, but to the next the path will be made easy.

     Lucretia Mott has been a preacher for years; her right to do so
     is not questioned among Friends. But when Antoinette Brown felt
     that she was commanded 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 be
     allowed to tell them how to keep out of it. She is now ordained
     over a parish in the State of New York, but when she meets on the
     Temperance platform the Rev. 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 heretofore 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. Gage, 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 invaluable on
the committees for business and resolutions.

In 1857, 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
children. These amendments were warmly recommended by Gov. Salmon P.
Chase in his annual message. The Select Committee[20] 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

     _Resolved_, That the Judiciary Committee be instructed to report
     to the Senate a bill to submit to the qualified electors at the
     next election for Senators and Representatives an amendment to
     the Constitution, whereby the elective franchise shall be
     extended to the citizens of Ohio without distinction of sex.

But the bill was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 44 to 44. The
petition had received 10,000 signatures. We give this able report in

The proceedings of these early Conventions might be read with pride
and satisfaction by the women of Ohio to-day, with all their superior
advantages of education. Frances D. Gage was a natural 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

     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 Vermont; 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 discussing 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

     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 acquainted 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 necessity 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 her
     abundant opportunity, which she did not fail to embrace, of
     circulating petitions and advocating 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 this direction; and also to
     Mrs. Howard, of Columbus for similar service. Miss Olympia Brown,
     a graduate of Antioch College, canvassed several towns most
     successfully--adding thousands of names to the lists heretofore
     obtained. Equally zealous were women, and men also, in various
     sections of the State. By means of this hearty co-operation, both
     branches of the Legislature were flooded with Woman's Rights
     petitions during the first part of the session--a thousand and
     even two thousand names were presented at a time.

     Our main object this year, as heretofore, has been to secure
     personal property and parental rights, never ignoring, however,
     the right to legislate for ourselves. We were fortunate in the
     commencement in enlisting some of the leading 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 leading
     journals of the State have treated our cause with consideration,
     and generously 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 consideration. 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, I will place one extract only
     upon record.

     "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 has seldom seen so refined and intelligent an
     audience as that which gathered round those earnest women, who
     had none of the charm of youth or beauty to challenge admiration,
     but whose heads were already sprinkled with the frosts of life's
     winter. Earnest, truthful, womanly, richly cultivated by the
     experiences of practical life, those women, mothers, and two of
     them grandmothers, pleaded for the right of woman to the fruit of
     her own genius, labor, or skill, and for 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 cohorts of 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 Senators and Members of
     the House, crowded around them with congratulations and
     assurances that their able and earnest arguments had fully
     prevailed, and the prayers of 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 distributed over the State at their expense.

     The change in public sentiment, the marked favor with which our
     cause began to be regarded in the judicial and legislative
     departments, encouraged us to hope that if equal and exact
     justice were not established, which we could 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, securing 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 business 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 very large

     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 through 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
     session, 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

                                               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 modicum 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
enfranchisement 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 freedmen, 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.


[14] Years before the calling of this Convention, Mrs. Frances D. Gage
had roused much thought in Ohio by voice and pen. She was a long time
in correspondence with Harriet Martineau and Mrs. Jane Knight, who was
energetically working for reduced postage rates, even before the days
of Rowland Hill.

[15] See Appendix.

[16] Said to have been written by J. Elizabeth Jones.

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

[18] James McCune Smith.

[19] See Appendix.

[20] J. D. Cattell and H. Canfield.

[21] See Appendix.



     VERMONT: Editor _Windham County Democrat_--Property Laws, 1847
       and 1849--Addressed 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 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. Wm. G. Eliot, and Rev. Mr. Weaver.

In 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 are indebted for many
civil rights they have as yet been too apathetic to exercise.

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 States.


I was born in Townshend, Windham County, Vermont, January 25, 1810.

From 1843 to 1853 inclusive, I edited _The Windham County_
_Democrat_, published by my husband, Geo. W. Nichols, at Brattleboro.

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_, introduced in
the Vermont 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 inheritance 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 husband and wife. She might
by last will and testament dispose of her lands, tenements,
hereditaments, and any interest therein descendable 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 Vermont wives.

In 1849, Vermont enacted a Homestead law. In 1850, a bill empowering
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 husbands 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

In 1852, I drew up a petition signed by more than 200 of the most
substantial business men, including the staunchest conservatives, 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
disclaiming its advocacy as improper, I had, since 1849, shown the
absurdity of regarding suffrage as unwomanly. Having failed to secure
her legal rights by reason of her disfranchisement, a woman must look
to the ballot for self-protection. In this cautious way I proceeded,
aware that not a house would be opened to me, did I demand 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 "Woman'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 Freeman_ (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--including 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., "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
scramble for the breeches!"

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 Educational
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: "I will not appeal
to the gallantry of this House, but to its manliness, if such a taunt
does not come with an ill grace from gentlemen who have legislated our
skirts into their possession? And will it not be quite time enough for
them to taunt us with being after their wardrobes, when they shall
have restored to us the legal right 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 personal 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
Rights were, Mrs. Nichols, but we are for Woman's Rights."

Said Mrs. Thompson to me upon our return to her home: "I broke out in
a cold perspiration when your voice failed and you leaned your head on
your hand."[23] "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 complete 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

The effort brought me no reproach, no ridicule from any quarter, but
instead, cordial recognition and delicate sympathy from unexpected
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.

From the time I spoke at the Worcester Convention, 1850, until I left
for Kansas, October, 1854, I responded to frequent calls from town and
neighborhood committees and lyceums--in the county and adjoining
territory of New Hampshire and Massachusetts as 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 legal and political equality. In
these neighborhood lyceums, ministers 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 my experience it was the same; the
"affirmative" had the merit and the argument.

The clergy often spoke--always when present--and in the negative, 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 converts to Mr. Nichols, "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 Massachusetts
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 Rights."
I had scarcely settled myself in the rear of the saloon for a restful,
careless two hours' ride, when two men entered the car. In the younger
man I recognized the sheriff of our county. Having given a searching
glance around the ear, 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, electrified by the wail of a
"Rachel 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 the 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 'Woman's Rights.' This is
one of the rights--a mother's right to the care and custody of her
helpless little ones!"

From that excited crowd--all young men and grown boys, I being 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 I!_" "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 right to 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 attempting 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 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

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
otherwise 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 memorial "hanks" of yarn,
with messages from the donors that "they 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 there.

And thus was the seed of woman's educational, industrial, and
political rights sown in Vermont, through infinite labor, but in the
faith and perseverance which bring their courage to all workers for
the right.


In September and October, 1853, I traveled 900 miles in Wisconsin, 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 repeated
solicitations of its delegates whom I met at the "Whole World's
Temperance Convention," held in New York City in September, 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 "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 right
and propriety of woman's public advocacy of temperance was a settled
question in the field to which I was invited. But arrived at
Milwaukee, I found that the popular prejudice against women as public
speakers, and especially the advocacy of Woman's Rights, with which I
had for years been identified, had been stirred to its most disgusting
depths by a reverend gentleman who had preceded us, and who had for
years been a salaried "agent at large," of the New York State
Temperance Society. A highly respectable minority of the Executive
Committee of the League endorsed the action of their delegation, but
were overruled by a numerical majority, and I found myself in the
position of agent "at large," while the reverend traducer secured his
engagement in my place.

This turn of affairs, embarrassing at first, proved in the end
providential--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 address 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 "appointed 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 consented to precede my
lectures with a brief physiological dissertation apropos to the object
of the canvass. The burden of the 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 importuned to rebut some
baseless scandal. To fight our way would be to mar the spirit and
effect of our work. We must place the opposition 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
carriage,--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 arrangements.
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 soon disposed 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 interest 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 prevent speaking, there were calls for speakers. The chairman
replied that it was a "business meeting, but Rev. Mr. ----, from
Illinois, would lecture in the evening." Several gentlemen rose to
protest. One said he "had walked seven miles that his wife and
daughters might ride, to hear the ladies speak." Another had "ridden
horseback 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 the
request; "half an hour was all the time he wanted." But 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 made arrangements to
speak the next evening," and joined in the "go on, 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 audience were several
Vermonters from a settlement of fourteen families from the vicinity of
my home; among them a lady from my native town; we had been 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 years before in Western New
York. In the generous confidence of youthful enthusiasm we had
enlisted in the cold-water army; together pledged ourselves to fight
the liquor interest to the death. And here my old friend, whose début
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 each 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 remembered
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 regarding 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 disappointed.

Next morning, (Sabbath) I listened to a scholarly sermon on infidel
issues and innovations from the chairman of the "business meeting" of
the previous afternoon, he having stayed away from my lecture to
prepare it. In the evening, after the temperance lecture of my
Illinois friend, I improved the opportunity of a call from the
audience, the Rev. Chairman being present, to meet certain points of
the sermon, personal to myself and the advocates of rights for women,
closing with a brief confession of my faith in Christ's rule of love
and duty as impressing every human being into the service of a common
humanity--the right to serve being commensurate with the obligation,
as of God and not of man.

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 prudence of silence on the
subject of Woman's Rights. And here, on the very threshold of the
campaign, I had been compelled to vindicate 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 political 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 withhold 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 custody of their
children. Thus proving, that man, by his disabling laws, has made
woman helpless and dependent, and not God, who has endowed her with
capabilities equal to the responsibilities He has imposed.

Worse than unwise would it have been to allow an unjust prejudice
against Woman's Rights, to turn the edge of my appeals for 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 _no_-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 audiences, that I
had not come to talk to them of "Woman's Rights," that indeed 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 rights_ and _woman's needs_.

From the Lake Shore cities, from the inland villages, the shire towns,
and the mining communities of the Mississippi, whose 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 years and ten. This reaction from the
curiosity and doubt which everywhere 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
suggested, that as it was votes we needed, I would prefer to address
an audience of both sexes. Arrived at C----, I found that the ladies
of the committee, having acted upon my suggestion, were intensely
anxious as to the result. "An audience," they said, "could not be
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 vindicate the
womanliness of our joint venture. But the people came, a 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, declined 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 handmaid, and a'hem--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

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
oh 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 endorsed by an Anti-Woman's Rights audience with
fervent thanks to God!

Latter-day laborers can have little idea of the trials of the early
worker, driven by the stress of right and duty against popular
prejudices, 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 generous hospitality
of the people of Wisconsin, is one of the pleasantest 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 influenced
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 O. 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 home stand-point of
woman's sphere. As a financial measure diverting 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 gentlemanly attorney:
"If Patrick will let the bottle alone"--"Please, your honor," 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, emigrants 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 distinctly by the crowd which occupied all
the standing room around the cabin, I took my stand opposite the
Doctor's berth. Next morning, 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 immigrants,
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 "hacks" of wondering,
scowling Missouri, scattered all along the prairie road from Kansas
City to Lawrence, the Mecca of their pilgrimage.

In advance of all these, at 11 o'clock A.M., Mrs. H---- and myself
were sitting in front of the Lawrence office of the New England
Emigrant Aid Company, in the covered wagon of Hon. S. C. Pomeroy, who
had brought us from Kansas City, and entered the office to announce
the arrival of our company; when a hilarious explosion of several
voices assured us that good lungs as well as brave hearts were within.
Directly Col. P. and Dr. (Governor) Robinson came out. "Did you hear
the cheering?" asked the Doctor. "I did, and was thinking when you
came out, what a popular man the Colonel must be to call forth such a
greeting!" "But the cheers were for Mrs. Nichols," was the reply; and
the Doctor proceeded to tell us that, "the boys" had been hotly
discussing women's rights, when 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 Leavenworth. I
wonder if the Judge--he is that now, and a benedict--remembers? I
still regret that lost opportunity for making his acquaintance.

At Lawrence, the objective point of all the Free State immigration,
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 dinnerbell. 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 Rights on the boats in going and returning, as at
first, by invitation. In the summer 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 husband'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 and
importance as a free or slave State, and its claims to an efficient
support in the interest of freedom. In September, being appealed 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 engagement with
the Aid Committee), I gave some fifty Kansas lectures in the States of
Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and
New York, followed occasionally by one or two lectures on the legal
and political disabilities of women; receiving 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 we were mad enough. I
was madder, 'cause I'd opened my house, seein' as it was the largest
and most convenient in the neighborhood."

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 appointed 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 "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."

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 smoothing my page of notes
when there fell on my astonished ear--"I was about to introduce the
lady speaker, but she has suddenly disappeared." Stepping forward, I
said, "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 platform." "I 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 myself 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 motion was seconded with emphasis by a
man of venerable presence. "Friends," I appealed, "this is a personal
matter; it gives me no concern. It will affect neither me nor my work.
Please name suitable 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 my
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
spirit, than he that taketh a city.' Good-night, sir." I learned that
a few months before he had prevented his people from inviting
Antoinette 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, I had, by invitation of its editor,
written a series of articles on the subject of woman's legal
disabilities, 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, I 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. I
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 Rights 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

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 Convention--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 communication so slow
and uncertain, that I felt sure an attempt at Conventions would be
disastrous, only betraying the weakness of our reserves, 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 Convention, counseled
with members, and reported to me that "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 Convention,
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 I
occupied till the adjournment of the Convention, 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 unreconstructed
Senator Ingalls, an early report upon our petitions would have been
utter defeat. Persistent "button-holing" of the delegates, any
"unwomanly obtrusiveness" of manners, a vague apprehension of which,
at that period of our movement, was associated in the minds of even
good men and women, with the advocacy of the cause, was the
"big-'fraid" followed by more than one "little 'fraid," that made my
course one of anxiety, less only than my 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 delegates and citizens
the justice of the demand for political enfranchisement.

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 Convention, 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 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. I
will _sign the bill_." And the Governor, quite unconscious of his
mistake, with a smile and a bow, hurried away amid the good-natured
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 Rights provisions" of that document.
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 provision 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 now, added the old
gentleman, "I would like to hear what Mrs. Nichols has to say on this
point?" Taking counsel only of my indignation, 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 men.

Policy restrained the few Republican members who had voted against the
provisions[24] 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 Democratic half-dollar;
I like your Woman's Rights."

At Troy, Don. Co., sitting behind the closed shutters of an open
window, I heard outside a debate between Republicans and Democrats.
One of the latter, an ex-Secretary of the Territory, at one time
acting 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 usual to the Democrats, I
narrated the above incident and bowed smilingly to the ex-Secretary,
with whom I was acquainted, and said, "Gentlemen who turn up their
'Anglo-Saxon' noses at the idea of 'political equality with the
negro,' as demoralizing to the white man, forget that in all these
years the white woman has been 'on a political 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 these from hundreds of
telling incidents must suffice to initiate you in the spirit of that
ever memorable campaign.

[Illustration: CLARINA HOWARD NICHOLS (with autograph).]

