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Title: Victoria C. Woodhull - A Biographical Sketch
Author: Tilton, Theodore
Language: English
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[Illustration: Victoria C. Woodhull,]


                            THEODORE TILTON.

[Illustration: The Golden Age]


                                 No. 3.

                         Victoria C. Woodhull.
                         A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.


                            THEODORE TILTON.

               "_He that uttereth a slander is a fool._"
                                 —SOLOMON: Prov. x. 18.

                       PUBLISHED AT THE OFFICE OF
                            THE GOLDEN AGE,
                        9 Spruce St., New York.

  _Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by Theodore
       in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington._


             "_He that uttereth a slander is a fool._"
                                    —SOLOMON: Prov. x. 18.

I shall swiftly sketch the life of Victoria Claflin Woodhull; a young
woman whose career has been as singular as any heroine's in a romance;
whose ability is of a rare and whose character of the rarest type; whose
personal sufferings are of themselves a whole drama of pathos; whose
name (through the malice of some and the ignorance of others) has caught
a shadow in strange contrast with the whiteness of her life; whose
position as a representative of her sex in the greatest reform of modern
times renders her an object of peculiar interest to her fellow-citizens;
and whose character (inasmuch as I know her well) I can portray without
color or tinge from any other partiality save that I hold her in
uncommon respect.

In Homer, Ohio, in a small cottage, white-painted and high-peaked, with
a porch running round it and a flower garden in front, this daughter,
the seventh of ten children of Roxana and Buckman Claflin, was born
September 23d, 1838. As this was the year when Queen Victoria was
crowned, the new-born babe, though clad neither in purple nor fine
linen, but comfortably swaddled in respectable poverty, was immediately
christened (though without chrism) as the Queen's namesake; her parents
little dreaming that their daughter would one day aspire to a higher
seat than the English throne. The Queen, with that early matronly
predilection which her subsequent life did so much to illustrate,
foresaw that many glad mothers, who were to bring babes into the world
during that coronation year, would name them after the chief lady of the
earth; and accordingly she ordained a gift to all her little namesakes
of Anno Domini 1838. As Victoria Claflin was one of these, she has
lately been urged to make a trip to Windsor Castle, to see the
illustrious giver of these gifts, and to receive the special souvenir
which the Queen's bounty is supposed to hold still in store for the Ohio
babe that uttered its first cry as if to say "Long live the Queen!" Mrs.
Woodhull, who is now a candidate for the Presidency of the United
States, should defer this visit till after her election, when she will
have a beautiful opportunity to invite her elder sister in
sovereignty—the mother of our mother country—to visit her fairest
daughter, the Republic of the West.

It is pitiful to be a child without a childhood. Such was she. Not a
sunbeam gilded the morning of her life. Her girlish career was a
continuous bitterness—an unbroken heart-break. She was worked like a
slave—whipped like a convict. Her father was impartial in his cruelty to
all his children; her mother, with a fickleness of spirit that renders
her one of the most erratic of mortals, sometimes abetted him in his
scourgings, and at other times shielded the little ones from his blows.
In a barrel of rain-water he kept a number of braided green withes made
of willow or walnut twigs, and with these stinging weapons, never with
an ordinary whip, he would cut the quivering flesh of the children till
their tears and blood melted him into mercy. Sometimes he took a handsaw
or a stick of firewood as the instrument of his savagery. Coming home
after the children were in bed, on learning of some offence which they
had committed, he has been known to waken them out of sleep, and to whip
them till morning. In consequence of these brutalities, one of the sons,
in his thirteenth year, burst away from home, went to sea, and still
bears in a shattered constitution the damning memorial of his father's
wrath. "I have no remembrance of a father's kiss," says Victoria. Her
mother has on occasions tormented and harried her children until they
would be thrown into spasms, whereat she would hysterically laugh, clap
her hands, and look as fiercely delighted as a cat in playing with a
mouse. At other times, her tenderness toward her offspring would appear
almost angelic. She would fondle them, weep over them, lift her arms and
thank God for such children, caress them with ecstatic joy, and then
smite them as if seeking to destroy at a blow both body and soul. This
eccentric old lady, compounded in equal parts of heaven and hell, will
pray till her eyes are full of tears, and in the same hour curse till
her lips are white with foam. The father exhibits a more tranquil
bitterness, with fewer spasms. These parental peculiarities were lately
made witnesses against their possessors in a court of justice.

If I must account for what seems unaccountable, I may say that with
these parents, these traits are not only constitutional but have been
further developed by circumstances. The mother, who has never in her
life learned to read, was during her maidenhood the petted heiress of
one of the richest German families of Pennsylvania, and was brought up
not to serve but to be served, until in her ignorance and vanity she
fancied all things her own, and all people her ministers. The father,
partly bred to the law and partly to real-estate speculations, early in
life acquired affluence, but during Victoria's third year suddenly lost
all that he had gained, and sat down like a beggar in the dust of
despair. The mother, from her youth, had been a religious monomaniac—a
spiritualist before the name of spiritualism was coined, and before the
Rochester knockings had noised themselves into the public ear. She saw
visions and dreamed dreams. During the half year preceding Victoria's
birth, the mother became powerfully excited by a religious revival, and
went through the process known as "sanctification." She would rise in
prayer-meetings and pour forth passionate hallelujahs that sometimes
electrified the worshippers. The father, colder in temperament, yet
equally inclined to the supernatural, was her partner in these
excitements. When the stroke of poverty felled them to the earth, these
exultations were quenched in grief. The father, in the opinion of some,
became partially crazed; he would take long and rapid walks, sometimes
of twenty miles, and come home with bleeding feet and haggard face. The
mother, never wholly sane, would huddle her children together as a hen
her chickens, and wringing her hands above them, would pray by the hour
that God would protect her little brood. Intense melancholy—a
misanthropic gloom thick as a sea-fog—seized jointly upon both their
minds, and at intervals ever since has blighted them with its mildew. It
is said that a fountain cannot send forth at the same time sweet waters
and bitter, and yet affection and enmity will proceed from this couple
almost at the same moment. At times, they are full of craftiness, low
cunning, and malevolence; at other times, they beam with sunshine,
sweetness, and sincerity. I have seen many strange people, but the
strangest of all are the two parents whose commingled essence
constitutes the spiritual principle of the heroine of this tale.

Just here, if any one asks, "How is it that such parents should not have
reproduced their eccentricities in their children?" I answer, "This is
exactly what they have done." The whole brood are of the same
feather—except Victoria and Tennie. What language shall describe them?
Such another family-circle of cats and kits, with soft fur and sharp
claws, purring at one moment and fighting the next, never before filled
one house with their clamors since Babel began. They love and hate—they
do good and evil—they bless and smite each other. They are a sisterhood
of furies, tempered with love's melancholy. Here and there one will drop
on her knees and invoke God's vengeance on the rest. But for years there
has been one common sentiment sweetly pervading the breasts of a
majority towards a minority of the offspring, namely, a determination
that Victoria and Tennie should earn all the money for the support of
the numerous remainder of the Claflin tribe—wives, husbands, children,
servants, and all. Being daughters of the horse-leech, they cry "give."
It is the common law of the Claflin clan that the idle many shall eat up
the substance of the thrifty few. Victoria is a green leaf, and her
legion of relatives are caterpillars who devour her. Their sin is that
they return no thanks after meat; they curse the hand that feeds them.
They are what my friend Mr. Greeley calls "a bad crowd." I am a little
rough in saying this, I admit; but I have a rude prejudice in favor of
the plain truth.

Victoria's school-days comprised, all told, less than three
years—stretching with broken intervals between her eighth and eleventh.
The aptest learner of her class, she was the pet alike of scholars and
teacher. Called "The Little Queen" (not only from her name but her
demeanor) she bore herself with mimic royalty, like one born to command.
Fresh and beautiful, her countenance being famed throughout the
neighborhood for its striking spirituality, modest, yet energetic, and
restive from the over-fulness of an inward energy such as quickened the
young blood of Joan of Arc, she was a child of genius, toil, and grief.
The little old head on the little young shoulders was often bent over
her school-book at the midnight hour. Outside of the school-room, she
was a household drudge, serving others so long as they were awake, and
serving herself only when they slept. Had she been born black, or been
chained to a cart-wheel in Alabama, she could not have been a more
enslaved slave. During these school-years, child as she was, she was the
many-burdened maid-of-all-work in the large family of a married sister;
she made fires, she washed and ironed, she baked bread, she cut wood,
she spaded a vegetable garden, she went on errands, she tended infants,
she did everything. "Victoria! Victoria!" was the call in the morning
before the cock-crowing; when, bouncing out of bed, the "little steam
engine," as she was styled, began her buzzing activities for the day.
Light and fleet of step, she ran like a deer. She was everybody's
favorite—loved, petted, and by some marveled at as a semi-supernatural
being. Only in her own home (not a sweet but bitter home) was she
treated with the cruelty that still beclouds the memory of her early

I must now let out a secret. She acquired her studies, performed her
work, and lived her life by the help (as she believes) of heavenly
spirits. From her childhood till now (having reached her thirty-third
year) her anticipation of the other world has been more vivid than her
realization of this. She has entertained angels, and not unawares. These
gracious guests have been her constant companions. They abide with her
night and day. They dictate her life with daily revelation; and like St.
Paul, she is "not disobedient to the heavenly vision." She goes and
comes at their behest. Her enterprises are not the coinage of her own
brain, but of their divine invention. Her writings and speeches are the
products, not only of their indwelling in her soul, but of their
absolute control of her brain and tongue. Like a good Greek of the olden
time, she does nothing without consulting her oracles. Never, as she
avers, have they deceived her, nor ever will she neglect their decrees.
One-third of human life is passed in sleep; and in her case, a goodly
fragment of this third is spent in trance. Seldom a day goes by but she
enters into this fairy-land, or rather into this spirit-realm. In
pleasant weather, she has a habit of sitting on the roof of her stately
mansion on Murray Hill, and there communing hour by hour with the
spirits. She as a religious devotee—her simple theology being an
absorbing faith in God and the angels.

Moreover, I may as well mention here as later, that every characteristic
utterance which she gives to the world is dictated while under
spirit-influence, and most often in a totally unconscious state. The
words that fall from her lips are garnered by the swift pen of her
husband, and published almost verbatim as she gets and gives them. To
take an illustration, after her recent nomination to the Presidency by
"The Victoria League," she sent to that committee a letter of superior
dignity and moral weight. It was a composition which she had dictated
while so outwardly oblivious to the dictation, that when she ended and
awoke, she had no memory at all of what she had just done. The product
of that strange and weird mood was a beautiful piece of English, not
unworthy of Macaulay; and to prove what I say, I adduce the following
eloquent passage, which (I repeat) was published without change as it
fell from her unconscious lips:

"I ought not to pass unnoticed," she says, "your courteous and graceful
allusion to what you deem the favoring omen of my name. It is true that
a Victoria rules the great rival nation opposite to us on the other
shore of the Atlantic, and it might grace the amity just sealed between
the two nations, and be a new security of peace, if a twin sisterhood of
Victorias were to preside over the two nations. It is true, also, that
in its mere etymology the name signifies _Victory!_ and the victory for
the right is what we are bent on securing. It is again true, also, that
to some minds there is a consonant harmony between the idea and the
word, so that its euphonious utterance seems to their imaginations to be
itself a genius of success. However this may be, I have sometimes
imagined that there is perhaps something providential and prophetic in
the fact that my parents were prompted to confer on me a name which
forbids the very thought of failure; and, as the great Napoleon believed
the star of his destiny, you will at least excuse me, and charge it to
the credulity of the woman, if I believe also in fatality of triumph as
somehow inhering in my name."

In quoting this passage, I wish to add that its author is a person of no
special literary training; indeed, so averse to the pen that, of her own
will, she rarely dips it into ink, except to sign her business
autograph; nor would she ever write at all except for those
spirit-promptings which she dare not disobey; and she could not possibly
have produced the above peroration except by some strange intellectual
quickening—some over-brooding moral help. This (as she says) she derives
from the spirit-world. One of her texts is, "I will lift up mine eyes
unto the hills whence cometh my help—my help cometh from the Lord who
made Heaven and Earth." She reminds me of the old engraving of St.
Gregory dictating his homilies under the outspread wing of the Holy

It has been so from her childhood. So that her school studies were,
literally, a daily miracle. She would glance at a page, and know it by
heart. The tough little mysteries which bother the bewildered brains of
country-school dullards were always to her as vivid as the sunshine. And
when sent on long and weary errands, she believes that she has been
lifted over the ground by her angelic helpers—"lest she should dash her
feet against a stone." When she had too heavy a basket to carry, an
unseen hand would sometimes carry it for her. Digging in the garden as
if her back would break, occasionally a strange restfulness would
refresh her, and she knew that the spirits were toiling in her stead.
All this may seem an illusion to everybody else, but will never be other
than a reality to her.

Let me cite some details of these spiritual phenomena, curious in
themselves, and illustrating the forces that impel her career.

"My spiritual vision," she says, "dates back as early as my third year."
In Victoria's birth place, a young woman named Rachel Scribner, about
twenty-five years of age, who had been Victoria's nurse, suddenly died.
On the day of her death, Victoria was picked up by her departing spirit,
and borne off into the spirit-world. To this day Mrs. Woodhull describes
vividly her childish sensations as she felt herself gliding through the
air—like St. Catharine winged away by the angels. Her mother testifies
that while this scene was enacting to the child's inner consciousness,
her little body lay as if dead for three hours.

Two of her sisters, who had died in childhood, were constantly present
with her. She would talk to them as a girl tattles to her dolls. They
were her most fascinating playmates, and she never cared for any others
while she had their invisible society.