In 1854, when I was about leaving Vermont for Kansas, an earnest
friend of our cause protested that I was "going to bury myself in
Kansas, just as I had won an influence and awakened a public 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 Vermont, 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 harmonicons of the old States, than it would to secure
vantage ground for legal and political equality in the new. I believed
then and believe now that Woman Suffrage would have received a
majority vote in Kansas if it could have been submitted unembarrassed
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 I 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.

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. Kingman
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, "protesting 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
     conclusion 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 efficiently 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 are merely political 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.

            BEN. WRIGLEY.


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 steam-plowed
river from my Kansas home, Missouri towns and hamlets lay invitingly
before me. For more than three years I had held my opportunity in
reserve. The time to improve it seemed to have come.

When our company landed at Kansas City, October, 1854, members of a
Missouri delegation opposed to the Free State emigration to that
Territory met us. More than half the company that preceded 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. E. 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 information 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 are 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 Kansas 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
Vermont the sheeps' noses have to be sharpened, so that they can pluck
the spires of grass from between the rocks?

With 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 Rights--"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 subject." Why, sir, I am an
Abolitionist, and they would tar and feather me! "You don't say
anything about slavery in your woman'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
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 lecture on woman's rights. His reply
was prompt; his assurances hearty. I had "only to name the time," and
I would find everything 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
emancipation would result in amalgamation.

Postscript No. 1.--Have you tried your experiment of education on any
little nigger yet?                                              J. S.

Postscript No. 2.--No, I have not tried my educational experiment, 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 courtesies, 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 voting."

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 consideration for
woman's cause and its advocacy, but improved my opportunity to
vindicate New England training, in face of Southern prejudices. One
little episode, as rich in its significance, as in the inspiration it
communicated, will serve to round out my St. Joseph experience.

In introducing me to my audience, the Colonel--remembering, perhaps,
that I did not "mix things," or feeling that he might trust my
consciousness of being cornered on the slavery question--remarked in a
vein of courteously concealed irony: "It looks very strange to us for
a lady to speak in public, but we must remember 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 women of the necessity to labor, protect
them in the sacred privacy of home."

In his ignorance of the subject, my friend had unwittingly resined 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 _no_-right 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 River 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 legal, 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 communicate with
influential citizens to make the necessary arrangements.

An early compliance with my promise was prevented by the Kansas
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 Westport, by
arrangement of a gentleman of that place, whose acquaintance 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 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 "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
questionings 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 lectured
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 accompanying
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 evidenced 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 community.
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 called on the editors of the
_Republican_ (pro-slavery), and secured a paid notice of my lecture.
The editor of the _Democrat_, who had an interest in free Kansas, and
was glad of news items from its 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. The result was a full house, and
hearty appeals for "more."

As isolated, historical facts, how very trivial all these
"reminiscences" appear! How egotistical the pen that presumes upon
anything 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!

The autumn and winter of 1860-61 I spent in Wisconsin and Ohio; in
Wisconsin, visiting friends and lecturing. In Ohio, Mrs. Frances D.
Gage, Mrs. Hannah Tracy Cutler, and myself were employed under
direction of Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, of Salem, to canvass the State,
lecturing and procuring names to petitions to the Legislature for
equal legal and political rights for the women of the State. The time
chosen for this work was inopportune for immediate 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 classes waited in the streets, or congregated in
public places to hear the news and discuss the political situation.

From December, 1863, to March, 1866, I was in Washington, D. C.,
writing in the Military or Revenue Departments, or occupying 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 submitted 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, Rev. 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 Atchison and Jefferson Counties, and a few
lectures in Douglass, Shawnee, and Osage Counties, I 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 _exposé_ of my
public life.


[22] 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 day of the session.

[23] 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
tremulous 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 womanly." Mrs. Nichols hoped
no further than that. She did not expect conservative Vermont 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

[24] 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 Democrats 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 a
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



     Women in the Revolution--Anti-Tea Leagues--Phillis
     Wheatley--Mistress Anne Hutchinson--Heroines in 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,[25] 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 expected invasion of the British
on the morrow. The church bells pealing far and near on the midnight
air, roused tired sleepers hurriedly 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 importance to
the patriot forces.

During these early days, the women of various Colonies--Virginia, New
York, Rhode 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[26] taking the
place of the hated bohea. In Newport, at a gathering of ladies, where
both hyperion and bohea were offered, every lady present refused the
hated bohea, emblem of political slavery. In Boston, 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 patriotism and a regard for
posterity.[27] 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 before 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 Draper.

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 1773, 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 thus
cheaply earned in destroying what did not belong to them and what was
of no use to them. Their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters drank
raspberry, sage, and birch, lest by the use of foreign tea they should
help rivet the chains of oppression upon their country. Why should not
the American Revolution have been successful, when women so nobly
sustained republican principles, taking the initiative in
self-sacrifice and pointing the path to man by patriotic example.

In Massachusetts, as in other States, were also formed associations
known as "Daughters of Liberty."[28] These organizations did much to
fan the nascent flames of freedom.

The first naval battle of the Revolution was fought at Machias, Maine,
then a part of Massachusetts. An insult having been offered its
inhabitants, by a vessel in the harbor, the men of the surrounding
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 immediate question.
Every able-bodied man had already left, only 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 wilderness. 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 reached Machias in safety, before the attack on the
British ship, finding 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
ranks, surrounded by companions,'mid the accompaniments of beating
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.[29] 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 literary
industry of the women who helped to build up the early civilization of
New England. Their writings, for some presumed on authorship, 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 received much attention for
their literary ability. Charles T. Congdon, 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, Governor of
Massachusetts. Her first work was entitled "The Tenth Muse lately
sprung up in America." The first edition was published 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 Description 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, 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
"that the poems contained in her published volume, exhibit the most
favorable evidence on record, of the capacity 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 inspiring to read:

    "He prayed that grace in every heart might dwell.
    He louged 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

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. Rowson,
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. They go through so many
pages, seeking to give the little people some notion of botany, of
natural history, of other branches of human intelligence. There is no
book cleverer in its way than Miss Hannah Adams' "History of New
England," of which the second edition was published in Boston in
1807. 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 Hutchinson, 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

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 Hutchinson, and soon she
called meetings of the sisters, where she repeated the sermons of the
Lord's day, making comments upon them. Her illustrations of Scripture
were so new and striking that the meetings were rendered more
interesting to the women than any they had attended. At first the
clergy approved, but as the men attracted by the fame of her
discourses, crowded into her meetings, they began 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 revelations, 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, 1637, sat three weeks, and proclaimed eighty-two errors
extant; among them the tenets taught by Mistress Hutchinson. She was
called before the church and ordered to retract upon twenty-nine
points. The infant colony was shaken by this discussion, which took on
a political aspect.[30] Mistress Hutchinson remained steadfast, and
was sustained by many important people, among whom was the young
Governor Vane.

Church and State became united in their opposition to Mistress Anne
Hutchinson. 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 five 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

As the winter was very severe, she was allowed to remain in Roxbury
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 dangers 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;
imprisoned for heresy; burned, hung, drowned as a witch: what
suffering and anxiety has she not endured! what lofty heroism has she
not exemplified!

And when the crusade against slavery in our republic was inaugurated
in 1830, another Spartan band of women stood ready for the battle, and
the storm of that fierce conflict, surpassing in courage, moral
heroism, and conscientious devotion to great principles, all that
woman in any age had done or dared. With reverent lips we 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 Rights, 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.[31] 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.[32]

That women exercised the right of suffrage amid so many restrictions,
is very significant of the belief in her right to the ballot, by those
early Fathers.[33]


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 secreting
them, or proving them to have been loaned to her. To such deception
did the laws of Massachusetts, like those of most 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

Mrs. Ferrin reported the substance of the above conversation to Mrs.
Phebe King,[34] of Danvers, who at once became deeply interested,
saying, "If such are the laws by which women are governed, every woman
in the State should sign a petition to have them altered."

"Will you sign one if drawn up?" queried Mrs. Ferrin.

"Yes," replied Mrs. King, "and I should think every woman would sign
such a petition."

As the proper form of petitions was something with which women were
then quite unfamiliar, the aid of several gentlemen was asked, among
them Hon. D. P. King and Judge John Heartley, but all refused.

Miss Betsy King then suggested that Judge Pitkin[35] possessed
sufficient influence to have the laws amended without the trouble of
petitioning the Legislature. Strong in their faith that the enactment
of just laws was the business of legislative bodies, these 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 own 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.

"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 regarding 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 signatures of old
and young; though finding the young more ready to ask for change than
those inured to ill-usage and injustice. Many 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

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
determined to attack the Legislature in such good season, that
lateness of time would not again be brought up as an excuse for
non-attention to the prayers of women. Mrs. King's interest continued
unabated, 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 Congress, 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 Judiciary Committee, to
whom your petitions will be referred." These two documents will be
found to suggest most of the important demands, 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, followed 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

But in 1850, as in 1849, no action was taken, the petitioners having
"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 constantly 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 prayers
should have received at least respectful consideration from the
legislators of the State. We give the appeal accompanying their

     GENTLEMEN:--Your petitioners, who are tax-payers and originators
     of these petitions, are upwards of three-score years; ten of them
     are past three-score years and ten; three of them three-score and
     twenty. If length 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 potent claims, for reason has
     taught them what individual rights are, experience, what woman
     and her children suffer for the want of just protection 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 sorrow
     to the grave for the want of this justice in your power to
     extend, as have 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[37] 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 securing the
control of their own property to all women married subsequent 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 personal property. This law also
gave to married women having no children, whose husbands should die
without a will, five thousand dollars, and one-half of the remainder
of the husband's property. The following year the Divorce Law[38] 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 divorce 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 privileges.

The first change in the tyrannous laws of Massachusetts was really due
to the work of this one woman, Mary Upton Ferrin, who for six years,
after her own quaint method, poured the hot shot of her earnest
conviction of woman's wrongs into the Legislature. In circulating
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

Although two thousand petitions were sent into the Constitutional
Convention of 1853, from other friends of woman's enfranchisement 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.[39]

                   MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE IN 1850.

     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 make 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 estate. She can sell it with his consent, but the deeds
     must pass and be recorded, and then, if the husband pleases, he
     can take the money and buy the property back again. Does justice
     require that a man and his wife 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 common 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 man.

     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 apprised of the existence of the
     laws by which they might be benefited. Few, if any, would marry a
     man so incompetent as in their opinion to render it necessary to
     avail themselves of such laws; neither would any spirited man
     knowingly marry a woman who considered 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.

     We are told "the Bible does not provide for divorce except for
     one offence." Neither does the Bible prohibit divorce for any
     other justifiable cause. Inasmuch as men take the liberty to
     legislate upon other subjects of which the 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 whomsoever
     practiced, encouraged, or protected, whether public or
     private--whether social, political, or religious.

     A very estimable and influential lady, whose property was valued
     at over $150,000, married a man, in whom she had unbounded, but
     misplaced confidence, as is too often the case; consequently the
     most of her property was squandered through intemperance and
     dissipation, before she was aware of the least wrong-doing. So
     deeply was she shocked by the character of her husband, that she
     soon found a premature grave, leaving several small children to
     be reared and educated upon the remnant of her scattered wealth.

     Nearly twelve years since, a woman of a neighboring town, whose
     husband had forsaken her, hired a man to carry her furniture in a
     wagon to her native 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 situation. 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
     squandered, 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 assistance; 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. Complain then not to
     us, lest instead of alleviating your sufferings, we strengthen
     the cords that already bind you."

     The moral courage of the "Hero of the Battle-field" would shrink
     in horror 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 acknowledging its
     receipt. It was probably the only ten dollars the woman ever
     received, except for her own exertions, which were constantly
     required to supply 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 overflowing, 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 suggest. 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 what I have hitherto
     experienced, or that my female friends should suffer as I have
     done, and I know that many of them do. Yet, neither sacrifice,
     sympathy, argument, or influence can avail us anything under
     existing circumstances."

     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

     To many of us death would be a luxury compared to what we suffer
     in consequence 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 sacredness 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 for 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 ours, 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 assembly 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

     It is urged that women are ignorant of the laws. They are
     sufficiently enlightened to comprehend the meaning of justice--a
     far more important thing--which admits of neither improvement nor
     modification, but is applicable to every emergency. With the
     perceptibility that some can boast, it would require but a short
     time for them to enact laws sufficient to govern themselves,
     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 consult the greatest good of the
     greatest number, is rewarded with agreeable and honorable
     children; while the one who is unjust, partial, and severe, is
     proportionably recompensed for his indiscretion.

     In regard to unjust imprisonment we are told, "It is of too rare
     occurrence 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 gallows, to screen
     some miserable villain from justice? Witnesses, lawyers, judges,
     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 guilty 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.


The Conventions in New York and Ohio, though not extensively
advertised, nor planned with much deliberation, for in both cases
they were hastily decided upon, yet their novelty attracted much
attention, 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 initiative 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

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.[40] Illness hindered one, duty to a
brother another, duty to the slave a third, professional 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.

"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 were, 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.'

     "'You do me but justice in supposing me deeply interested in the
     question of woman's elevation.             CATHERINE M. SEDGWICK.'

     "'The new movement has my fullest sympathy, and my name is at
     its service.                              WILLIAM HENRY CHANNING.'

"None came with such perfect and entire fullness as the one from which
I quote the closing paragraph:

     "'Yes, with all my heart I give my name to your noble call.
                                            "'ELIZABETH CADY STANTON.'

     "'You are at liberty to append my own and my wife's name to your
     admirable call,                             "'ANN GREEN PHILLIPS,
                                                  "'WENDELL 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
     be wrecked or lost. Under the dominion of these ideas, right
     practice must gradually take the place of wrong, and the first we
     shall know we shall find the social swallowing up the political,
     and the whole governing its parts.
               "'With genuine respect, your co-worker,
     "'MRS. PAULINA W. DAVIS.                          ELIZUR WRIGHT.'

"Letters from Gerrit Smith, Joshua R. Giddings, John G. Whittier,
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, toward whom
many eyes were turned as the future leader in this movement, was not
with us. The 'hungry, ravening sea,' had swallowed her up, and we were
left to mourn her guiding hand--her royal presence. To her, I, at
least, had hoped to confide the leadership 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 H. Earl,[41] of
Worcester, and a permanent list of officers presented in due order,
and the whole business of the Convention was conducted in a
parliamentary manner. Mrs. Earl, to whose memory we pay tribute
to-day as one gone before, not lost, was one of the loveliest
embodiments of womanhood I have ever known. She possessed a rare
combination of strength, gentleness, and earnestness, with a childlike
freedom and cheerfulness. I miss to-day her clear voice, her graceful
self-poise, her calm dignity.

"From our midst another is missing: Mrs. Sarah Tyndale, of
Philadelphia--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
welcome. 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 was 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 prescient,
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 present
with us, 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.

"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 home 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 law.

"Abby H. Price, large-hearted and large-brained, gentle and strong,
presented an address on the social question not easily forgotten, and
seldom to the present time bettered.

"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. Harriot K.
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 passed,
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
     represent 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 wonderfully
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
vindicated 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. I can pay no tribute to her memory
so beautiful as the following extract from a letter recently received
from her husband:

     "'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 _Westminster Review_, has had
     so much effect and is so justly appreciated in the United States.
     Were it possible in a memoir to have the formation and growth of
     a mind like hers portrayed, to do so would be 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 exist. 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 the presence of a most meagre one.
     What she 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 legal system,
     in a very striking light.

                          "'I am, dear madam, yours sincerely,
      "'MRS. PAULINA WRIGHT DAVIS.                     J. S. MILL.'

"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 Nicodemus, they
came by night to inquire 'how these things could be.' Self-interest
showed them the advantages accruing from the recognition 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 Sojourner Truth representing the
enslaved African race. The Channings, Sargents, Parsons, Shaws, from
the liberal pulpit and the aristocracy of Boston. From Ohio came
Mariana and Oliver Johnson, who had edited the _Anti-Slavery Bugle_,
that sent forth many a blast against the black laws of that State, and
many a stirring call for the woman's conventions. From Ohio, too, came
Ellen and Marion Blackwell, sisters of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell.
Pennsylvania sent its Lucretia Mott, 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 following list of officers adopted by
the Convention:




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.

                                 THE CALL.

     A Convention will be held at Worcester, Mass., on the 23d and
     24th of October 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 earnest thought and effective
     effort to its rightful adjustment, are invited to meet each other
     in free conference at the time and place 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, has brought this one, which yields to none in
     importance and urgency, into distinguished prominence. One-half
     the race are its immediate objects, and the other half are as
     deeply involved, by that absolute unity of interest and destiny
     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, are one flesh and one blood;
     mother, sister, wife, and daughter come so near the heart and
     mind of every man, that they must be either his blessing or his
     bane. Where there is such mutuality of interests, such an
     interlinking of life, there can be no real antagonism of position
     and action. The sexes should not, for any reason or by any
     chance, take hostile attitudes toward each other, either in the
     apprehension or amendment of the wrongs which exist in their
     necessary relations; but they should harmonize in opinion and
     co-operate in effort, for the reason that they must unite in the
     ultimate achievement of the desired reformation.

     Of the many points now under discussion, 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, commercial, and
     professional; her interests--pecuniary, civil, and political; in
     a word, her rights as an individual, and her functions as a

     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 differences of
     the sexes which should determine, define, and limit the resulting
     differences of office and duty, are adequately comprehended and
     practically observed.

     Woman has been condemned for her greater delicacy of physical
     organization, 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 with such limitation and degradation of
     labor and avocation, as clearly and cruelly mark the condition of
     a disabled caste. But by the inspiration of the Almighty, 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 muddying the springs from
     which it draws its highest life, and womanhood is everywhere
     awakening to assert its divinely chartered rights and to fulfill
     its noblest 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, and through it the
     Providence of God is vindicating the order and appointments of
     His creation.

     The signs are encouraging; the time is opportune. Come, then, to
     this Convention. It is your duty, if you are worthy of your age
     and country. Give the help 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 success of
     this high and holy movement.

This call was signed by eighty-nine leading men and women of six

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 institutions. Moreover, it is a
     movement without example among the enterprises of associated
     reformations, for it has no purpose of arming the oppressed
     against the oppressor, or of separating the parties, or of
     setting up independence, or of severing the relations of either.

     Its intended changes are to be wrought in the intimate texture of
     all societary organizations, without violence or any form of
     antagonism. It seeks 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. We 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 being can not be
     made the property of another, though they were redeemed for him
     or her by the life of that other; for rights can not be forfeited
     by way of salvage, and they are, in their nature, unpurchasable
     and inalienable. 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. Van Amringe's paper on "Woman's Rights 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 Lukens, Margaret
Chappel Smith, Nancy M. Baird, Jane Cowen, Sophia L. Little, Elizabeth
Wilson, Maria L. Varney, and Milfred A. Spaford.[43]

Mrs. Abby H. Price, of Hopedale, made an address on the injustice of
excluding girls from the colleges, the trades and the professions, and
the importance of training them to some profitable labor, and thus to
protect their virtue, dignity, and self-respect by securing their
pecuniary independence.

     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, he 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 business
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

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, Wendell
Phillips, William Henry Channing, Ernestine L. Rose, Frederick
Douglass, Martha Mowry, Abby Kelly and Stephen Foster, Elizabeth B.
Chase, James N. Buffam, Sojourner Truth, Eliab Capron, and Joseph C.
Hathaway, took part. As there was no phonographic reporter 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,[44] 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 enfeebled condition made
her incapable of entering many of the most profitable employments in
the world of work. Miss Weber exemplified her teachings by her
practice. She usually wore a dress coat and pantaloons of black cloth;
on full-dress occasions, a dark blue dress coat, with plain flat gilt
buttons, and drab-colored pantaloons. 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 was 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 our readers will probably learn, from these pages, for
     the first time, that there has risen in the United States, and in
     the most Civilized and enlightened 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 government are felt,
     as well as acknowledged; but new, and even unheard of, as a
     subject for public meetings, and practical political action. This
     question is the 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
     intelligence, that the agitation 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_

     A succession of public meetings was held, under the name of a
     "Woman's Rights Convention," of which the President was a woman,
     and nearly all the chief speakers women; numerously reinforced,
     however, by men, among whom were some of the most distinguished
     leaders in the kindred cause of negro emancipation....

     According to the report in the _New York Tribune_, above a
     thousand persons were present, throughout, and "if a larger place
     could have been had, many thousands more would have attended."

     In regard to the quality of the speaking, the proceedings bear an
     advantageous comparison with those of any popular movement with
     which we are acquainted, either in this country or in America.
     Very rarely in the oratory 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 resolutions adopted by the Convention[45].

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
     Sheffield, and claiming the elective franchise, was presented to
     the House of Lords by the Earl of Carlisle.

William Henry Channing, from the Business Committee, suggested 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[46]. Paulina Wright
Davis, Chairman; Sarah H. Earle, Secretary; Wendell Phillips,

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 number 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 and 16th,
1851. At an early hour the house was filled, and was called to order
by Paulina Wright Davis, who was again chosen permanent President.
This Convention was conducted mainly by the same persons who had so
successfully managed the proceedings of the previous year. Mrs. Davis,
on taking the chair, gave a brief _resumé_ of the steps of progress
during the year, and at the close of her remarks, letters were read
from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Ward Beecher, Horace Mann, Angelina
Grimke Weld, Frances D. Gage, Estelle Anna Lewis, Marion Blackwell,
Oliver Johnson, and Eliza Barney, all giving a hearty welcome to the
new idea. Mrs. Emma R. Coe, of the Business Committee, called upon
Wendell Phillips to read the resolutions[47] 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 singular clearness
     and force the leading arguments for our reform, and the grounds
     of our claim in behalf of woman. I rejoice to see so large an
     audience gathered to consider this momentous subject, the most
     magnificent reform that has yet been launched upon 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. It is fitting that we should pause and consider so
     remarkable and significant a circumstance; 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 present 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 selfishness of human nature.

     And this is the last great protest against the wrong of ages. It
     is no argument, 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 the Pope
     liberty for the masses to read the Bible. The reply was that it
     would not 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, "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
     misgovernment, is the answer to those who doubt the ultimate
     success of the experiment.

     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 Staëls and the
     Martineaus the same opportunity for culture 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 begin the discussion of these questions: "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 Cæsar, or
     Marlborough; 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 distinctive 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
     capabilities. 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 that Mrs. Norton[48] never could be Byron; that
     Elizabeth Barrett never could have written Paradise Lost; that
     Mrs. Somerville never could be La Place, nor Sirani have painted
     the Transfiguration. What then? Does that prove they should be
     deprived of all civil rights?

     John Smith will never be, never can be, Daniel Webster. Shall he
     therefore be put under guardianship, and forbidden to vote?
     Suppose woman, though equal, does differ essentially in her
     intellect from man, is that any ground for disfranchising her?
     Shall the Fultons say to the Raphaels, because you can not make
     steam engines, therefore you shall not vote? Shall the Napoleons
     or the Washingtons say to the Wordsworths or the Herschels,
     because you can not lead armies, and govern States, therefore you
     shall have no civil rights?

The following interesting letter from Harriet Martineau was then read,
which we give in full, that the reader may see how clearly defined was
her position at that early day:

                                   CROMER, ENGLAND, _Aug. 3, 1851_.


     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, proof of which is the appearance of an article on the
     subject in _The Westminster Review_ (for July), as thorough-going
     as any of your own addresses, and from the pen (at least as it is
     understood here) of one of 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

     Ever since I became capable 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 being, of 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 _then_ to see what action they will find for themselves. This
     has probably never been done for men, unless in some rare
     individual cases. It has certainly never been done for women,
     and, till it is done, all debating about what woman's intellect
     is, all speculation, or laying down the law, as to what is
     woman's sphere, is a mere beating of the air. _A priori_
     conceptions have long been worthless in physical science, and
     nothing was really effected till the experimental method was
     clearly made out and strictly applied in practice, and the same
     principle holds most certainly through the whole range of moral

     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 waste of time and thought
     among the men who once talked of Nature abhorring a vacuum, 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 increase 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 maybe investigating the laws of
     social relations, learning the great natural laws under which
     society, like everything else, proceeds; 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 household.

     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 domestic
     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 demand 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 interest in
     political and social morals, if he knew that he must, all his
     life long, pay taxes, but neither speak nor move about public

     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 carefully
     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 justice instead of looking at it from
     afar, as a thing with which she had no concern, she would, he
     feared, lose her influence as an observing intelligence, standing
     by in a state of purity "unspotted from the world."

     My conviction always was, that an intelligence never carried out
     into action could not be worth much; and that, if all the action
     of human life was of a character so tainted as to be unfit for
     women, it could be no better for men, and we ought all to sit
     down together, to let barbarism overtake us once more.

     My own conviction is, that the natural action of the whole human
     being occasions not only the most strength, but the highest
     elevation; not only the warmest sympathy, but the deepest purity.
     The highest and purest beings among women seem now to be those
     who, far from being idle, find among their restricted
     opportunities some means of strenuous action; and I can 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 those 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 contemplate; 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 Review_ 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 have been
supposed to emanate from the pen of that distinguished philosopher. An
amusing incident is related of Mr. Mill, for the truth of which we can
not vouch, but report says, that after reading this article, 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 her first
appearance on our platform. She was well known in the literary circles
of New York as a writer of merit in journals and periodicals. She
defended the Convention and its leaders through the columns of the
_New York Tribune_, and afterward published a series 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 writings were influential
in moulding popular thought.

Angelina Grimke, familiar with plantation life, spoke eloquently on
the parallel between the slave code and the laws for married women.

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 understand 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 E.
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 yourselves every
     right and privilege, whereby you maybe elevated and so prepared
     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 nature.

     Mrs. Nichols rejoined: Woman has been waiting for centuries
     expecting man to go before and lift her up, but he has failed to
     meet our expectations, 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 their 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 made such a demand and been refused simply on the
     ground of sex. Yet what is there in the highest range of
     intellectual pursuits, to which woman may not rightfully aspire?
     What is there, for instance, in theology, which she should not
     strive to learn? Give me only that in religion which woman may
     and should become acquainted with, and the rest may go like chaff
     before the wind.

     Lucy Stone 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 fairly 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 husband 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, by reason of her
     maternity, must exert a most potent influence over the
     generations yet to be, there is no language that can speak the
     magnitude 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 dependent outcast before
     the law. In government she is outlawed, having neither voice nor
     part in it. In the household she is either a ceaseless 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 destiny. Let her ever remember, that
     in following out the high behests of her own soul will be found
     her exceeding great reward.

William Henry Channing then gave the report from the committee on the
social relations. Those present speak of it as a very able 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, but 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 position, by crushing her self-respect and
     individual ambition. A true Christian marriage is a sacred union
     of soul and sense, and the issues flowing from it are eternal.
     All obstacles in the way of severing uncongenial marriages should
     be removed, because such unions are unnatural, and must be evil
     in their results. Divorce in such cases should be honorable,
     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
     organizations clustering round a social principle, like those
     already clustered round a religious principle, such as "Sisters
     of Mercy," "Sisters of Charity," etc. There should be social
     orders called "Sisters of Honor," having 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. Channing spoke at length on the civil and political position of
woman, eloquently advocating the rightfulness and expediency of
woman's co-sovereignty with man, and closed by reading 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

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 elections 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 electoral 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
     inexpressible 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

     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 where woman, the mother of humanity,
     may claim in the name of her children, mutilated by tyranny, her
     right to true liberty, to the complete development and free
     exercise of all her faculties, and reveal that half of truth
     which is in her, and without which no social work can be

     The darkness of reaction has obscured the sun of 1848, which
     seemed to rise so radiantly. Why? Because the revolutionary
     tempest, in overturning at the same time the throne and the
     scaffold, in breaking the chain of the black slave, forgot to
     break the chain of the most oppressed of all of the pariahs of

     "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 fraternity. She obliges man to
     verify the fatal attack which he makes on the integrity of his

     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
     humanity, for which only one of its members raised his voice, but
     in vain. No mention was made of the right of woman in a
     Constitution framed in the name of Liberty, Equality, and

     It is in the name of these principles that woman comes to claim
     her right to take part in the Legislative Assembly, and to help
     to form the laws which must govern society, of which she is a

     She comes 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 name of liberty, equality, and fraternity, is
     still based upon privilege, and soon 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--evoke force to stifle liberty, and forge restrictive laws
     to establish order by compression, woman, guided by fraternity,
     foreseeing incessant struggles, and in the hope of putting an end
     to them, makes an appeal to the laborer to found liberty and
     equality on fraternal solidarity. The participation of woman gave
     to this work of enfranchisement an eminently pacific character,
     and the laborer recognizes the right of woman, his companion in

     The delegates of a hundred and four associations, united, without
     distinction 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

     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 amelioration 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 profession, having an equal right to election, and being
     eligible for all functions, 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

     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 the laborers to
     accomplish the mission of enfranchisement, and after having
     shared their rights and their duties, they share to-day their

     It is from the depths of their prison that they address to you
     the relation of these facts, which contain in themselves high
     instruction. It is by labor, it is by entering resolutely into
     the ranks of the working people, 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 sentiment 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 pacifically, the civil and political
     equality of woman, and the social right for all.

     It is in this confidence that, from the depths of the jail which
     still imprisons our bodies without reaching our hearts, we cry to
     you, Faith, Love, Hope, and send to you our sisterly salutations,

                                             JEANNE DEROINE,
                                             PAULINE ROLAND.

     PARIS, PRISON OF ST. LAGARE, _June 15, 1851_.