In her tenth year, one day while sitting by the side of a cradle rocking
a sick babe to sleep, she says that two angels came, and gently pushing
her away, began to fan the child with their white hands, until its face
grew fresh and rosy. Her mother then suddenly entered the chamber, and
beheld in amazement the little nurse lying in a trance on the floor, her
face turned upward toward the ceiling, and the pining babe apparently in
the bloom of health.

The chief among her spiritual visitants, and one who has been a majestic
guardian to her from the earliest years of her remembrance, she
describes as a matured man of stately figure, clad in a Greek tunic,
solemn and graceful in his aspect, strong in his influence, and
altogether dominant over her life. For many years, notwithstanding an
almost daily visit to her vision, he withheld his name, nor would her
most importunate questionings induce him to utter it. But he always
promised that in due time he would reveal his identity. Meanwhile he
prophecied to her that she would rise to great distinction; that she
would emerge from her poverty and live in a stately house; that she
would win great wealth in a city which he pictured as crowded with
ships; that she would publish and conduct a journal; and that finally,
to crown her career, she would become the ruler of her people. At
length, after patiently waiting on this spirit-guide for twenty years,
one day in 1868, during a temporary sojourn in Pittsburgh, and while she
was sitting at a marble table, he suddenly appeared to her, and wrote on
the table in English letters the name "Demosthenes." At first the
writing was indistinct, but grew to such a luster that the brightness
filled the room. The apparition, familiar as it had been before, now
affrighted her to trembling. The stately and commanding spirit told her
to journey to New York, where she would find at No. 17 Great Jones
street a house in readiness for her, equipped in all things to her use
and taste. She unhesitatingly obeyed, although she never before had
heard of Great Jones street, nor until that revelatory moment had
entertained an intention of taking such a residence. On entering the
house, it fulfilled in reality the picture which she saw of it in her
vision—the self-same hall, stairways, rooms, and furniture. Entering
with some bewilderment into the library, she reached out her hand by
chance, and without knowing what she did, took up a book which, on idly
looking at its title, she saw (to her blood-chilling astonishment) to be
"The Orations of Demosthenes." From that time onward, the Greek
statesman has been even more palpably than in her earlier years her
prophetic monitor, mapping out the life which she must follow, as a
chart for a ship sailing the sea. She believes him to be her familiar
spirit—the author of her public policy, and the inspirer of her
published words. Without intruding my own opinion as to the authenticity
of this inspiration, I have often thought that if Demosthenes could
arise and speak English, he could hardly excel the fierce light and heat
of some of the sentences which I have heard from this singular woman in
her glowing hours.

I now turn back to her first marriage. The bride (pitiful to tell) was
in her fourteenth year, the bridegroom in his twenty-eighth. It was a
fellowship of misery—and her parents, who abetted it, ought to have
prevented it. The Haytians speak of escaping out of the river by leaping
into the sea. From the endurable cruelty of her parents, she fled to the
unendurable cruelty of her husband. She had been from her twelfth to her
fourteenth year a double victim, first to chills and fever, and then to
rheumatism, which had jointly played equal havoc with her beauty and
health, until she was brought within a step of "the iron door." Dr.
Canning Woodhull, a gay rake, but whose habits were kept hid from _her_
under the general respectability of his family connections (his father
being an eminent judge, and his uncle the mayor of New York), was
professionally summoned to visit the child, and being a trained
physician arrested her decline. Something about her artless manners and
vivacious mind captivated his fancy. Coming as a prince, he found her as
Cinderella—a child of the ashes. Before she entirely recovered, and
while looking haggard and sad, one day he stopped her in the street, and
said, "My little chick, I want you to go with me to the
pic-nic"—referring to a projected Fourth of July excursion then at hand.
The promise of a little pleasure acted like a charm on the house-worn
and sorrow-stricken child. She obtained her mother's assent to her
going, but her father coupled it with the condition that she should
first earn money enough to buy herself a pair of shoes. So the little
fourteen-year-old drudge became for the nonce an apple-merchant, and
with characteristic business energy sold her apples and bought her
shoes. She went to the pic-nic with Dr. Woodhull, like a ticket-of-leave
juvenile-delinquent on a furlough. On coming home from the festival, the
brilliant fop who, tired of the demi-monde ladies whom he could purchase
for his pleasure, and inspired with a sudden and romantic interest in
this artless maid, said to her, "My little puss, tell your father and
mother that I want you for a wife." The startled girl quivered with
anger at this announcement, and with timorous speed fled to her mother
and repeated the tale, feeling as if some injury was threatened her, and
some danger impended. But the parents, as if not unwilling to be rid of
a daughter whose sorrow was ripening her into a woman before her time,
were delighted at the unexpected offer. They thought it a grand match.
They helped the young man's suit, and augmented their persecutions of
the child. Ignorant, innocent, and simple, the girl's chief thought of
the proffered marriage was as an escape from the parental yoke. Four
months later she accepted the change—flying from the ills she had to
others that she knew not of. Her captor, once possessed of his treasure,
ceased to value it. On the third night after taking his child-wife to
his lodgings, he broke her heart by remaining away all night at a house
of ill-repute. Then for the first time she learned, to her dismay, that
he was habitually unchaste, and given to long fits of intoxication. She
was stung to the quick. The shock awoke all her womanhood. She grew ten
years older in a single day. A tumult of thoughts swept like a whirlwind
through her mind, ending at last in one predominant purpose, namely, to
reclaim her husband. She set herself religiously to this pious
task—calling on God and the spirits to help her in it.

Six weeks after her marriage (during which time her husband was mostly
with his cups and his mistresses), she discovered a letter addressed to
him in a lady's elegant penmanship, saying, "Did you marry that child
because she too was _en famille_?" This was an additional thunderbolt.
The fact was that her husband, on the day of his marriage, had sent away
into the country a mistress who a few months later gave birth to a

Squandering his money like a prodigal, he suddenly put his wife into the
humblest quarters, where, left mostly to herself, she dwelt in
bitterness of spirit, aggravated from time to time by learning of his
ordering baskets of champagne and drinking himself drunk in the company
of harlots.

Sometimes, with uncommon courage, through rain and sleet, half clad and
shivering, she would track him to his dens, and by the energy of her
spirit compel him to return. At other times, all night long she would
watch at the window, waiting for his footsteps, until she heard them
languidly shuffling along the pavement with the staggering reel of a
drunken man, in the shameless hours of the morning.

During all this time, she passionately prayed Heaven to give her the
heart of her husband, but Heaven, decreeing otherwise, withheld it from
her, and for her good.

In fifteen months after her marriage, while living in a little low
frame-house in Chicago, in the dead of winter, with icicles clinging to
her bed-post, and attended only by her half-drunken husband, she brought
forth in almost mortal agony her first-born child. In her ensuing
helplessness, she became an object of pity to a next-door neighbor who,
with a kindness which the sufferer's unhomelike home did not afford,
brought her day by day some nourishing dish. This same ministering hand
would then wrap the babe in a blanket, and take it to a happier mother
in the near neighborhood, who was at the same time nursing a new-born
son. In this way Victoria and her child—themselves both children—were
cared for with mingled gentleness and neglect.