Ernestine L. Rose, having known something of European despotism,
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, "Liberty, Equality, and
     Fraternity"? A motto destined to hurl the tyranny of kings and
     priests into the dust, and give freedom to the enslaved millions
     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 the 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 its 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 even here, in this
     far-famed land of freedom, under a Republic that has inscribed on
     its banner the great truth that "all men are created free and
     equal, and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and
     the pursuit 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 the very face of this eternal truth,
     woman, the mockingly so-called "better half" of man, has yet to
     plead for her rights, nay, for her life. For what is life without
     liberty, and what is liberty without equality of rights? And as
     for the pursuit of happiness, she is not allowed to 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 to do,
     and this is what he does not choose to do himself.

     Is she then not included in that declaration? Answer, ye wise 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 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 privileges he
     claims for himself? And why, in the name of reason and justice,
     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, recognize no sex. Like man, woman comes 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 disobeying nature's
     laws, and far greater penalties has she to suffer from ignorance
     of her more complicated nature; like him she enjoys or suffers
     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 other.

     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 moment she enters that compact, in which she assumes the high
     responsibility 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

     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 by
     the halter to the market-place, and sold. This is humiliating
     indeed, but nevertheless true; and the sooner these things are
     known and understood, 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 to the ills of life. Let those deal in fancy, that have
     nothing better to deal in; we have to do with sober, sad
     realities, with stubborn facts.

     Again, I shall be told that the law presumes the husband 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 over man; 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 individual 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 cherished 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 is foolish. Man forgets that woman can not be degraded without
     its reacting on himself. The impress of her mind is stamped on
     him by nature, and the early education of the mother, which no
     after-training can 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 six months' imprisonment; the
     other crime was assault and battery upon his wife: he was let off
     with a reprimand from the judge! With my principles, I am
     entirely opposed to punishment, and hold, that to reform 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 was insulted by her legal owner! Here it
     will be said, that such degrading cases are but few. For the sake
     of humanity, I hope they are. But as long 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 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 necessity 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, 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 intrudes on his home and his affliction. But when the
     husband dies, the widow, 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
     children must be placed under guardians. When the husband 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 _he_ 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 husband 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 provision 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 union of heads, hearts, and hands. To the
     benefit of this best of capital, the wife has no right. If they
     are unsuccessful in married life, who suffers more the bitter
     consequences of poverty than the wife? But if successful, 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
     falls back even to the remotest of his relatives. This is law,
     but where is the justice of it? 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
     protecting care of the mother? Who has a better right to them
     than she? How much do fathers generally do toward bringing them
     up? When he comes home from business, and the child is in good
     humor and handsome 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 shoulders, 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
     property, it ought to be divided equally between them, with an
     additional provision from the father toward the maintenance and
     education of the children.

     Much is said about the burdens and responsibilities of married
     men. Responsibilities indeed there are, if they but felt them;
     but as to burdens, 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, and see if they do not strive
     as much for wealth, and attend as steadily to business, as
     married men. No! the husband has little or no increase of burden,
     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 wife, reason, justice, and humanity, if their voices were
     heard, would dictate that it should 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 pernicious 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?
     In morals, bad as she is, she is generally considered his
     superior. In the intellectual sphere, give her a 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 no
     Newtons, Shakespeares, and Byrons? Greater natural powers than
     even those possessed may have been destroyed in woman for want of
     proper culture, a just appreciation, 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
     circumstances--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 Staëls, the Rolands, the Somervilles, the
     Wollstonecrofts, the Sigourneys, the Wrights, the Martineaus, the
     Hemanses, 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 Channing on the Social Relations,
comprising the whole range of woman's rights and duties, we feel that
the report of one of these meetings 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. Accordingly, 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
Conventions, which called out numerous complimentary comments and
editorial notices, notably the following:

     [_From the New York Christian Inquirer_, Rev. Henry Bellows,
     D.D., editor.]


     We have read the report of the proceedings of this Convention
     with lively interest and general satisfaction. We confess
     ourselves to be much surprised at the prevailing good sense,
     propriety, and moral elevation of the meeting. No candid reader
     can deny the existence of singular ability, honest and pure aims,
     eloquent and forcible advocacy, and a startling power in the
     reports and speeches of this Convention. For good, or for evil,
     it seems to us to be the most important meeting since that held
     in the cabin of the _Mayflower_. That meeting recognized the
     social and political equality of one-half the human race; this
     asserts the social and political equality of the other half, and
     of the whole. Imagine the difference which it would have made in
     our Declaration of Independence, to have inserted "and women" in
     the first clause of the self-evident truths it asserts: "that all
     men _and women_ are created equal." This Convention 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,
     surpassing, in pregnancy of purpose and potential results, any
     other now upon the platform, if it do not outweigh Magna Charta
     and our Declaration themselves.

     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," but as of a set of persons making themselves ridiculous
     for the amusement of the public; but that "Bobolition Society"
     has shaken the Union to its center, and filled the world with
     sympathy and concern. The Woman's Rights Convention is in like
     manner a thing for honest scorn to point its finger at; but a few
     years may prove that we pointed the finger, not at an illuminated
     balloon, but at the rising sun.

     We have no hesitation in acknowledging ourselves to be among
     those who have regarded this movement with decided distrust and
     distaste. If we have been more free than others to express this
     disgust, we have perhaps rendered some service, by representing a
     common sentiment with which this reform has to contend. We would
     be among the first to acknowledge that our objections have not
     grown out of any deliberate consideration of the principles
     involved in the question. They have 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 conventional 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 conspired, without
     intentional injustice on one side, or feeling of wrong on 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 difference 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 governed 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 legalized and embodied in the
     social customs of every community. As 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 has 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 of new 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 advancing civilization, that the
     time has come for questioning the conclusion 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 has arrived. At any rate, we confess our surprise at the
     weight of the reasoning 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, in 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 may be, that their strength, and their dignity, and their
     happiness, lie in their seclusion from the rivalries, strifes,
     and public duties of life. The strength and depth of the respect
     and love for woman, as woman, which characterize this age, can
     not be overstated. But woman insists upon being respected, as a
     kindred 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 respect
     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 reform would give an entirely new problem to political
     and social philosophers! At present we endeavor to hold ourselves
     in a candid suspense.

Judging Dr. Bellows by the above editorial, he had made some progress
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
     _Christian 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 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 paper called
_The Una_, published in Providence, Rhode Island, with the following

     Usage makes it necessary to present our readers with a prospectus
     setting 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 _Truth_, 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. Channing, 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 carriage, addressed a
large assemblage of electors on behalf of her husband, the
Conservative candidate. She was enthusiastically greeted by the

The _Maine Age_ announces the election of a Miss Rose 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 Register 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 P----, who found it very inconvenient to pay
the ready cash required of them, determined to avail themselves of
this custom. They accordingly presented themselves to the surveyor of
the highway with hoes in their hands, and demanded to be set to work.
The good surveyor was sorely puzzled; 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 refuse. 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
     whatever 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 governments 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 representation
     should be co-extensive. While the property and labor of women are
     subject to taxation, she is entitled to a voice in fixing the
     amount of taxes, and 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

     Woman as wife, mother, daughter, and owner of property, has
     important rights to be protected. The whole history of
     legislation so unequal between the sexes, shows that she can not
     safely trust these to the other sex. Neither have her rights as
     mother, wife, daughter, laborer, 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 will 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 competition; 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 question than is generally supposed.
     Beside, there can 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 examination 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 behind 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 most important of all civil
     reforms. To this we ask you to join with us[49] in the
     accompanying petition to the Constitutional Convention.

In favor of this Appeal Lucy Stone, Theodore Parker, Wendell Phillips,
and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, were heard.

We find in _The Una_ the following report of Mr. Higginson's speech
before the Committee of the Constitutional Convention on the
qualification of voters, June 3, 1853, the question being on the
petition of Abby May Alcott, and other women of Massachusetts, that
they be permitted to vote on the amendments that may be made to the

                         MR. HIGGINSON'S SPEECH.

     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' sitting. 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 Massachusetts consistent with its own first principles." This
     is all these petitioners demand. Give them the premises which are
     conceded in our existing Bill of Rights, or even its Preamble,
     and they ask no more. I shall draw my few weapons from this
     source. I know that this document is not binding upon your
     Convention; nothing is binding upon you but eternal 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.

     I. My first citation will be from the Preamble, and will
     establish as Massachusetts doctrine the principle of the
     Declaration of Independence, that all government owes its just
     powers to the consent of the governed.

     "The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of
     government, 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 petitioners 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 temporary 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 abrogate 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 has 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. Politically speaking, in Massachusetts
     all men are patrician, all women plebeian. All men are equal, in
     having direct political power; and all women are equal, in having
     none. And women lose by democracy precisely that which men gain.
     Therefore I say this disfranchisement of woman, as woman, is a
     novelty. It is a now aristocracy; for, as De Tocqueville says,
     wherever one class has peculiar powers, as such, there is
     aristocracy and oligarchy.

     We see the result of this in our general mode of speaking of
     woman. We forget to speak of her as an individual being, only as
     a thing. A political writer coolly says, that in Massachusetts,
     "except criminals and 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 readers would not notice this
     extraordinary omission. I talked the other day with a young
     radical preacher about his new religious organization. "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 "anybody 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

     II. So much for the general statement of the Massachusetts Bill
     of Rights in its Preamble. But one clause is even more explicit.
     In Section 9, I find the following:

     "All the inhabitants of this Commonwealth, having such
     qualifications 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 disfranchise
     the majority, then; the greater part of "the inhabitants" have no
     share in establishing the form of government, or assigning the
     qualifications 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 generals and colonels in
     New England. But the principle is the same, whether 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 maybe 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 transformed to a "No," at
     a later period?

     But I am compelled, by the fixed period of adjournment (10 A.M.),
     to 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 several parties
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 government, 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
     abilities of the fairer sex, and was willing to concede that they
     were to some extent oppressed and denied their rights; but he did
     not believe the granting of the privileges these petitioners
     claimed would tend to elevate 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 report "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; Kingman, of West
     Bridgewater; when the question was taken, and Mr. Whitney's
     amendment rejected. Mr. Marvin then moved to substitute
     "inexpedient to act" 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.

The prejudices of the 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 find the following comments on the character and duties of the
gentlemen who composed the Convention, from the pen of Mr. Higginson,
in _The Una_ of June, 1853:

     _To the members of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention:_

     The publication in our newspapers of the list of members of your
     honorable 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 are 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 egg
     could be best poised upon the larger or the smaller end. A
     question which was necessarily settled, after all, by a
     compromise, as this will be.

     But at that moment, there lay within the brain of the young
     Genoese a dream, which although denounced by prelates and derided
     by statesmen 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 resources of society, and
     give a new world, not to Castile and Leon only, but to
     Massachusetts and the human race.

     And lastly, as 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 sisters of Europe to a suffrage truly
     universal, and a political freedom bounded neither by station nor
     by sex.

Elizabeth Oakes Smith, writing in _The Una_, says of this historical

     The Massachusetts Convention did not deign to notice the prayer
     of these two thousand women who claimed the privilege of being
     heard by men who assert that we are represented through them.
     They decided that "it is inexpedient to act upon said petition."
     This is no cause for discouragement to those who have the subject
     at heart. Two thousand signers are quite as many, if not more,
     than we supposed would be procured. The believers in the rights
     of woman to entire equality with man in every 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. 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 unmanageable children. _The idea of a true, noble
     womanhood is yet to be created._ It does not live in the public
     mind. Now, in answer to the petition of these two thousand women,
     the Committee reply that all 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 government. 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
     subject. 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 Western 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 petition 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
     lawmaker 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;[50] 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 President; Lucy Stone, Chairman of the
Business Committee, reported the resolutions, among which we find the

     _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 of her own industry, denies her equal
     property rights, even denies her right to her children, and the
     custody of her own person, is grossly unjust to woman,
     dishonorable to man, and destructive to the harmony of life's
     holiest relation.

     _Resolved_, That the laws which destroy the legal individuality
     of woman after her marriage are equally pernicious to man as to
     woman, and may give to him in marriage a slave, or a tyrant, but
     never a wife.

William Lloyd Garrison, Emma E. 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, Rev. A. D. Mayo,
Paulina Wright Davis, Mrs. Nichols, and Sarah Crosby. Francis
Jackson,[51] of Boston, made a contribution of $50. 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 Boston 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 was 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 previously
enlisted in the cause, as to convince them that a lasting impression
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 President.
Business Committee--Dr. William F. Channing, Caroline H. Dall, Wendell
Phillips, and Caroline M. Severance. Among the Vice-Presidents we find
the names of Harriot K. Hunt and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Caroline
H. 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:

     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 control of her property has been recognized. In
     1847 Vermont passed similar enactments; in 1848-'49, Connecticut,
     New York, and Texas; in 1850-'52, Alabama and Maine; in 1853, New
     Hampshire, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa followed. But the
     provisions "under certain regulations" 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 1836, and
when finally passed in 1848, was far more liberal than in any other
State; and step by step her legislation was broadened, until 1860 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,

     I went into Boston on Tuesday, with Lucy Stone, to attend the
     Convention. We stopped at Francis Jackson's, where we found
     Antoinette Brown and Ellen Blackwell. A pleasant company in that
     most hospitable 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 Merchant's Exchange, the
     Custom-House, State House, and Faneuil Hall, and then dined with
     his daughter, Eliza J. Eddy, in South Boston, returning 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 now talking and introducing guests, now
     soothing some child to sleep, and now, with his charming wife,
     looking after the refreshments. There we met Mrs. Dall, Elizabeth
     Peabody, Mrs. McCready, the Shakespearian reader, Mrs. Severance,
     Dr. Hunt, Charles F. Hovey, Francis Jackson, Wendell Phillips,
     Sarah Pugh, of Philadelphia, and others. Having worshiped these
     distinguished people afar off, it was a great satisfaction to see
     so many face to face.

     On 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 regretted. I spent Sunday with Charles Lenox
     Remond; 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--16,000
     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 ushered 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 planning. 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 see Dussendoff,
     the great tragedian, play Hamlet. The theater is new, the scenery
     beautiful, and, in spite of my Quaker training, I find I enjoy
     all these worldly amusements intensely.

     Returning to Worcester, I attended the Anti-Slavery Bazaar. I
     suppose there were many beautiful things exhibited, but I was so
     absorbed in the conversation of Mr. Higginson, Samuel May, Jr.,
     Sarah Earle, Cousin Dr. Seth Rogers, Stephen and Abby Foster,
     that I really forgot to take a survey 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 contributed 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 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 remember the Woman
Suffrage movement that underlies in importance all others.

                                MARCH, 1857.

     _The Boston Traveller_ says: The Representatives Hall yesterday
     afternoon 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
     "females" in the administration of government, for the right of
     suffrage, etc.

     Rev. JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE was the first speaker. He said:
     Gentlemen, the question before you is, Shall the women of
     Massachusetts have equal rights with the men? The fundamental
     principles of the Constitution 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 Parliament, 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 allowing 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 instanced the heroic conduct of Mrs.
     Patton, who navigated her husband's ship into the harbor of San
     Francisco, as an argument in favor of woman'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 crew. Mrs.
     Stone's speech was comprehensive and pointed, and called forth
     frequent applause.

Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, a woman of wealth and position, protested every
year against being compelled to pay taxes while not recognized in the

                      DR. HUNT'S PROTEST OF 1852.

     _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 injustice 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 objections can not apply to women, natives of the city, all
     of whose property 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 no 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 this?

     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 mind?

     The fact that our colleges and professional schools are closed
     against females, of which your remonstrant has had personal and
     painful experience; having been in the year 1847, after twelve
     years of medical practice 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.

     Reserving 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 Brookfield. 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

     I never perform the marriage ceremony without a renewed sense of
     the iniquity of our present system of laws in respect to
     marriage; a system 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.

                                   Rev. THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON.


     While acknowledging our mutual affection by publicly assuming the
     relationship of husband and wife, yet in justice to ourselves and
     a great 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 present laws of marriage, as refuse to
     recognize the wife as an independent, rational being, while they
     confer upon the husband an injurious and unnatural superiority,
     investing him with legal powers which no honorable man would
     exercise, and which no man should possess. We protest 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

     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 chosen.

     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.

                          (Signed),               HENRY. B. BLACKWELL,
     _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 benediction upon the heads of the parties thus

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 husband's name, respecting
her own individuality and the name that 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 Lucy Stone, soon after the bill passed in
Massachusetts giving all women the right to vote on the school

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
     opinion, but developed by the spirit of the age; Egypt and

     _Nov. 8th._--Public opinion, as it is influenced by the study of
     the Classics and History, by general literature, newspapers, and

     _Nov. 15th._--Public opinion as modified by individual lives:
     Mary Wollstonecroft, Anna Jamieson, Charlotte Bronté, and
     Margaret Fuller.

In June 11th, 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
     Commonwealth 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

     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
     undersigned, therefore petition your Honorable Body to take the
     necessary steps to revise the Constitution so that all citizens
     may enjoy equal political rights.


May 27th, 1859, an enthusiastic Convention was held in Mercantile
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 recognize in this the only
     radical cure.... No statement could better define 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 rhythmical reply of all its movements, "We advance."

Mrs. Severance then read an appropriate poem from the pen of Mrs.
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 education of

The Rev. James Freeman Clarke was then introduced. He said:

     I understand the cause advocated on this platform to be an
     unpopular 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
     unrelenting 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 taking 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
     some wonderful goodness and excellence, some strange grace and
     beauty, though 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 comes 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 understand to be the three

     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 extraordinary
     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, "Dr. Sanger'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 of this filth; for
     it is not in the nature of woman to remain there. Give them 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 them do it. This is the first claim; and it seems to me that
     no one can reasonably object to it.

     2d. Education. You say that public schools are open to girls as
     well as boys. I know that, but what is it that educates? The
     school has but little 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 your bread." But you say to the
     girls, "Go to school, get your education, and then come home, sit
     still, and do nothing." We must give them every chance to fit
     themselves for new spheres of duty. 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
     opportunity. If she finds faculties within her, let them have a
     chance to expand. 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, we wish 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 faculties that 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 have 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, can 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 feminine grace, if woman
     goes to the polls." Why? "Because she must meet 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
     inventive 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 to those who are to

     Mrs. CAROLINE H. DALL was then introduced. She said: I have
     observed that all public orators labor under some embarrassment
     when they rise to speak. Not to be behind the dignity of my
     position, I labor under a _double_ embarrassment.

     The first is the "embarras des richesses." There are so many
     topics to touch, so many facts to relate, that it is impossible
     to cover them in one half hour, and the second--perhaps you will
     think that an embarrassment 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 impossible 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. 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

     What have we gained since 1855? Many things, so important, that
     they can not be worthily treated here. I have often mentioned in
     my 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
     "English 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's 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, 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 Carlyle--personally known to
     many on this platform--over that which concerns the Reformation
     of Criminals; the Earl of Shaftesbury over Public Health; and
     Conolly and Charles Kingsley and Tom Taylor and Rawlinson 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
     honorable corps of writers, in the passage of the new Divorce
     Bill, of the Married 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 tempting 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 timorous hearts at the West End; to suggest to
     them that a coronet of God's own giving may possibly rest as
     secure as one of gold and jewels in the United Kingdom. I wish to
     draw your attention to the social distinction of the men upon
     that platform. No real nobleness will be imperiled by impartial
     listening to our plea. Would you rest secure in our respect,
     first feel secure in your own. If ten Beacon Street ladies would
     go to work, and take pay for their labor, it would do more good
     than all the 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 girls like Harriet Hosmer, Louisa Lander,
     and Margurèite Foley. Whatever 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.

     In 1841, there were engaged in agriculture, 66,329 women. In
     1851, 128,418; 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 shafts, but dressers of ore, and washers and
     strainers of clay for the potteries. 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 sea nurtures 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; the bathers manage the
     machines at the watering-places.

     And, before quitting this subject, I should like to allude to the
     French fishwomen; 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 Herringers. 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
     them 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.

     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

     Telegraph reporters are increasing rapidly. Their speed and
     accuracy are much praised. From 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

     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 preponderance 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
     and 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."

     In Waltham, a watch factory has been established, whose
     statistics I shall use elsewhere.

     In Winchester, Va., a father has lately taken a daughter into
     partnership; and the firm is "J. Wysong and Daughter."
     [Applause]. Is it not a shame it should happen first in a slave

     Then come registers of deeds and postmistresses. We all know that
     the rural post-office is chiefly in the hands of irresponsible
     women. Petty politicians obtain the office, take the money, and
     leave wives and sisters to do the work.

     [Here Mrs. Dall read an interesting letter from a female
     machinist in Delaware; but, as it will be published in another
     connection, it is here withheld].

     Is it easy for women to break the way into new avenues? You know
     it is not.

     [Here Mrs. Dall referred to the opposition shown to the
     employment of women in watch-making, by Mr. Bennett, in London;
     to the school at Marlborough House; to the employment of women in
     printing-offices--substantiating her statements by dates and

     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 heard, 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

     But the great evils which lie at the foundation of depressed
     wages are:

     1st. That want of respect for labor which prevents ladies from
     engaging 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 wages 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 syphon. Make woman equal before the law with man, and
     wages will adjust themselves.

     But what is the present remedy? A very easy one--for employers to
     adopt the cash system, and be content with rational profits. In
     my correspondence during the past year, master-tailors tell me
     that they pay from eight cents to fifty cents a day for the
     making of pantaloons, including 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 they. 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 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
         Swaying east and swaying westward, as the breezes shake the
         Fool! thy selfish thought misguides thee. Find the man 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
     invitation 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 responsibilities of the chair on another platform, and
     I had no time for preconcerted forms of address; second, because
     the general 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 [Wendell
     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. [Applause].

     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 community. 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

     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 inequalities 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

     Hundreds of poor, desolate, forsaken women, especially in the
     winter months, have come to that office with the same pitiable
     tale of poverty, desertion, and tyranny on the part of their
     worthless and drunken husbands, who had gone off to California,
     Kansas, or the West, taking away from their wives and children
     every possible means of support, and leaving 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 might fill the
     hour with a journal of statistics in painful illustration of
     these facts. Now, I say, that a system of society which can
     tolerate such a state 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--a class
     who, by their education 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 years 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 supplied; 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 accessible) "of course it'll do." And all
     I have to say is, if I ever resume again the charge of a pulpit
     myself, and either of those preachers want an exchange, I shall
     be honored in the privilege of so exchanging.

     Well, my young friend, the brother clergyman referred to, whom I
     am glad 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 once, I think, ministered no little edification
     to his people. And, in this connection, let me say: If the
     argument against woman's preaching be, "Oh! 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 might as
     well disrobe the male priesthood of their silken paraphernalia,
     cassock and bands.

     But there are other and better words in waiting, and I yield the

     CHARLES G. AMES expressed his gratitude at being permitted to
     occupy this platform, and identify himself with the cause of
     those noblest of living women who had dared the world's
     scorn--had dared to stand alone on the 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 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 before us of family feuds, mutual hair-pullings,
     and a general wreck of all domestic bliss. Certainly, there are
     difficulties about settling some domestic questions. Marriage is
     a partnership between two; no third person 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
     concern 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

     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 woman 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 indifferent to its removal. Let us

          "Strike for that which ought to be,
          And God will bless the blows."

     [Illustration: PAULINA WRIGHT DAVIS (with autograph).]

     The speaker spoke of the abuse and injustice done to the Bible by
     those who make it the shelter and apologist for all the wrong,
     vileness, and sneaking meanness that the world bears up; and
     closed with a testimony against the cowardice of those
     time-serving ministers who allow their manhood to be suffocated
     by a white cravat, and who never publicly take sides with what
     they see to be a good cause, until "popular noises" indicate that
     the time has come for speaking out their opinions.

     The President then introduced to the audience WENDELL PHILLIPS,
     Esq., of Boston:

     MADAM PRESIDENT:--I am exceedingly happy to see that this
     question calls together so large an audience; and perhaps that
     circumstance will make me take exception to some representations
     of the previous speakers as to the unpopularity of this movement.
     The gentleman who occupied this place before me thought that
     perhaps he might count the numbers of 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 neck; you
     can not tell where one ends, or the other begins. [Cheers].
     Everybody 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 into dawn, and dawn
     spreads into noon. So it is with this question. Those who look at
     our little island of time do not see it; but, a hundred years
     later, everybody will recognize it.

     No one need be at all afraid; there is no disruption, no breaking
     away from old anchorage--not at all. In the thirteenth and
     fourteenth centuries, 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 peasants to be "traitors." Cordially they hated each other;
     blindly they 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 civilization of Greece and Rome, I could show you
     the fact that our question is two thousand 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 ever 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
     some 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 Testament. When man began his pilgrimage from the cradle
     of Asia, woman 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 woman. 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 represented 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 nothing; 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 distinction.

     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 Republican; 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 believes, 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, have allowed freedom of
     opinion; and who says that the experience of three centuries has
     found the husband and wife grappling each other's throats on
     religious differences? It would be Papal and absurd to deny woman
     her religious rights. Then why should she not be allowed to
     choose her 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 cause; 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 Staël. "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 say, "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
     competent to go to the State prison, then she is competent to go
     to the ballot-box, and tell how thieves should be punished."

     Man is a man because he thinks. Woman has already begun to think.
     She has touched literature with the wand of her enchantment, and
     it rises 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 the side-by-side progress of the sexes. There are no women
     more deserving 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 was 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 was the
     women of Great Britain that first said her statute-book disgraced
     her. 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
     is. 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 itself, and feel its
     responsibility, feel how much rests upon it, and therefore 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 responsibility, 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 dormant 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 children'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 work
     to do it? Let her do this, and I will 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?"

     Mrs. CAROLINE H. DALL then dismissed the assembly.[52]

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 æsthetic 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

We close our chapter on Massachusetts, with a few extracts from a
sermon by Theodore Parker, to show his position on the most momentous
question of his day and generation. In March, 1853, he gave two
discourses in Music Hall, Boston, one on the domestic, and one on the
public function of woman, in which he fully expressed himself on every
phase of the question.


     If woman is a human being, first, she has the Nature of a human
     being; next, she has the Right of a human being; third, she has
     the Duty of a human 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 human 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 pursuit 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
     inalienable right to the normal development of her peculiar
     nature as woman, and not man. All that is undeniable.

     Now 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 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 Iræ chanted by monks, with the necks of bulls and the lips
     of donkeys--why, I have understood where the doctrine came from,
     and have felt the appropriateness 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 "doctrines
     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 Sinners," "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 escape the
     poor-house, and body enough to drop his ballot into the box, he
     is a voter. 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, disposing of her property, her person, her
     children; still she must bear it, "with a patient shrug."

     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 laws. 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 a share in the municipal regulation of Boston, and
     there were as many alderwomen as aldermen, as many common council
     women as common council men, do you believe that, in defiance of
     the law of Massachusetts, the city government, last spring, would
     have licensed every two hundred and forty-fourth person of the
     population of the city to sell intoxicating drink? would have
     made every thirty-fifth voter a rum-seller? I do not.

     Do you believe the women of Boston would spend ten thousand
     dollars in one year in a city frolic, or spend two or three
     thousand every year, on the Fourth of July, for sky-rockets and
     firecrackers; 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 understand 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 the State, with fire and sword? I believe no
     such thing.

     Do you think the women of Boston would take the poorest and most
     unfortunate 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 advantages of the other
     children in different schools, and all that because the
     unfortunates were dark-colored? Do you think the women of Boston
     would shut a bright boy out of the High-School or Latin-School,
     because he was black in the face?

     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 Christian clergy," 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 his active 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 divorced from his
     wife, that he could keep all the children? I confess I do not.

     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. I
     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

     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
     housekeeping, or government as morality, I think man makes a very
     poor appearance, 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 masculine 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 community without
     woman's equal social action, a church without her equal
     ecclesiastical 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 philanthropy, 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 America 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 universal discord: that
     there is no solidarity of man with man, of man with God. I fear
     we shall never get far beyond 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 which are Christendom's disgrace to-day.

     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 present,
     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, has ideas, has administrative skill;
     enacts the rules of conduct for the individual, the family, the
     community, the Church, the State, and the world. He applies these
     rules 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 this civilization, miscalled "Christian"; and in
     its leading nations there are industry and enterprise, which
     never fail. There is science, literature, legislation,
     agriculture, manufactures, mining, commerce, such as the world
     never saw. With the vigor 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 New 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

     Oh, 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 "Nicholas Nickleby" and "Jane Eyre"
     and "Mary Barton" and "Alton Locke," 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 busy
     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, sleeping, 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 practical skill to equal the force of man. But
     circumstances have favored the development of pure and lofty
     emotion in advance of man. She has moral feeling, affectional
     feeling, religious feeling, far in advance of man; her moral,
     affectional, and religious intuitions are deeper and more
     trustworthy than his. Here she is eminent, as he is in knowledge,
     in ideas, in administrative skill.

     I think man will always lead in affairs of intellect--of reason,
     imagination understanding--he has the bigger brain; but that
     woman will always lead in affairs of emotion--moral, affectional,
     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,
     translate 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 welfare 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 degradation
     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
     "Christianity"--what we see it is, the apology for every powerful

            *       *       *       *       *

     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 normal 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.


BY E. C. S.

Hearing that my friend had returned from Europe too ill to leave her
room, I hastened to her charming home in the suburbs of Providence,
Rhode Island. There in her pleasant chamber, bright with the sunshine
of a clear December day,[53] 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 down fresh from her own lips some of the incidents
and personal 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. Kellogg,
being a volunteer in the army at that time, would often jocosely refer
to those two great events on the 7th 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 conservative in their
opinions and associations. When Paulina was four years 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 wagons, men, women,
children, horses, cattle, dogs, hens, pushed their weary way eleven
days through wild woods, cutting their own roads, and fording creeks
and rivers. Crossing the Genesee in a scow, one immense cow walked off
into the water, others followed and swam ashore. The little girl
thinking that everything was going overboard, trembled like an aspen
leaf until she felt herself safe on 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 probably the first white child that ever set foot on
Goat Island."