At the end of six days, the little invalid attempted to rise and put her
sick-room in order, when she was taken with delirium, during which her
mother visited her just in time to save her life.

On her recovery, and after a visit to her father's house, she returned
to her own to be horror-struck at discovering that her bed had been
occupied the night before by her husband in company with a wanton of the
streets, and that the room was littered with the remains of their
drunken feast.

Once, after a month's desertion by him, until she had no money and
little to eat, she learned that he was keeping a mistress at a
fashionable boarding-house, under the title of wife. The true wife,
still wrestling with God for the renegade, sallied forth into the wintry
street, clad in a calico dress without undergarments, and shod only with
india-rubbers without shoes or stockings, entered the house, confronted
the household as they sat at table, told her story to the confusion of
the paramour and his mistress, and drew tears from all the company till,
by a common movement, the listeners compelled the harlot to pack her
trunk and flee the city, and shamed the husband into creeping like a
spaniel back into the kennel which his wife still cherished as her home.

To add to her misery, she discovered that her child, begotten in
drunkenness, and born in squalor, was a half idiot; predestined to be a
hopeless imbecile for life; endowed with just enough intelligence to
exhibit the light of reason in dim eclipse:—a sad and pitiful spectacle
in his mother's house to-day, where he roams from room to room,
muttering noises more sepulchral than human; a daily agony to the woman
who bore him, hoping more of her burden; and heightening the pathos of
the perpetual scene by the uncommon sweetness of his temper which, by
winning every one's love, doubles every one's pity.

Journeying to California as a region where she might inspire her husband
to begin a new life freed from old associations, she there found herself
and her little family strangers in a strange city—beggars in a land of
plenty. Change of sky is not change of mind. Dr. Woodhull took his
habits, his wife took her necessities, and both took their misery, from
East to West. In San Francisco, the girlish woman, with unrelaxed
energy, and as part of that life-long heroism which will one day have
its monument, set herself to supporting the man by whom she ought to
have been supported. A morning journal had an advertisement—"A cigar
girl wanted." The wife, with her face of sweet sixteen, presented
herself as the first candidate, and was accepted on the spot. The
proprietor was a stalwart Californian—one of those men who catch from a
new country something of the liberality which the sailor brings from the
sea. She served for one day behind his counter—blushing, modest, and
sensitive, her ears tingling at every rude remark by every uncouth
customer—and at nightfall her employer, who had noticed the blood coming
and going in her cheeks, said to her, "My little lady, you are not the
clerk I want; I must have somebody who can rough it; you are too fine."
Inquiring into her case, he was surprised to find her married and a
mother. At first he discredited this information, but there was no
denying the truth of her story. He accompanied her to her husband, and
as the two men discovered themselves to each other as brother
free-masons, he gave his fair clerk of a day a twenty-dollar gold piece,
and dismissed her with his blessing. And I hope this has been revisited
on his own head.

Resorting to her needle, she carried from house to house this only
weapon which many women possess wherewith to fight the battle of life.
She chanced to come upon Anna Cogswell, the actress, who wanted a
sempstress to make her a theatrical wardrobe. The winsome dressmaker was
engaged at once. But her earnings at this new calling did not keep pace
with her expenses. "It is no use," said she to her dramatic friend; "I
am running behindhand. I must do something better." "Then," replied the
actress, "you too must be an actress." And, nothing loth to undertake
anything new and difficult, Victoria, who never before had dreamed of
such a possibility, was engaged as a lesser light to the Cogswell star.
For a first appearance, she was cast in the part of the "Country Cousin"
in "New York by Gaslight." The text was given to her in the morning, she
learned and rehearsed it during the day, and made a fair hit in it at
night. For six weeks thereafter, she earned fifty-two dollars a week as
an actress.

"Never leave the stage," said some of her fellow-performers, all of whom
admired her simplicity and spirituality. "But I do not care for the
stage," she said, "and I shall leave it at the first opportunity. I am
meant for some other fate. But what it is, I know not."

It came—as all things have came to her—through the agency of spirits.
One night while on the boards, clad in a pink silk dress and slippers,
acting in the ballroom scene in the "Corsican Brothers," suddenly a
spirit-voice addressed her, saying, "Victoria, come home!" Thrown
instantly into clairvoyant condition, she saw a vision of her young
sister Tennie, then a mere child—standing by her mother, and both
calling the absent one to return. Her mother and Tennie were then in
Columbus, Ohio. She saw Tennie distinctly enough to notice that she wore
a striped French calico frock. "Victoria come home!" said the little
messenger, beckoning with her childish forefinger. The apparition would
not be denied. Victoria, thrilled and chilled by the vision and voice,
burst away at a bound behind the scenes, and without waiting to change
her dress, ran, clad with all her dramatic adornments, through a foggy
rain to her hotel, and packing up her few things that night, betook
herself with her husband and child next morning to the steamer bound for
New York. On the voyage she was thrown into such vivid spiritual states,
that she produced a profound excitement among the passengers. On
reaching her mother's home, she came upon Tennie dressed in the same
dress as in the vision; and on inquiring the meaning of the message,
"Victoria, come home!" was told that at the time it was uttered, her
mother had said to Tennie, "My dear, send the spirits after Victoria to
bring her home;" and moreover the French calico dress had appeared to
her spirit-sight at the very first moment its wearer had put it on.

This homeward trip, and its consequences, marked a new phase in her
career—a turning point in her life.

Hitherto her clairvoyant faculty had been put to no pecuniary use, but
she was now directed by the spirits to repair to Indianapolis, there to
announce herself as a medium, and to treat patients for the cure of
disease. Taking rooms in the Bates House, and publishing a card in the
journals, she found herself able, on saluting her callers, to tell by
inspiration their names, their residences, and their maladies. In a few
days she became the town's talk. Her marvellous performances in
clairvoyance being noised abroad, people flocked to her from a distance.
Her rooms were crowded and her purse grew fat. She reaped a golden
harvest—including, as its worthiest part, golden opinions from all sorts
of people. Her countenance would often glow as with a sacred light, and
she became an object of religious awe to many wonder-stricken people
whose inward lives she had revealed. Moreover, her unpretentious
modesty, and her perpetual disclaimer of any merit or power of her own,
and the entire crediting of this to spirit-influence, augmented the
interest with which all spectators regarded the amiable prodigy. First
at Indianapolis, and afterward at Terre Haute, she wrought some
apparently miraculous cures. She straightened the feet of the lame; she
opened the ears of the deaf; she detected the robbers of a bank; she
brought to light hidden crimes; she solved physiological problems; she
unveiled business secrets; she prophecied future events. Knowing the
wonders which she wrought, certain citizens disguised themselves and
came to her purporting to be strangers from a distant town, but she
instantly said, "Oh, no; you all live here." "How can you tell?" they
asked. "The spirits say so," she replied.