When seven years old she was adopted by an aunt, and moved to Le Roy,
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 experiences, 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 neighbors. 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 accord 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 missionary to
the Sandwich Islands, as that was the Mecca in those days to which all
pious young women desired to go. But after five 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

So they began life together, worshiped in Bethel church, and devoted
themselves to the various reforms that in turn 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 Gerrit Smith gave in
his adhesion to the anti-slavery movement and abandoned the idea of
the colonization of slaves to Liberia. As the mob would not permit a
meeting to be held in Utica, Mr. Smith invited them to Peterboro,
where they adjourned. It was a fearful day 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 against it, with the evident intention
of burning it down. But several 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
concentrated on the anti-slavery, temperance, and woman's rights
reforms. Thus passed twelve years of happiness in mutual improvement
and co-operation in every good work. Having no children, they devoted
themselves unreservedly to one another. But Mr. Wright, 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 ended.

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
dissecting-rooms, and to become successful practitioners of the
healing art.

While lecturing in Baltimore, a "Friend," by the name of Anna
Needles, attended the course. Another "Friend," seeing her frequently
pass, hailed her on one occasion, and said, "Anna, where does thee go
every day?" "I go to 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 themselves 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 successive 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 accompanied 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 representative 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 cultivated 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 philosophy and the
doctrines of the new era." Though in fact this typical 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 it entirely at her own expense. It took the
broadest ground claimed to-day: individual freedom in the State, the
Church, and the home; woman's equality and suffrage a natural right.
In 1859, she visited Europe for the first time, and spent a year
traveling in France, Italy, Austria, and Germany, giving her leisure
hours to picture galleries and the study of art. She made many
valuable friends on this trip, regained her health, and returned home
to work with renewed zeal for the enfranchisement of woman.

Having decided to celebrate the second decade of the National Woman
Suffrage movement, in New York, Mrs. Davis took charge of all the
preliminary arrangements, including the foreign correspondence. 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 expense. One of Mrs. Davis'
favorite ideas was a Woman's Congress in Washington, to meet every
year, to consider the national questions demanding popular action;
especially to present them in their moral and humanitarian bearings
and relations, while our representatives discussed them, as men
usually do, from the material, financial, 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
visited Europe, and pursued her studies of art, spending much time in
Julian's life studio, the only one open to women. She took lessons of
Carl Marko in Florence. When in Paris she spent hours every day
copying in the Louvre and Luxembourg. The walls of her home were
decorated with many fine copies, and a few of her own creations. Her
enthusiasm for both art and reform may seem to some a singular
combination; but with her view of life, it was a natural one.
Believing, as she did, in the realization of the ultimate equality of
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
deformity, were to her but the first rude sketch on the canvas, to be
perfected by the skillful hand of the Great Artist. Hence she labored
with faith and enthusiasm to realize her ideal alike in both cases.

In Naples she made the acquaintance of Mary Somerville, then in her
ninetieth year. She found her quite conversant with American affairs,
and she expressed great pleasure in reading Mrs. Davis' history of
the suffrage movement in this country. There too she met Mrs.
Merrycoyf, a bright, accomplished woman, a sister of Josephine 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 acquaintance with Mrs.
Davis, in giving her new hope for woman. At Rome she received the
blessing of the Pope, and met Père Hyacinthe 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 Père. She
says: "It was a most impressive 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 concealed 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.
Margaret Lucas, sister of John Bright, and other notables. She visited
Josephine Butler at her home in Liverpool. Friends sent her tickets 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 life.

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 thus I
found her in a large arm-chair quietly making all her preparations for
the sunny land, resigned to stay or to go, to accept the inevitable,
whatever that might be.[54] 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 tin heavenly welcome.


[25] Mercy Otis, born at Barnstable, Mass., September 35, 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
royalists, 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 Termination of the American
Revolution, interspersed with Biographical, Political, and Moral
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."

Generals Lee and Gates were among her correspondents; Knox wrote: "I
should be happy to receive your counsels from time to time." Mrs.
Washington was frequently 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.

[26] Dried leaves of the raspberry.--LOSSING.

[27] Lossing, "Field-Book of the Revolution," says: "On February 9,
1769, the Mistresses 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, and do now, appear for public interest, and in
proper regard for their posterity as such, do, with pleasure, engage
with them in denying ourselves the drink of foreign tea, in hopes to
frustrate a plan which tends to deprive a whole country of all that is
valuable in life."

[28] Lossing's "Field-Book of the Revolution" states that on the 12th
of June, 1769, the "Daughters of Liberty," met at the house of pastor
Moorehead, in such numbers that in one afternoon they spun two hundred
and ninety skeins of fine yarn, which they presented to him. After
supper they were joined by many "Sons of Liberty," who united with the
"Daughters" in patriotic songs.

[29] These girls, then only about twelve and fourteen years of age,
saw the enemy making 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. Accustomed 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 instruments falling upon
the enemy's ears, now far, now near, as though a force of many hundred
men was marching down upon them, and thoroughly frightened, they beat
a retreat to their boats.

[30] "This dispute infused its spirit into everything. It interfered
with the levy of troops for the Pequot war; it influenced the respect
shown to the magistrates, the distribution of town lots, the
assessment of rates, and at last the continued existence of the two
parties was considered inconsistent with the public peace."--Bancroft,
"History of the United States."

[31] _Atlantic Monthly_, June, 1871.

[32] In three New England colonies church membership was required for
the franchise.--Frothingham, "Rise of the Republic."

[33] Dr. John Weis, of New York, now an aged gentleman, well remembers
his grandmother saying, that at an early day women were allowed to
vote in all the New England colonies.

[34] Mother of the late Daniel P. King, at that time a member of the
Massachusetts Legislature, and since then a Representative in

[35] Benj. C. Pitkin, of Salem, at that time State Senator.

[36] Hon. Mr. Upham saying: "A great many of the members told me they
didn't believe a woman wrote it."

[37] 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 certain other ladies, but unfaithful to this trust, he forwarded
the petition with but its single name, which, Mrs. Ferrin remarks, was
powerful in itself.

[38] James W. North, a lawyer, of Augusta, Maine, to his honor be it
said, assisted Mrs. Ferrin, by perfecting the divorce petition, in
circulation during her six years of petition work.

[39] A lady commenting upon unjust legislation, said: "When the laws
were made regarding women and children, the most impotent men were
employed to make them; decent 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

[40] Mrs. Davis herself.

[41] Wife of John Milton Earl, editor of the _Worcester Spy_.

[42] See Appendix.

[43] See Appendix.

[44] See Appendix.

[45] See Appendix

[46] See Appendix

[47] See Appendix.

[48] Mrs. Caroline Norton, a distinguished English author, who
separated from her husband because of cruel treatment. He robbed nor
of all the profits of her books, and of her children, and when she
appealed to the Courts, English law sustained the husband in all his
violations of natural justice.

[49] Abby May Alcott, Abby Kelly Foster, Lucy Stone, Thomas W.
Higginson, Ann Green Phillips, Wendell Phillips, Anna Q. T. Parsons,
Theodore Parker, William J. Bowditch, 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. Flagg,
Mary Flagg, Elizabeth Smith, Eliza Barney, Abby H. Price, William C.
Nell, Samuel May, Jr., Robert F. Wallcott, Robert Morris, A. Bronson

[50] Anthony Burns, the slave, was a Baptist minister In his Southern
home, and had sought freedom in Boston, but was pursued and

[51] A gentleman of wealth, who gave most liberally to all reforms,
and in his will bequeathed $5,000 to the cause of woman suffrage.

[52] 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 reputation is established, and whose
immortality is certain. C. H. D.

[53] In the year 1875.

[54] See Appendix.



     Indiana Missionary Station--Gen. Arthur St. Clair--Indian
     surprises--The 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--Robert 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 appointed 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 portion 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 him, November 4th, near the Miami
villages (present site of Terra Haute), making great havoc among his

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 defense of home and
country. They died that the prairies of the West and the wilderness of
the North should at a later period become the peaceful homes of untold
millions of men and women. They were the true pioneers of the
Northwest, the advance-guard 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. History is very 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 and children against the savage foe, but their deeds of
heroism have been forgotten.

There is scarcely a portion of the world so far from civilization as
Indiana was at that day. No railroads spanned the continent, making
neighbors of people a thousand miles apart; no steamboat sailed upon
the Western lakes, nor indeed upon the broad Atlantic; telegraphy,
with its annihilation of space, was a marvel as yet unborn; even the
Lucifer match, which should kindle fire in the twinkling of an eye,
lay buried in the dark future. Little was known of these settlements;
the Genesee Valley of New York was considered the _far West_, to which
people traveled (the Erie Canal was not then in existence) in strong,
spring less wagons, over which large hoops, covered with white cloth,
were securely fastened, thus sheltering the inmates from sun and
storm. These wagons, afterward known as "Prairie Schooners," were for
weeks and months the traveling homes of many a family of early

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, most of
them in private cabins, whose mistresses, by their slow agencies,
converted the wool which their own hands had often sheared, and the
flax which their own fingers had pulled, into cloth for the family

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 and its perpetuity
alike depend upon its industries, and when we look upon the work of
women through all the years of the Republic, and 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 non-recognition of their existence as
wealth-producers, the elements which build up and sustain every
civilized people.

Viewing its early record, we are not surprised that Indiana claims to
have organized the first State Woman's Rights Society, though we are
somewhat astonished to know that at the time of the first Convention
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 meeting he considered it
contrary to family discipline that his wife should attend.

December 11, 1816, Indiana was admitted into the Union. William
Henry Harrison, who had been Governor of the Territory, and
Brigadier-General in the army, with the command of the Northwest
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 immense 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 rational
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 question was no doubt
partly due to the influence of Robert Owen, who early settled at New
Harmony, and made the experiment of communal life; and later, to his
son, the Hon. Robert Dale Owen, who was in the Legislature several
years, and in the Constitutional Convention of 1850. The following
letter from Mr. Owen gives a few facts worth perusing:

                                   LAKE GEORGE, N. Y., _Sept. 20, 1876_.

     DEAR MISS ANTHONY:--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 Frances 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; the wife of William Rose, a silversmith; and that
     she came with her husband to this country at an early day. She
     was a great admirer and follower of my father, Robert Owen, and
     was a skeptic as to any future beyond the grave; greatly opposed
     to Spiritualism.

     3. As to my action in the Indiana Legislature: I was a member of
     that body during the sessions of 1836-'7, and '8, and in 1851,
     but I have not the materials here that would enable me to give
     particulars. In a general way I had the State law so altered that
     a married woman owned and had the right 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,
     MISS ANTHONY.                                  ROBERT DALE OWEN.

Before 1828, Frances Wright had visited Mr. Owen's colony, and
assisted him in the editorial department of the _New Harmony Gazette_,
changed afterward to the _Free Enquirer_, published in New 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 community. 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 was
expounding 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 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
accustomed 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
questioning 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 am 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 bridegroom himself, with a
Justice of the Peace and the immediate family 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 making promises regarding that over which
     we have no control, the state of human affections in the distant
     future, nor of repeating forms which we deem offensive, inasmuch
     as they outrage the principles of human liberty and equality, by
     conferring rights and imposing duties unequally on the sexes. The
     ceremony consists of a simply written contract in which we agree
     to take each other as husband and wife according to the laws of
     the State of New York, our signatures being attested by those
     friends who are present.

     Of the unjust rights which in virtue of this ceremony an
     iniquitous law tacitly gives me over the person and property of
     another, I can not legally, but I can morally divest myself. And
     I hereby distinctly and emphatically declare that I consider
     myself, and earnestly desire to be considered 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 village, where their
father, Robert Owen, had been making experiments in Community life.

It was a strange, new world into which these two young creatures were
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 reserve 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 principle into a living
reality, sustained these two.

We of a later civilization can scarcely realize the strain upon women
in those earlier days. The housekeepers of New Harmony were obliged to
buy their groceries in bulk, and have them shipped by slow stages from
Cincinnati; meat was bought from the surrounding farmers, a quarter of
a beef at a time, to be cut up and disposed of by the housewife;
vegetables and most of the small fruits could not be bought at all;
stoves were an unknown luxury, all cooking being done in huge
fire-places or brick ovens.

For thirty years my father and mother labored with unabated energy;
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 procuring 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 matters of less
radical change rectifying, so far as he could, the injustice 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

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 drunkenness 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

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 its
Revision Committee. The debates in this Convention show the difference
in the position of my father and his antagonists.

                          CONSTITUTIONAL DEBATES.

     Mr. OWEN: No subject of greater importance has come up since we
     met here, as next in estimation to the right of enjoying life and
     liberty, our Constitution enumerates the right of acquiring,
     possessing, protecting property. And these sections refer to the
     latter right, heretofore declared 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 and
     constitutions for them; and one reason given for excluding women
     from the right of suffrage, is an expression of confident belief
     that their husbands 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

     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
     innovation as we thought we could carry. This law remained in
     force until 1841. 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 estate; 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 inhuman 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 single 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 a 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

     Say, 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?

     But let us turn to the question more immediately before us. Let
     us pass 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. Secondly, the husband acquires, in
     virtue of the marriage, the rents and profits (in all cases
     during her life) of his wife's real estate. The flagrant
     injustice of this has been somewhat modified by a statute barring
     the 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

     "I am of opinion that to adopt the proposition of the gentleman
     from Posey (Mr. Owen), will not ameliorate the condition of
     married women."

     "I can not see the propriety of establishing for women a distinct
     and separate interest, the consideration of which would, of
     necessity, withdraw 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

     "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
     politically 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
     contravention of one of the great fundamental principles of the
     Christian religion. 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 degree, removed."

     "I firmly believe that it would diminish, if it did not totally
     annihilate 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 reasons."

     "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."

     "The females of this State are about as happy and contented with
     their present position in relation to this right (suffrage), as
     it is necessary they should be, and I do not favor the
     proposition (of Woman's Suffrage), which my friend from Posey,
     Mr. Owen, appears to countenance."

     "It is not because I love justice less, but woman more, that I
     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, I
     consider such a scheme not only as wild, but as wicked, 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 property, it
would "strike 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 himself 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 system of 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 worst
     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 before
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.

Most of the arguments used by those delegates, if they can be called
by so dignified a name, bear a singular resemblance to the arguments
used to-day by the opponents of woman's suffrage. May we not then
conclude that the fears which have been proved absolutely 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 taking a
prominent part. On this occasion a beautiful silver pitcher was
presented to him as a token of gratitude for his persevering efforts
in behalf of women. This pitcher still holds a place of honor in our
family dinings 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
     assertion, or covert insinuation, against the motives or the
     character of those courageous women who may have met in
     Lawrenceburg or elsewhere, to consult regarding 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, remaining there
until 1858. During the war his exertions were unremitting. 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 conversation 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 correct and far-sighted. He believed the
conferring of suffrage upon the negro, dim-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 arrogant masters, would prove a two-edged sword with a terrible
reactionary 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
produced. 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
Spiritualism in both its ancient and its modern phases. He published
two works on this subject, "Footfalls on the Boundary of Another
World," and "The Debatable Land between this World and the Next." 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 cultivate 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 father's 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, could 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 unproved?

While 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 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 blank.

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 narrow; 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 and veterans, 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 hopeless 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 and garden, kitchen
and parlor, all were under her immediate guidance and control. Well do
I remember the pots of golden butter, fresh from her cool hand; the
delicious hams cured under her supervision; the succulent vegetables
and juicy fruits fresh from her garden--that trim, symmetrical garden,
with its well-weeded beds, its well-kept walks! Many a bright summer
morning have I seen her resting on a low bench beneath a huge
overhanging elm, overlooking the field of our labors. To a stranger
the flushed face with its irregular features, might have seemed plain;
the earnest, energetic manner might have seemed almost abrupt; but to
the children who sat on the grass at her feet looking upward, the face
was beautiful. That calm eye had pierced through so many childish
intricacies 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 mother,
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 morning, 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. Miss
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[56] 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 rested 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 reverenced mine that night. A quiet,
but deep attention was given to her words, for the fathers and mothers
who were listening to her knew that she was speaking on a subject to
which she had given long years of careful thought and faithful
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 possible 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 remember 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 invariably
taught a bitter but wholesome lesson. She believed these lessons to be
much more effectual for good than any arbitrary prohibition on her
part would have been; she reserved such prohibition 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 management 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 childhood, "by the will of
God," as we say in our blindness. One of them especially, the "little
king," as he was called, being a magnificent 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 vigorous 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 possible, 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 it back in vivid
coloring; myriads of stalwart trees whisper it; myriads of breathing
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 masonry of a
mother's constant endeavor.

Mothers, all over this broad land, heavy-laden with the puerile
details of daily living, fling off 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 day.
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 home wherein
all that was sweet, and strong, and true, was nurtured 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 believe 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 success,
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[57] will show the spirit of the leaders at that time. A
Woman's Rights Society was formed at this Convention, a Constitution
and By-laws adopted, and it became one of the permanent organizations
of the State. Hannah Hiatt, 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 as a delegate to the
"World's Temperance Convention," held in New York, on account of her
sex, they passed a resolution condemning this insult offered to all
womankind. Thirty-two persons[58] signed the Constitution in the first
Convention, and the movement spread rapidly in the Hoosier State.

The fourth annual meeting convened in Masonic Hall, Indianapolis,
October 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 suffrage, and added much to
the success of the Convention. The press, as usual, ridiculed,
burlesqued, and misrepresented the proceedings; but the citizens
manifested a serious interest, and requested that the next Convention
be held at the capital.

About this time the "Maine Liquor Law" was passed in this State. The
women took an active part in the temperance campaign, and helped to
secure the prohibitory law. This 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 best to make the movement ridiculous. The reporters
gave glowing pen sketches of the "masculine women" and "feminine men";
they described the dress and appearance of the women very minutely
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; Abbe Lindley,

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. Underhill were the principal 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 1857 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 Association, still my heart, my influence, and my prayers
     have all been with the advocates 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. Gage, 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 Underhill,
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

Sarah Underhill, Emma Swank, Mary Birdsall, Agnes Cook, Dr. Mary F.
Thomas, and Amanda Way were appointed to present said petition to the
Legislature. The interest was so great, and the discussions so
animated, for many new speakers from all parts of the State had risen
up, that the Convention continued through three days.

On the 19th of January, 1859, the petition was presented to the
Legislature 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 occasion 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 appointed hour. On
the arrival of the Committee, they were escorted to the Speaker's
stand. The President, J. R. Cravens, introduced them to their

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, pointing out
clearly the evils that flow from class legislation.

Mrs. Birdsall being introduced, read a clear, concise address,
occupying about half an hour.

The following resolution, offered by Gen. Steele, was unanimously

     _Resolved_, That the addresses just read be spread upon the
     Journal, and that copies be requested for publication in the city

After the Senate adjourned, the Speaker called the House to order, and
on the motion of Mr. Murray, it resolved itself into committee 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 time," 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 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, and 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 am 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, Hannah Hiatt, on the
     importance of the movement and the ruinous consequences of
     dividing the interests of men and women, and making their
     relations antagonistic 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
     an answer that if voting and holding office would degrade women,
     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
     occasion. He was the only one who appealed to the Bible to
     justify the subjection of woman. And while he awarded to man the
     right 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.

                              Yours,                  HENRY C. WRIGHT.

                                   NEW GARDEN, Ohio, _Oct. 2, 1851_.

     DEAR FRIENDS:--When Goethe was asked if the world would be better
     if the Golden Age were restored, he answered, "A synod of good
     women shall decide."

     Could his spirit look down upon us he would see those synods, of
     which he perhaps prophetically spoke, assembling all over the
     land, not to restore an age of semi-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 sought 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 humanity, 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, we should never have had
     a Governor's 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
     liberty. Cramped and crippled as she may be by inexorable law,
     she avenges herself, 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.

     Sisters of Indiana, accept my heartfelt sympathy in the work you
     have undertaken. 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.

Having 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 themselves:

                           REV. AMANDA M. WAY

     may be truthfully called the mother of "The Woman Suffrage
     Association" in Indiana organized in 1851, and took an active
     part in all the Conventions until she became a resident in Kansas
     in 1872. Miss Way was always an abolitionist, a prohibitionist,
     and an uncompromising suffragist--the great pioneer of all
     reforms. It is amusing to hear how many places she has been the
     first to fill; yet she has done it all in such a quiet way that
     no one seemed to feel that she was ever out of place. It was a
     common remark, "Amanda can do that, but she is not like other
     people." She was the first woman elected Grand Secretary of 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 Templar; the first one in her State to be a
     representative to the national lodge; the first one admitted as a
     regular representative to the Grand Division, Sons of Temperance,
     and the first to be a licensed preacher in the Methodist
     Episcopal Church. What is better still, she continues in the work
     she began, gaining power and influence with the experience of
     years. An editor, speaking of her, 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' Tribune_, 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 hospitals and the sanitary
     movement. Many a soldier returned to his home who would 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

     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 moving slowly, is still
     moving in the right direction.

                             HELEN Y. AUSTIN,

     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

                              LOUISE V. BOYD.

     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 State W. S. Association for many years, taking an active part
     in all our Conventions.

                            REV. MARY T. CLARK.

     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 Congregational Quakers. More recently she has
     been ordained in the Universalist Church, and enjoys equal rights
     and honors with the clergymen of that denomination. She is a
     woman of education and culture, and of English parentage.

                               EMMA B. SWANK.

     Mrs. 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 by her lecturing on Astronomy. She spent
     several years lecturing to classes of women on Physiology,
     Anatomy, and Hygiene. Of late, she has devoted herself to Woman
     Suffrage and Temperance. She served as president of the State
     Society one year before the war and one since, and has always
     done good, service to the cause of woman with both pen and

                            SARAH E. UNDERHILL.

     Mrs. Underhill 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. Though she remained in the
     State but three years, she was widely and favorably known as an
     earnest and effective speaker on Woman Suffrage and Temperance.
     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."

                              JANE MORROW.

     Miss Morrow was a pioneer in our movement; attended the Second
     Convention 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.

                             MARY B. BIRDSALL

     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, in 1855, and published it for three
     years. Her home is in Richmond.

                           MARY ROBINSON OWEN.

     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 husband carried through our
     Legislature. She had a strong, clear intellect, and her lectures
     were more argumentative and pointed than rhetorical and flinched.
     She sympathized with and aided her husband in all his reformatory
     movements, and was 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.

                             MARY F. THOMAS.

     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 assisted him in his outdoor labors in the
     summer, and studied under his instructions 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 woman.

     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 Cornell 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 Association as a regularly admitted delegate. She is a
     member of the Wayne County Medical Association; has been
     physician for "The Home for Friendless Women" in the city of
     Richmond for nine years, and has filled the office of City
     Physician by the appointment of the Commissioners for several

     Though deeply interested in the woman suffrage reform, owing to
     her domestic 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 perpetuates by law.

                   (_From the Liberator of May, 1856_).

                      RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN WISCONSIN.

     Minority Report of C. L. Sholes, from the "Committee on
         Expiration and Re-enactment of Laws," to whom were referred
         sundry petitions, praying that steps may be taken to confer
         upon women the right of suffrage in Wisconsin.

     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 petitioners 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 so 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 condition being
     intended by Providence always to be and remain there. But
     notwithstanding this opinion has the weight of high authority,
     and notwithstanding the practice of the American people has thus
     far been in strict accordance with such opinion, the undersigned
     believes the theory proclaimed is not simply a rhetorical
     flourish, nor meaningless, but that it means just what it says;
     that it is true, and being true, is susceptible of an application
     as broad as the truth proclaimed.

     All humankind, says the theory, are endowed by their Creator with
     certain 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 his destiny, deriving his rights from that source
     alone; and makes government his creature instead of his master,
     instituted by him solely for the better protection 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 individual of
     humanity and his Creator. Herein is the whole merit of the
     American 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 implying as it
     does such noble powers in humanity, and such noble conditions and
     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, as 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 intelligent people of the world, and manifest,
     individually and collectively, the fruits of superior
     intelligence. It will not be denied that our theory of
     government, viewing as it does every man as a sovereign, opening
     up to every man 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 abstract 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 destiny which is supposed 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 withheld, and,
     although a more indirect, not a less certain injury to all.
     Man-masculine 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 are precisely the same which have been in the mouths
     of tyrants from the beginning 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
     licentiousness--and out of the possession of rights will grow
     only the practice of follies and wrongs. This is the argument, in
     brief, applied to 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 application 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 equals 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 that, in that position, she will
     not outrage the "higher law" of her nature by descending to a
     participation in faults, follies, or crimes, for which she has no
     constitutional 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 have 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
     bear on 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 be at 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 contrary, there is an universal
     prayer throughout the length and breadth of the land, 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 insult 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 rectitude, 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 assume, 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, we say woman must 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 proscribed 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 as much
     liberality as now is theirs.

     Let every human being occupy a common platform of political
     rights, and all will irresistibly gravitate exactly to their
     proper place and sphere, without discord, 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 government; 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 realized,

          "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 America 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 question.

     Your Committee, therefore, introduces no bill, and recommends no
     action at present.

     All of which is respectfully submitted.             C. L. SHOLES.

This able report was the result, in a great measure, of the agitation
started by Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Fowler in 1853, and by Lucy Stone's
lecturing tour in 1855, thus proving that no true words or brave deeds
are ever lost. The experiences of these noble pioneers in their first
visits to Wisconsin, though in many respects trying and discouraging,
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 State.


[55] "The Relation of Woman to Industry in Indiana," by May Wright

[56] The vast audience of women alone, in Apollo Hall, to discuss the
McFarland and Richardson tragedy.

[57] See Appendix.

[58] See Appendix.



     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 Grimké--Abby Kelly--Mary Grew--Temperance in
     1848--Hannah Darlington and Ann Preston before the Legislature--
     Medical College for Women in 1850--Westchester Woman Rights
     Convention, 1852--Philadelphia Convention, 1854--Lucretia
     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 payment 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 visited
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
beneficent 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 Independence
proclaimed July 4, 1776, and on the 8th, read to thousands assembled
in front of the building. These great events have made Philadelphia
the birthplace of freedom, the Mecca of this western 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 proclaimed, and in 1780 slavery was

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 interesting incidents in regard to the
heroism of women. In every way they 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 circumstances. 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 few instances that occurred at Philadelphia will
illustrate the patriotism of American women.[59]

     While the American army remained encamped at White Marsh, the
     British being in possession of Philadelphia, Gen. Howe made some
     vain attempts 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 superior officers of the army for private
     conference, whenever it was necessary to hold consultations.

     On the afternoon of the 2d 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 us out 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 resolved on further investigation. Accordingly, in
     the midst of their conference that 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 knocking 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 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

     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 his 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
     reception. None suspected the grave, demure Quakeress of having
     snatched 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 _retired_ 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 War.

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 who 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 Berdt 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 in this connection, and assert that
the committee appointed to prepare a flag gave her the perfected
design; but the evidence is in favor of her having had a large share
in the change from the original design to the flag as it now is; the
same flag which we have held as a nation since the memorable year of
the Declaration of Independence, the flag which now floats on every
sea, whose stars and stripes carry hope to all the oppressed nations
of the earth; though to woman it is but an _ignis fatuus_, an ever
waving signal of the ingratitude of the republic to one-half its

An anecdote of a female spy is related in the journal of Major
Tallmadge. While the Americans were at Valley Forge he was stationed
in the vicinity of Philadelphia with a detachment of cavalry to
observe the enemy and limit the range of British foraging parties. His
duties required the utmost vigilance, his squad seldom remained all
night in the same position, and their horses were rarely unsaddled.
Hearing that a country girl had gone into the city with eggs; having
been sent by one of the American officers to gain information;
Tallmadge advanced toward the British lines, and dismounted at a small
tavern 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 approaching. 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 was some 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 dispatches
sent in the back of his coat. One morning, when there was 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 Burgoyne's surrender, the
sprightly girl, not daring to give vent openly to her exultation, put
her head up the chimney and hurrahed for Gates.

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 classic with the
startling events of the anti-slavery struggle. In 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

The important part women took in the later movement, inaugurated 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 Grimké, and Mary Grew, was echoed in
the brave deeds of Margaret Garner, Linda Brent, and Mrs. Stowe's

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, Sidney Ann Lewis,
and Lydia White, took part in the discussions.

The following resolution, passed at the close of the third day,
without 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 remember the auspicious
sequel to it, the formation of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery
Society. Nor 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 recollection 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 subscribing their names to our
'Declaration of Sentiments and Purposes.'"


No sooner did the National Society adjourn, than the women who had
listened to the discussions with such deep interest, assembled to
organize themselves for action. A few extracts from Mary Grew's final
report of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1870 show

     A meeting convened at the school-room of Catherine McDermott,
     12th mo. 9th, 1833, to take into consideration the propriety of
     forming a Female 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 removing the great evil of slavery. After
     some discussion upon this interesting subject, it was concluded
     to form a Society, in the belief that our combined efforts would
     more effectually aid in relieving the oppression of our suffering
     fellow-creatures. For this purpose a Committee was appointed 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
     enjoyment of their rights, and to increased usefulness in

     At a meeting held 12th mo. 14th, the Committee appointed on the
     9th submitted a form of Constitution, which was read and adopted.
     After its adoption, 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 McDermott, 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,
     Corresponding Secretary; Anna Bunting, Treasurer; Lydia White,

     The Annual Reports of the first two years of this Society are not
     extant; but from its third, we learn that in each of those years
     the Society memorialized Congress, praying for the abolition of
     slavery in the District 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 aiding them in any practicable
     way. In the third year it appointed a Committee "to make
     arrangements for the establishment of a course of scientific
     lectures, which our colored friends were particularly invited to
     attend." The phraseology of this statement implies that white
     persons were not to be excluded from these lectures, and
     indicates a clear-sighted purpose, on the part of the Society, to
     bear its testimony against distinctions founded on color. In this
     year it published an Address to the Women of Pennsylvania,
     calling their attention to the claims of the slave, and urging
     them to sign petitions for his emancipation. Mrs. Elizabeth
     Heyrick's well-known pamphlet, entitled "Immediate, not Gradual
     Emancipation," was during the same year republished by the
     "Anti-Slavery Sewing Society," a body composed of some of the
     members of this Association, but not identical with it, which met
     weekly at the house of our Vice-President, Sidney Ann Lewis.
     Another event, important and far-reaching beyond our power then
     to foresee, had marked the year. A member of this Society[60] had
     received and accepted a commission 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
     appointed 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 harvest.