Benedictions followed her; gifts were lavished upon her; money flowed in
a stream toward her. Journeying from city to city in the practice of her
spiritual art, she thereby supported all her relatives far and near. Her
income in one year reached nearly a hundred thousand dollars. She
received in one day, simply as fees for cures which she had wrought,
five thousand dollars. The sum total of the receipts of her practice,
and of her investments growing out of it, up to the time of its
discontinuance by direction of the spirits in 1869, was $700,000. The
age of wonders has not ceased!

During all this period, though outwardly prosperous, she was inwardly
wretched. The dismal fact of her son's half-idiocy so preyed upon her
mind that, in a heat of morbid feeling, she fell to accusing her
innocent self for his misfortunes. The sight of his face rebuked her,
until, in brokenness of spirit, she prayed to God for another child—a
daughter, to be born with a fair body and a sound mind. Her prayer was
granted, but not without many accompaniments of inhumanity. Once during
her carriage of her unborn charge, she was kicked by its father in a fit
of drunkenness—inflicting a bruise on her body and a greater bruise to
her spirit. Profound as her double suffering was, in its lowest depth
there was a deeper still. She was plunged into this at the child's
birth. This event occurred at No. 53 Bond Street, New York, April 23d,
1861. She and her husband were at the time the only occupants of the
house—her trial coming upon her while no nurse, or servant, or other
human helper was under the roof. The babe entered the world at four
o'clock in the morning, handled by the feverish and unsteady hands of
its intoxicated father, who, only half in possession of his professional
skill, cut the umbilical cord too near the flesh and tied it so loose
that the string came off—laid the babe in its mother's arms—in an hour
afterward left them asleep and alone—and then staggered out of the
house. Nor did he remember to return. Meanwhile, the mother, on waking,
was startled to find that her head on the side next to her babe's body
was in a pool of blood—that her hair was soaked and clotted in a little
red stream oozing drop by drop from the bowels of the child. In her
motherly agony, reaching a broken chair-rung which happened to be lying
near, she pounded against the wall to summon help from the next house.
At intervals for several hours she continued this pounding, no one
answering—until at length one of the neighbors, a resolute woman, who
was attracted toward the noise, but unable to get in at the front-door,
removed the grating of the basement, and made her way up stairs to the
rescue of the mother and her babe. On the third day after, the mother,
on sitting propped in her bed and looking out of the window, caught
sight of her husband staggering up the steps of a house across the way,
mistaking it for his own!

It was this horrible experience that first awoke her mind to the
question, "Why should I any longer live with this man?" Hitherto she had
entertained an almost superstitious idea of the devotion with which a
wife should cling to her husband. She had always been so faithful to him
that, in his cups, he would mock and jeer at her fidelity, and call her
a fool for maintaining it. At length the fool grew wiser, and after
eleven years of what, with conventional mockery, was called a
marriage—during which time her husband had never spent an evening with
her at home, had seldom drawn a sober breath, and had spent on other
women, not herself, all the money he had ever earned—she applied in
Chicago for a divorce, and obtained it.

Previous to this crisis, there had occurred a remarkable incident which
more than ever confirmed her faith in the guardianship of spirits. One
day, during a severe illness of her son, she left him to visit her
patients, and on her return was startled with the news that the boy had
died two hours before. "No," she exclaimed, "I will not permit his
death." And with frantic energy she stripped her bosom naked, caught up
his lifeless form, pressed it to her own, and sitting thus, flesh to
flesh, glided insensibly into a trance in which she remained seven
hours; at the end of which time she awoke, a perspiration started from
his clammy skin, and the child that had been thought dead was brought
back again to life—and lives to this day in sad half-death. It is her
belief that the spirit of Jesus Christ brooded over the lifeless form,
and re-wrought the miracle of Lazarus for a sorrowing woman's sake.

Victoria's father and mother, growing still more fanatical with their
advancing years, had all along subjected her to a series of singular
vexations. And the elder sisters had joined in the mischief-making,
outdoing the parents. Sometimes they would burst in upon Mrs. Woodhull's
house, and attempt to govern its internal economy; sometimes they would
carry off the furniture, or garments, or pictures; sometimes they would
crown her with eulogies as the greatest of human beings, and in the same
breath defame her as an agent of the devil.

But their great cause of persecution grew out of her younger sister
Tennie's career. This young woman developed, while a child in her
father's house, a similar power to Victoria's. It was a penetrating
spiritual insight applied to the cure of disease. But her father and
mother, who regarded their daughter in the light of the damsel mentioned
in the Acts of the Apostles, who "brought her masters much gain by
soothsaying," put her before the public as a fortune-teller. By adding
to much that was genuine in her mediumship more that was charlatanry,
they aroused against this fraudulent business the indignation of the
sincere soul of Victoria who, more than most human beings, scorns a lie,
and would burn at the stake rather than practise a deceit. She clutched
Tennie as by main force and flung her out of this semi-humbug, to the
mingled astonishment of her money-greedy family, one and all. At this
time Tennie was supporting a dozen or twenty relatives by her ill-gotten
gains. Victoria's rescue of her excited the wrath of all these
parasites—which has continued hot and undying against both to this day.
The fond and fierce mother alternately loves and hates the two united
defiers of her morbid will; and the father, at times a Mephistopheles,
waits till the inspiration of cunning overmasters his parental instinct,
and watching for a moment when his ill word to a stranger will blight
their business schemes, drops in upon some capitalist whose money is in
their hands, lodges an indictment against his own flesh and blood, takes
out his handkerchief to hide a few well-feigned tears, clasps his hands
with an unfelt agony, hobbles off smiling sardonically at the mischief
which he has done, and the next day repents his wickedness with genuine
contrition and manlier woe. These parents would cheerfully give their
lives as a sacrifice to atone for the many mischiefs which they have
cast like burrs at their children; but if all the scars which they and
their progeny have inflicted on one another could be magically healed
to-day, they would be scratched open by the same hands and set stinging
and tingling anew to-morrow.

There is a maxim that marriages are made in heaven, albeit contradicted
by the Scripture which declares that in heaven there is neither marrying
nor giving in marriage. But, even against the Scripture, it is safe to
say that Victoria's second marriage was made in Heaven; that is, it was
decreed by the self-same spirits whom she is ever ready to follow,
whether they lead her for discipline into the valley of the shadow of
death, or for comfort in those ways of pleasantness which are paths of
peace. Col. James H. Blood, commander of the 6th Missouri Regiment, who
at the close of the war was elected City Auditor of St. Louis, who
became President of the Society of Spiritualists in that place, and who
had himself been, like Victoria, the legal partner of a morally sundered
marriage, called one day on Mrs. Woodhull to consult her as a
spiritualistic physician (having never met her before), and was startled
to see her pass into a trance, during which she announced, unconsciously
to herself, that his future destiny was to be linked with hers in
marriage. Thus, to their mutual amazement, but to their subsequent
happiness, they were betrothed on the spot by "the powers of the air."
The legal tie by which at first they bound themselves to each other was
afterward by mutual consent annulled—the necessary form of Illinois law
being complied with to this effect. But the marriage stands on its
merits, and is to all who witness its harmony known to be a sweet and
accordant union of congenial souls.

Col. Blood is a man of a philosophic and reflective cast of mind, an
enthusiastic student of the higher lore of spiritualism, a recluse from
society, and an expectant believer in a stupendous destiny for Victoria.
A modesty not uncommon to men of intellect prompts him to sequester his
name in the shade rather than to set it glittering in the sun. But he is
an indefatigable worker—driving his pen through all hours of the day and
half of the night. He is an active editor of _Woodhull & Claflin's
Weekly_, and one of the busy partners in the firm of Woodhull, Claflin &
Co., Brokers, at 44 Broad street, New York. His civic views are (to use
his favorite designation of them) cosmopolitical; in other words, he is
a radical of extreme radicalism—an internationalist of the most
uncompromising type—a communist who would rather have died in Paris than
be the president of a pretended republic whose first official act has
been the judicial murder of the only republicans in France. His
spiritualistic habits he describes in a letter to his friend, the writer
of this memorial, as follows: "At about eleven or twelve o'clock at
night, two or three times a week, and sometimes without nightly
interval, Victoria and I hold parliament with the spirits. It is by this
kind of study that we both have learned nearly all the valuable
knowledge that we possess. Victoria goes into a trance, during which her
guardian spirit takes control of her mind, speaking audibly through her
lips, propounding various matters for our subsequent investigation and
verification, and announcing principles, detached thoughts, hints of
systems, and suggestions for affairs. In this way, and in this spiritual
night-school, began that process of instruction by which Victoria has
risen to her present position as a political economist and politician.
During her entranced state, which generally lasts about an hour, but
sometimes twice as long, I make copious notes of all she says, and when
her speech is unbroken, I write down every word, and publish it without
correction or amendment. She and I regard all the other portion of our
lives as almost valueless compared with these midnight hours." The
preceding extract shows that this fine-grained transcendentalist is a
reverent husband to his spiritual wife, the sympathetic companion of her
entranced moods, and their faithful historian to the world.

After her union with Col. Blood, instead of changing her name to his,
she followed the example of many actresses, singers, and other
professional women whose names have become a business property to their
owners, and she still continues to be known as Mrs. Woodhull.

One night, about half a year after their marriage, she and her husband
were wakened at midnight in Cincinnati by the announcement that a man by
the name of Dr. Woodhull had been attacked with delirium tremens at the
Burnet House, and in a lucid moment had spoken of the woman from whom he
had been divorced, and begged to see her. Col. Blood immediately took a
carriage, drove to the hotel, brought the wretched victim home, and
jointly with Victoria took care of him with life-saving kindness for six
weeks. On his going away they gave him a few hundred dollars of their
joint property to make him comfortable in another city. He departed full
of gratitude, bearing with him the assurance that he would always be
welcome to come and go as a friend of the family. And from that day to
this, the poor man, dilapidated in body and emasculated in spirit, has
sometimes sojourned under Victoria's roof and sometimes elsewhere,
according to his whim or will. In the present ruins of the young gallant
of twenty years ago, there is more manhood (albeit an expiring spark
like a candle at its socket) than during any of the former years; and to
be now turned out of doors by the woman whom he wronged, but who would
not wrong him in return, would be an act of inhumanity which it would be
impossible for Mrs. Woodhull and Col. Blood either jointly or separately
to commit. For this piece of noble conduct—what is commonly called her
living with two husbands under one roof—she has received not so much
censure on earth as I think she will receive reward in heaven. No other
passage of her life more signally illustrates the nobility of her moral
judgments, or the supernal courage with which she stands by her
convictions. Not all the clamorous tongues in Christendom, though they
should simultaneously cry out against her "Fie, for shame!" could
persuade her to turn this wretched wreck from her home. And I say she is
right; and I will maintain this opinion against the combined Pecksniffs
of the whole world.

This act, and the malice of enemies, together with her bold opinions on
social questions, have combined to give her reputation a stain. But no
slander ever fell on any human soul with greater injustice. A more
unsullied woman does not walk the earth. She carries in her very face
the fair legend of a character kept pure by a sacred fire within. She is
one of those aspiring devotees who tread the earth merely as a
stepping-stone to Heaven, and whose chief ambition is finally to present
herself at the supreme tribunal "spotless, and without wrinkle, or
blemish, or any such thing." Knowing her as well as I do, I cannot hear
an accusation against her without recalling Tennyson's line of King

             "Is thy white blamelessness accounted blame?"

Fulfilling a previous prophecy, and following a celestial mandate, in
1869 she founded a bank and published a journal. These two events took
the town by storm. When the doors of her office in Broad street were
first thrown open to the public, several thousand visitors came in a
flock on the first day. The "lady brokers," as they were called (a
strange confession that brokers are not always gentlemen) were besieged
like lionesses in a cage. The daily press interviewed them; the weekly
wits satirized them; the comic sheets caricatured them; but like a
couple of fresh young dolphins, breasting the sea side by side, they
showed themselves native to the element, and cleft gracefully every
threatening wave that broke over their heads. The breakers could not
dash the brokers. Indomitable in their energy, the sisters won the good
graces of Commodore Vanderbilt—a fine old gentleman of comfortable
means, who of all the lower animals prefers the horse, and of all the
higher virtues admires pluck. Both with and without Commodore
Vanderbilt's help, Mrs. Woodhull has more than once shown the pluck that
has held the rein of the stock market as the Commodore holds his horse.
Her journal, as one sees it week by week, is generally a willow-basket
full of audacious manuscripts, apparently picked up at random and thrown
together pell-mell, stunning the reader with a medley of politics,
finance, free-love, and the pantarchy. This sheet, when the divinity
that shapes its ends shall begin to add to the rough-hewing a little
smooth-shaping; in other words, when its unedited chaos shall come to be
moulded by the spirits to that order which is Heaven's first law; this
not ordinary but "cardinary" journal, which is edited in one world, and
published in another, will become less a confusion to either, and more a
power for both.