     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 consenting to these crimes.
     That Convention was the last assembly gathered in that Hall, then
     just dedicated to the service of Freedom. Its fifth session, 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
     surroundings, they felt willing to do so. The President laid the
     request before the Convention, and asked, Will you remain? A few
     minutes of solemn deliberation; a few moments' listening to the
     loud madness surging against the outer walls; a moment's unvoiced
     prayer for wisdom and strength, and the answer came: _We will_;
     and the business of the meeting proceeded. But before the usual
     hour of adjournment arrived, another message came 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 Convention to
     attempt to hold possession of the Hall for the evening. The
     meeting adjourned at 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 slavery.

     The experience of that morning is very briefly mentioned in the
     published "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 session 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.[61]

     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 generally.

     A committee of arrangements appointed to obtain a house in which
     the Convention should be held, reported: "That in compliance with
     a resolution passed at a meeting of this Society, an application
     was made to each of the seven Monthly Meetings of Friends, in
     this city, for one of their meeting-houses, in which to hold the
     Convention." Two returned respectful answers, declining the
     application; three refused 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.

     As to other denominations of professed Christians, similar
     applications had been frequently refused by them, although there
     was one exception 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
     Arrangements reported that their difficulties and perplexities
     "were relieved by a voluntary offer from that devoted friend of
     the slave, John H. Cavender, 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

     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 invitation was not thus limited; consequently,
     this Society was not represented there.

     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 infamous statute known by the name of "The Fugitive Slave
     Law." Its enactment by the Thirty-first Congress, and its
     ratification by Millard 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 cunningly devised for the purpose of
     depriving men of liberty. It put in imminent 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
     conscience; 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

     The case of Adam Gibson, captured in this city by the notorious
     kidnapper, 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 Pennsylvania. No pen can record, no human
     power can estimate, the aggregate of woe and guilt which was the
     legitimate result of that Fugitive Slave Bill.

     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 master, a Virginia
     slaveholder, that by the laws of Pennsylvania they were free. The
     legally emancipated mother, Jane Johnson, availing herself of
     this knowledge, took possession of her own person and her own
     children; and their astonished master suddenly discovered that
     his power 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 mean revenge upon the brave man who had
     enlightened an ignorant woman respecting her legal right to
     freedom. Judge Kane, usurping jurisdiction 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
     sympathizers in the Grand Jury, who enabled him to indict for
     riot and assault and battery, Passmore Williamson, William Still,
     and five other persons. During the trial which ensued, the
     prosecutor and his allies were 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 protection, it was questionable whether the slave power, in
     the person of United States officers and their ever ready
     minions, would not forcibly overpower State 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 testify 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 accomplished; 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 gathered 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 commissioner, was dark with despair; and
     the dawn of morning brought no hope to our souls. We confidently
     expected to witness again, as we had often 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 Pennsylvania's disgrace. But a far different experience
     awaited us. Commissioner 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
     fervent 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 waiting 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 Abolitionists of
     Philadelphia found their right of free speech protected by city
     authorities. 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 thundered forth the
     doom of the slave power. She aimed them at Fort Sumter 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 interesting 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 enriched their own souls. The week of the fair was
     the annual Social Festival 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 festivals, 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 estimate.

     The pro-slavery spirit which always pervaded our city, and which
     sometimes 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 deed for Freedom. The coward
     North trembled in its turn lest its Southern trade should be
     imperilled, and in all its cities there went up a frantic cry
     that the Union must be saved and the Abolitionists suppressed.
     The usual time for holding our fair was at hand. Before it was
     opened a daily newspaper of this city informed its readers that
     notwithstanding the rebuke which the Abolitionists had received
     from a recent meeting of Union-savers, they had audaciously
     announced their intention of holding another fair, the avowed
     purpose of which was the dissemination of anti-slavery
     principles. The indignant journalist asked if Philadelphia would
     suffer such a fair to be held. This was doubtless intended as a
     summons to a mob, and a most deadly mob responded to the call. It
     did not expend 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 the slave 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 consisted 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, "Proclaim 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 entered, took possession,
     and informed the managers that our property must be removed
     within three hours. Then were the doors of this hall,[62] 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 seasons 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 Government. 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 rejoicing, and of
     victory. The veterans of our cause, long accustomed to the
     threats and the presence of mobs, found reason for rejoicing in
     the courage 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 demonstration of hostility from
     the indignant citizens who had fiercely resolved that the
     Anti-Slavery Fair should be suppressed. Such demonstrations were,
     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, 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, 1861.

     The money raised by this Society in various ways amounted to
     about $35,000. Nearly the whole of this revenue has been expended
     in disseminating the principles of our cause, by means of printed
     documents and public 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, organized 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 overthrow 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 contemplating 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 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 disgraceful
mobs that marked those eventful days. The lovers of free speech had
found great difficulty in procuring churches or halls in which to
preach the anti-slavery gospel. Accordingly, a number of individuals
of all sects and no sect, of all parties and no party, erected a
building wherein the principles of Liberty and Equality could be
freely discussed.

David Paul Brown, one of Pennsylvania's most distinguished lawyers,
was invited to give the oration dedicating this hall to "Freedom and
the Rights of Man." In accepting the invitation, he said:

     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 BROWN.
     S. WEBB and WM. H. SCOTT, Esqs.

Whenever fugitives were arrested on the soil of Pennsylvania, this
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

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 complete.
Abolitionists from all parts of the country hastened to be present at
the dedication; and among the rest came representatives of the Woman's
National Convention, held in New York one year before.

Notices had been posted about the city threatening the speedy
destruction of this temple of liberty. During this three days'
Convention, 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
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,[63] 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. Grimké, the gifted orator from South Carolina, who, having lived in
the midst of slavery all her life, could faithfully describe its
cruelties and abominations. But the indescribable uproar outside,
cries of fire, and yells of defiance, were a constant interruption,
and stones thrown against the windows a warning of coming danger. But
through it all this brave Southern woman stood unmoved, except by the
intense earnestness of her own great theme.

                       ANGELINA GRIMKÉ'S ADDRESS.

     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 not enjoy
     happiness while his manhood is destroyed. Slaves, however, may
     be, and sometimes are mirthful. When hope is extinguished, they
     say, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." [Here stones
     were thrown at the windows--a great noise without and commotion

     What is a mob? what would the breaking of every window be? What
     would the levelling of this hall be? Any evidence that we are
     wrong, or that slavery is a good and wholesome institution? What
     if the mob should now burst in upon us, break up our meeting, and
     commit violence upon our persons, would that be anything compared
     with what the slaves endure? No, no; and we do not remember them,
     "as bound with them," if we shrink in the time of peril, or feel
     unwilling to sacrifice ourselves, if need be, for their sake.
     [Great noise]. I thank the Lord that there is 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
     truth 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
     long as it can, all efforts to reclaim it from error! I feel that
     all this disturbance is but an evidence that our efforts are the
     best that could have 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 to repent and do works
     meet for repentance, and my heart sickened within me. Oh, how
     should I have rejoiced to know that such efforts as these 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 myself from my native land, because I could no longer
     endure to hear the wailing 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 Carolinian, from a State which framed
     this iniquity by law. Every Southern breeze wafted to me the
     discordant tones of weeping and wailing, 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 expose to the gaze of strangers the horrors and pollutions of
     slavery, when there 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 Southern 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 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. Moreover, 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, "It does no good!" The South already turns
     pale at the number sent. They have read the reports of the
     proceedings of Congress, and there have seen that among other
     petitions were very many from the women of the North on the
     subject 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 unanswered, 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 supplies. 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 pay a few words. I have never before addressed a
     promiscuous assembly; nor is it now the maddening rush of those
     voices, which is the indication of a moral whirlwind; nor is it
     the crashing of those windows, which is the indication of a moral
     earthquake, that calls me 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 ourselves. The North is that rich man. How he is clothed in
     purple and fine linen, and fares sumptuously! Yonder, yonder, at
     a little distance, is the gate where lies the Lazarus of the
     South, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that
     fall from our luxurious table. Look! see him there! even the dogs
     are more merciful than we. Oh, see him where he lies! We have
     long, very long, passed by with averted eyes. Ought not we to
     raise him up; and is there one in this Hall who sees nothing for
     himself to do?

     LUCRETIA 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 confined 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.

While 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 New York, they had
learned self-control, and with their coolness and consecration to the
principles they advocated, they were a constant inspiration to the men
by their side.

The Second National Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women
assembled in the lecture-room of Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia,
May 15, 1838, at ten o'clock A.M. The following officers were

     PRESIDENT--Mary L. Parker, of Boston.

     VICE-PRESIDENTS--Maria Weston Chapman, Catharine M. Sullivan,
     Susan Paul, of Boston, Mass.; Mariana Johnson, Providence, R. I.;
     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 Grimké, of Charleston, S. C.

     SECRETARIES--Anne W. Weston, Martha V. Ball, of Boston; Juliana
     A. Tappan, of New York; Sarah Lewis, of Philadelphia.

     TREASURER--Sarah M. Douglass, of Philadelphia.

     BUSINESS COMMITTEE--Sarah T. Smith, Sarah R. Ingraham, Margaret
     Dye, 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 Island; Lucretia Mott, Mary Grew, Sarah M.
     Douglass, Hetty Burr, Martha Smith, Pennsylvania; Angelina Grimké
     Weld, South Carolina.

     On motion of SARAH PUSH, Elizabeth M. Southard, Mary G. Chapman,
     and Abby Kelly were appointed a committee to confer with other
     associations and the managers of Pennsylvania Hall to arrange for
     meetings during the week.

     SARAH T. SMITH, from the Business Committee, presented letters
     from the Female Anti-Slavery Societies of Salem and
     Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, signed by their respective
     secretaries, Mary Spencer and L. Williams.

At this time, even the one and only right of woman, that of petition,
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

MARY GREW offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

     WHEREAS, The disciples of Christ are commanded to have no
     fellowship with the "unfruitful works of darkness"; and

     WHEREAS, Union in His Church is the strongest expression of
     fellowship 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, Abby 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 negative 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 in 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:

     _Resolved_, 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 implicated in this sin, and that it therefore
     becomes the imperative duty of her members to petition their
     ecclesiastical bodies to enter their decided protests against it,
     and exclude slaveholders from their pulpits and communion tables.

The last session was opened by the reading of the sixth chapter of 2
Corinthians, and prayer by Sarah M. Grimké. An Address to Anti-Slavery
Societies was read by Sarah T. Smith, and adopted. We copy from it the
plea and argument for woman's right and duty to be interested in all
questions of public welfare:


     DEAR FRIENDS:--In that love for our cause which knows not the
     fear of man, we address you in confidence that our motives will
     be understood and regarded. We fear not censure from you for
     going beyond the circle 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 low
     degree, and the chains we are now seeking to break, continue
     riveted, on the neck of the slave. Our faith goes not back to the
     wigwam of the savage, or the castle of the feudal chief, but
     would rather soar with hope to that 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 the
     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 "stepping 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
     prosperity of our country, enters deeply into the home--concerns
     the every-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 conscious 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 of ignorance brood
     darkly over it; whether "every one shall have the liberty to
     worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience," or
     man assume the prerogative of Jehovah and impiously seek to plant
     himself upon the throne of the Almighty. These considerations are
     all involved in the question of liberty or slavery.

     And is a subject comprehending interests of such magnitude,
     merely a "political question," and one in which woman "can take
     no part 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 rescue?

     By the Constitution of the United States, the whole physical
     power 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

     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 inactive. 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 fervent are our aspirations, that
     every inhabitant of our land may be protected 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 refuse 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 illumine our pathway, guiding us through
     the sea of persecution and the wilderness of prejudice and
     error, to the promised land of freedom, where "every man shall
     sit under his own vine and fig-tree, and none shall make him

THANKFUL SOUTHWICK[64] moved the following:

     _Resolved_, That it is the duty of all those who call themselves
     Abolitionists, to make the most vigorous efforts to procure for
     the use of their families the 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
     effect the resolutions that had been passed.

This was the last meeting held in Pennsylvania Hall! Business
connected 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 assembled. Although the building was surrounded all day
     by the mob who crowded about the doors, and at times even
     attempted to enter the saloon, yet the women were perfectly
     collected, unmoved by the threatening 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

We give our readers these interesting pages of anti-slavery history
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 railroads 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 withdraw
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 injustice 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, because 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 God, we shall have a glorious revival
of liberty and justice everywhere.

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 finespun
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 windows. 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, New York, South Carolina, and
Pennsylvania could boast. There never was a queen on any European
throne possessed of more personal beauty, grace, and dignity than
Maria Weston Chapman.[65] The calmness and impassioned earnestness of
Angelina Grimké, 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
faithfully worn by South Carolina's brave daughter, henceforth rested
on the shoulders of an equally brave and eloquent Quaker girl from
Massachusetts,[66] 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 research 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 committees to carry them

     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 addressed 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

     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 Legislature.

     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 sustain the new law. But the Supreme Court
     of the State, through the liquor influence, declared the law
     unconstitutional, after a few months' successful trial. Drinking,
     however, has not been as respectable since that time. We
     continued active work in our association until the inauguration
     of the Good Templars movement, in which men and women worked
     together on terms of equality.

                    Respectfully yours,      HANNAH M. DARLINGTON.

                         TEMPERANCE CONVENTION.

     A Temperance Convention of Women of Chester County, met at
     Marlborough Friends' Meeting-house, on Saturday, the 30th of
     December, 1848, and was organized by the appointment of MARTHA

     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 petitions were referred; and also from our
     Representatives in the Legislature, 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

     _To the Women of Chester County_:

     DEAR SISTERS:--Again we would urge upon you the duty and
     necessity 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 libations
     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
     inspiring 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 benevolent 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
     obligation 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
     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 instincts 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
     become 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 others. If _men_ will remain
     comparatively supine we must the more energetically 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 statutes. 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 Legislature 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 intoxicating 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, we 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 and daughters
     whose earthly hopes and joys have been destroyed by that
     charnel-house, the tavern. The incendiary who applies the