In 1870, following the English plan of self-nomination, Mrs. Woodhull
announced herself as a candidate for the Presidency—mainly for the
purpose of drawing public attention to the claims of woman to political
equality with man. She accompanied this announcement with a series of
papers in the _Herald_ on politics and finance, which have since been
collected into a volume entitled "The Principles of Government." She has
lately received a more formal nomination to that high office by "The
Victoria League," an organization which, being somewhat Jacobinical in
its secrecy, is popularly supposed, though not definitely known, to be
presided over by Commodore Vanderbilt, who is also similarly imagined to
be the golden corner-stone of the business house of Woodhull, Claflin &
Co. Should she be elected to the high seat to which she aspires, (an
event concerning which I make no prophecy,) I am at least sure that she
would excel any Queen now on any throne in her native faculty to govern

One night in December, 1869, while she lay in deep sleep, her Greek
guardian came to her, and sitting transfigured by her couch, wrote on a
scroll (so that she could not only see the words, but immediately
dictated them to her watchful amanuensis) the memorable document now
known in history as "The Memorial of Victoria C. Woodhull"—a petition
addressed to Congress, claiming under the Fourteenth Amendment the right
of women as of other "citizens of the United States" to vote in "the
States wherein they reside"—asking, moreover, that the State of New
York, of which she was a citizen, should be restrained by Federal
authority from preventing her exercise of this constitutional right. As
up to this time neither she nor her husband had been greatly interested
in woman suffrage, he had no sooner written this manifesto from her
lips, than he awoke her from the trance, and protested against the
communication as nonsense, believing it to be a trick of some
evil-disposed spirits. In the morning the document was shown to a number
of friends, including one eminent judge, who ridiculed its logic and
conclusions. But the lady herself, from whose sleeping and yet
unsleeping brain the strange document had sprung like Minerva from the
head of Jove, simply answered that her antique instructor, having never
misled her before, was guiding her aright then. Nothing doubting, but
much wondering, she took the novel demand to Washington, where, after a
few days of laughter from the shallow-minded, and of neglect from the
indifferent, it suddenly burst upon the Federal Capitol like a storm,
and then spanned it like a rainbow. She went before the Judiciary
Committee, and delivered an argument in support of her claim to the
franchise under the new Amendments, which some who heard it pronounced
one of the ablest efforts which they had ever heard on any subject. She
caught the listening ears of Senator Carpenter, Gen. Butler, Judge
Woodward, George W. Julian, Gen. Ashley, Judge Loughridge, and other
able statesmen in Congress, and harnessed these gentlemen as steeds to
her chariot. Such was the force of her appeal that the whole city rushed
together to hear it, like the Athenians to the market-place when
Demosthenes stood in his own and not a borrowed clay. A great audience,
one of the finest ever gathered in the capital, assembled to hear her
defend her thesis in the first public speech of her life. At the moment
of rising, her face was observed to be very pale, and she appeared about
to faint. On being afterward questioned as to the cause of her emotion,
she replied that, during the first prolonged moment, she remembered an
early prediction of her guardian-spirit, until then forgotten, that she
would one day speak in public, and that her first discourse would be
pronounced in the capital of her country. The sudden fulfilment of this
prophecy smote her so violently that for a moment she was stunned into
apparent unconsciousness. But she recovered herself, and passed through
the ordeal with great success—which is better luck than happened to the
real Demosthenes, for Plutarch mentions that his maiden speech was a
failure, and that he was laughed at by the people.

Assisted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Paulina Wright Davis, Isabella
Beecher Hooker, Susan B. Anthony, and other staunch and able women whom
she swiftly persuaded into accepting this construction of the
Constitution, she succeeded, after her petition was denied by a majority
of the Judiciary Committee, in obtaining a minority report in its favor,
signed jointly by Gen. Benj. F. Butler of Massachusetts and Judge
Loughridge of Iowa. To have clutched this report from Gen. Butler—as it
were a scalp from the ablest head in the House of Representatives—was a
sufficient trophy to entitle the brave lady to an enrolment in the
political history of her country. She means to go to Washington again
next winter to knock at the half-opened doors of the Capitol until they
shall swing wide enough asunder to admit her enfranchised sex.

I must say something of her personal appearance although it defies
portrayal, whether by photograph or pen. Neither tall nor short, stout
nor slim, she is of medium stature, lithe and elastic, free and
graceful. Her side face, looked at over her left shoulder, is of perfect
aquiline outline, as classic as ever went into a Roman marble, and
resembles the masque of Shakespeare taken after death; the same view,
looking from the right, is a little broken and irregular; and the front
face is broad, with prominent cheek bones, and with some unshapely nasal
lines. Her countenance is never twice alike, so variable is its
expression and so dependent on her moods. Her soul comes into it and
goes out of it, giving her at one time the look of a superior and almost
saintly intelligence, and at another leaving her dull, commonplace, and
unprepossessing. When under a strong spiritual influence, a strange and
mystical light irradiates from her face, reminding the beholder of the
Hebrew Lawgiver who gave to men what he received from God and whose face
during the transfer shone. Tennyson, as with the hand of a gold-beater,
has beautifully gilded the same expression in his stanza of St. Stephen
the Martyr in the article of death:

                  "And looking upward, full of grace,
                  He prayed, and from a happy place,
                  God's glory smote him on the face."

In conversation, until she is somewhat warmed with earnestness, she
halts, as if her mind were elsewhere, but the moment she brings all her
faculties to her lips for the full utterance of her message, whether it
be of persuasion or indignation, and particularly when under spiritual
control, she is a very orator for eloquence—pouring forth her sentences
like a mountain stream, sweeping away everything that frets its flood.

Her hair which, when left to itself is as long as those tresses of
Hortense in which her son Louis Napoleon used to play hide-and-seek, she
now mercilessly cuts close like a boy's, from impatience at the daily
waste of time in suitably taking care of this prodigal gift of nature.

She can ride a horse like an Indian, and climb a tree like an athlete;
she can swim, row a boat, play billiards, and dance; moreover, as the
crown of her physical virtues, she can walk all day like an

"Difficulties," says Emerson, "exist to be surmounted." This might be
the motto of her life. In her lexicon (which is still of youth) there is
no such word as fail. Her ambition is stupendous—nothing is too great
for her grasp. Prescient of the grandeur of her destiny, she goes
forward with a resistless fanaticism to accomplish it. Believing
thoroughly in herself (or rather not in herself but in her spirit-aids)
she allows no one else to doubt either her or them. In her case the old
miracle is enacted anew—the faith which removes mountains. A soul set on
edge is a conquering weapon in the battle of life. Such, and of Damascus
temper, is hers.

In making an epitome of her views, I may say that in politics she is a
downright democrat, scorning to divide her fellow-citizens into upper
and lower classes, but ranking them all in one comprehensive equality of
right, privilege, and opportunity; concerning finance, which is a
favorite topic with her, she holds that gold is not the true standard of
money-value, but that the government should abolish the gold-standard,
and issue its notes instead, giving to these a fixed and permanent
value, and circulating them as the only money; on social questions, her
theories are similar to those which have long been taught by John Stuart
Mill and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and which are styled by some as
free-love doctrines, while others reject this appellation on account of
its popular association with the idea of a promiscuous intimacy between
the sexes—the essence of her system being that marriage is of the heart
and not of the law, that when love ends marriage should end with it,
being dissolved by nature, and that no civil statute should outwardly
bind two hearts which have been inwardly sundered; and finally, in
religion, she is a spiritualist of the most mystical and ethereal type.

In thus speaking of her views, I will add to them another fundamental
article of her creed, which an incident will best illustrate. Once a
sick woman who had been given up by the physicians, and who had received
from a Catholic priest extreme unction in expectation of death, was put
into the care of Mrs. Woodhull, who attempted to lure her back to life.
This zealous physician, unwilling to be baffled, stood over her patient
day and night, neither sleeping nor eating for ten days and nights, at
the end of which time she was gladdened not only at witnessing the sick
woman's recovery, but at finding that her own body, instead of weariness
or exhaustion from the double lack of sleep and food, was more fresh and
bright than at the beginning. Her face, during this discipline, grew
uncommonly fair and ethereal; her flesh wore a look of transparency; and
the ordinary earthiness of mortal nature began to disappear from her
physical frame and its place to be supplied with what she fancied were
the foretokens of a spiritual body. These phenomena were so vivid to her
own consciousness and to the observation of her friends, that she was
led to speculate profoundly on the transformation from our mortal to our
immortal state, deducing the idea that the time will come when the
living human body, instead of ending in death by disease, and
dissolution in the grave, will be gradually refined away until it is
entirely sloughed off, and the soul only, and not the flesh, remains. It
is in this way that she fulfils to her daring hope the prophecy that
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Engrossed in business affairs, nevertheless at any moment she would
rather die than live—such is her infinite estimate of the other world
over this. But she disdains all commonplace parleyings with the
spirit-realm such as are had in ordinary spirit-manifestations. On the
other hand, she is passionately eager to see the spirits face to face—to
summon them at her will and commune with them at her pleasure. Twice (as
she unshakenly believes) she has seen a vision of Jesus Christ—honored
thus doubly over St. Paul, who saw his Master but once, and then was
overcome by the sight. She never goes to any church—save to the solemn
temple whose starry arch spans her housetop at night, where she sits
like Simeon Stylites on his pillar, a worshipper in the sky. Against the
inculcations of her childish education, the spirits have taught her that
he whom the church calls the Saviour of the world is not God but man.
But her reverence for him is supreme and ecstatic. The Sermon on the
Mount fills her eyes with tears. The exulting exclamations of the
Psalmist are her familiar outbursts of devotion. For two years, as a
talisman against any temptation toward untruthfulness (which, with her,
is the unpardonable sin), she wore, stitched into the sleeve of every
one of her dresses, the 2d verse of the 120th Psalm, namely, "Deliver my
soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue." Speaking
the truth punctiliously, whether in great things or small, she so
rigorously exacts the same of others, that a deceit practised upon her
enkindles her soul to a flame of fire; and she has acquired a
clairvoyant or intuitive power to detect a lie in the moment of its
utterance, and to smite the liar in his act of guilt. She believes that
intellectual power has its fountains in spiritual inspiration. And once
when I put to her the searching question, "What is the greatest truth
that has ever been expressed in words?" she thrilled me with the sudden
answer, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

As showing that her early clairvoyant power still abides, I will mention
a fresh instance. An eminent judge in Pennsylvania, in whose court-house
I had once lectured, called lately to see me at the office of The Golden
Age. On my inquiring after his family, he told me that a strange event
had just happened in it. "Three months ago," said he, "while I was in
New York, Mrs. Woodhull said to me, with a rush of feeling, 'Judge, I
foresee that you will lose two of your children within six weeks.'" This
announcement, he said, wounded him as a tragic sort of trifling with
life and death. "But," I asked, "did anything follow the prophecy?"
"Yes," he replied, "fulfilment; I lost two children within six weeks."
The Judge, who is a Methodist, thinks that Victoria the clairvoyant is
like "Anna the prophetess."

Let me say that I know of no person against whom there are more
prejudices, nor any one who more quickly disarms them. This strange
faculty is the most powerful of her powers. She shoots a word like a
sudden sunbeam through the thickest mist of people's doubts and
accusations, and clears the sky in a moment. Questioned by some
committee or delegation who have come to her with idle tales against her
busy life, I have seen her swiftly gather together all the stones which
they have cast, put them like the miner's quartz into the furnace, melt
them with fierce and fervent heat, bring out of them the purest gold,
stamp thereon her image and superscription as if she were sovereign of
the realm, and then (as the marvel of it all) receive the sworn
allegiance of the whole company on the spot. At one of her public
meetings when the chair (as she hoped) would be occupied by Lucretia
Mott, this venerable woman had been persuaded to decline this
responsibility, but afterward stepped forward on the platform and
lovingly kissed the young speaker in presence of the multitude. Her
enemies (save those of her own household,) are strangers. To see her is
to respect her—to know her is to vindicate her. She has some impetuous
and headlong faults, but were she without the same traits which produce
these she would not possess the mad and magnificent energies which (if
she lives) will make her a heroine of history.

In conclusion, amid all the rush of her active life, she believes with
Wordsworth that

                  "The gods approve the depth and not
                      The tumult of the soul."

So, whether buffeted by criticism or defamed by slander, she carries
herself in that religious peace which, through all turbulence, is "a
measureless content." When apparently about to be struck down, she
gathers unseen strength and goes forward conquering and to conquer.
Known only as a rash iconoclast, and ranked even with the most uncouth
of those noise-makers who are waking a sleepy world before its time, she
beats her daily gong of business and reform with notes not musical but
strong, yet mellows the outward rudeness of the rhythm by the inward and
devout song of one of the sincerest, most reverent, and divinely-gifted
of human souls.

[Illustration: The Golden Age]

     _A Weekly Journal devoted to the Free Discussion of all Living
            Questions of Church, State, Society, Literature,
                        Art, and Moral Reform._

           Published every Wednesday at No. 9 Spruce Street,
                             New York City.

                            THEODORE TILTON,
                         EDITOR AND PUBLISHER.

         W. T. CLARKE,                       Associate Editor.
         O. W. RULAND,                    Associate Publisher.

                         TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.

Single copies, $3 per annum; four copies, $10, which is $2 50 a copy;
eight copies, $20. The party who sends $20 for a club of eight copies
(all sent at one time) will be entitled to a copy _free_. Postmasters
and others who get up clubs in their respective towns, can afterward add
single copies at $2 50.

                         THE GOLDEN AGE TRACTS.

No. 1. "THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN." A Letter to Horace Greeley by Theodore
Tilton. Price 5 cents; $3 per hundred.

Charles Sumner by Theodore Tilton. Price 5 cents; $3 per hundred.

No. 3. "VICTORIA C. WOODHULL." A Biographical Sketch. By Theodore
Tilton. 36 pages. Price 10 cents.

No. 4. "THE SIN OF SINS." A tractate on what are called "fallen women."
By Theodore Tilton. Price 5 cents; $3 per hundred.

The above pamphlets will be sent to any part of the United States
postage paid on receipt of the price.

After you read this notice, and before you forget it, sit down and write
a letter to Mr. Tilton, subscribing for the paper and ordering some of
the tracts.

 All letters should be addressed to                    THEODORE TILTON,
                                                  Post-office Box 2848,
                                                         New York City.

                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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