From Woman and the Republic by Helen Kendrick Johnson. This edition originally published in 1913.
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This version: Copyright © 2000 Jone Johnson Lewis. All Rights Reserved.
WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND PHILANTHROPY.
The extinction of human bondage, more perhaps than any other one event, has emphasized the progress of the century about to close. Our generation has witnessed the destruction of serfdom in Russia, and of slavery in Brazil and the United States. Freedom was gained; but of the enlightened rulers through whom it was won, two were assassinated and one was exiled to die. Sacrifice is still the price of liberty.
Much stress has been laid by Suffragists upon the supposed fact that the Woman-suffrage movement grew up as a logical conclusion from the Anti-slavery movement. It grew out of it in the sense of having been born in its midst; but I believe that the truth will be found to be that it was the most prolific source of the dissensions that marred that noble cause, and was identified with the small element that adopted wild notions or used the notoriety gained by opposition to slavery in order to propagate mischief. The conduct of those who later entered the Suffrage movement hindered the public work of women from the time of organized effort for the slave until slavery fell pierced to death amid the horrors of a fratricidal war. I will take a brief survey of the Anti-slavery struggle as it blended itself with the doctrines of those abolitionists who were the earliest and staunchest friends of the Suffrage movement, and compare it with the statements and claims of the women themselves.
I first refer to the "Life of James G. Birney," by his son, General William Birney. James G. Birney was an early friend of Henry B. Stanton, husband of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and with him helped to lay the foundations of the Free-Soil Party, and later the Republican Party. General Birney says of his father: "In his visit to New York and New England, in May and June, 1837, Mr. Birney's chief object had been to restore harmony among Anti-slavery leaders on doctrines and measures, and especially to check a tendency, already marked in Massachusetts, to burden the cause with irrelevant reforms, real or supposed. With this view he had attended the New England Anti-slavery Convention held at Boston, May 30 to June 2 inclusive, accepted the position of one of its vice-presidents, and acted as a member of its committee on business. Rev. Henry C. Wright, the leader of the No-Human-Government, Woman's-Rights, and Moral-Reform factions, was a member of the Convention, but received no appointment of any committee. On June 23, in the Liberator [his newspaper], Mr. Garrison denounced human governments. July 4, he spoke at Providence, as if approvingly, of the overthrow of the Nation, the dismemberment of the Union, and the dashing in pieces of the Church. July 15, an association of Congregational ministers issued a pastoral letter against the new doctrines. August 2, five clergymen, claiming to represent nine tenths of the abolitionists of Massachusetts, published on appeal which was directed more especially against the course of the Liberator. August 3, the abolitionist of Andover Theological Seminary issued a similar appeal. Among the complaints were some against speculations that lead inevitably to disorganization, anarchy, unsettling the domestic economy, removing the landmarks of society, and unhinging the machinery of government. A new Anti-slavery society in Bangor passed the following resolution: That, while we admit the right of full and free discussion of all subjects, yet, in our judgment, individuals rejecting the authority of civil and parental governments ought not to be employed as agents and lecturers in promoting the cause of emancipation."
In this Autobiography, speaking of this time, Frederick Douglass says: "I believe my first offence against our Anti-slavery Israel was committed during these Syracuse meetings. It was in this wise: Our general agent, John A. Collins, had recently returned from England full of communistic ideas, which ideas would do away with individual property and have all things in common. He had arranged a corps of speakers of his communistic persuasion, consisting of John O. Wattles, Nathaniel Whiting, and John Orvis, to follow our Anti-slavery conventions, and while our meeting was in progress in Syracuse Mr. Collins came in with his new friends and doctrines and proposed to adjourn our Anti-slavery discussions and take up the subject of communism. To this I ventured to object. I held that it was imposing an additional burden of unpopularity on our cause, and an act of bad faith with the people who paid the salary of Mr. Collins and were responsible for these hundred conventions. Strange to say, my course in this matter did not meet the approval of Mrs. Maria W. Chapman, a influential member of the board of managers of the Massachusetts Anti-slavery society, and called out a sharp reprimand from her, for insubordination to my superiors." John O. Wattles labored hard to introduce Woman Suffrage into the State Constitution of Kansas. Mr. Collins worked for it in California in the early days. Mrs. Chapman, who had embraced Mr. Collins's doctrines, was one of the first pillars of the Suffrage movement.
Later, when Mr. Douglass determined to establish a newspaper and become its editor, he was obliged to leave New England, "for the sake of peace," he says, as his Anti-slavery friends opposed it, saying that it was absurd to think of a wood-sawyer offering himself as an editor. In Rochester, N. Y., he established "The North Star." He says, "I was then a faithful disciple of William L. Garrison, and fully committed to his doctrine touching the pro-slavery character of the Constitution of the United States, also the non-voting principle, of which he was the known and distinguished advocate. With him, I held it to be the first duty of the non-slaveholding States to dissolve the union with the slaveholding States, and hence my cry, like his, was No union with slaveholders. After a time, a careful reconsideration of the subject convinced me that there was no necessity for dissolving the union between the northern and southern States; that to seek this dissolution was no part of my duty as an abolitionist; that to abstain from voting was to refuse to exercise a legitimate and powerful means for abolishing slavery; and that the Constitution of the United States not only contained no guarantees in favor of slavery, but, on the contrary, was in its letter and spirit an Anti-slavery instrument, demanding the abolition of slavery as a condition of its own existence as the supreme law of the land. This radical change in my opinions produced a corresponding change in my action. Those who could not see any honest reasons for changing their views, as I had done, could not easily see any such reasons for my change, and the common punishment of apostates was mine. ... Among friends who had been devoted to my cause were Isaac and Amy Post, William and Mary Hallowell, Asa and Hulda Anthony, and indeed all the committee of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society. They held festivals and fairs to raise money, and assisted me in every other possible way to keep my paper in circulation while I was a non-voting abolitionist, but withdrew from me when I became a voting abolitionist."
The Posts, the Hallowells, and the Anthonys were among the first to attach themselves to the Suffrage movement.
The Grimk sisters, who were intensely interested in the abolition agitation, followed Garrison to the extreme, and adopted the socialistic ideas with which his wing became to a large extent identified. They were also early in the Suffrage cause. In August, 1837, Whittier wrote to them as follows: "I am anxious to hold a long conversation with you on the subject of war, human government, and church and family government. The more I reflect upon the subject the more difficulty I find, and the more decidedly am I of opinion that we ought to hold all these matters aloof from the cause of abolition. Our good friend, H. C. Wright, with the best intentions in the world, is doing great injury by a different course. He is making the Anti-slavery party responsible in a great degree for his, to say the least, startling opinions. ... But let him keep them distinct from the cause of emancipation. To employ an agent who devotes half his time and talents to the propagation of no-human or no-family government doctrines in connection, intimate connection, with the doctrines of abolition, is a fraud upon the patrons of the cause. Brother Garrison errs, I think, in this respect. He takes the no-church and no-government ground."
Mr. Garrison wrote to the American Anti-slavery Society of his desire to crush the "dissenters," and Maria W. Chapman wrote: "Why will they think they can cut away from Garrison without becoming an abomination? ... If this defection should drink the cup and end all, we of Massachusetts will turn and abolish them as readily as we would the colonization society." Henry B. Stanton wrote to William Goodell: "I am glad to see that you have criticised Brother H. C. Wright. I have just returned from a few months tour in eastern Massachusetts, and he has done immense hurt there." A.A. Phelps, agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery society, wrote: "I write you this in great grief, and yet I feel constrained to do it. The cause of abolition here was never in so dangerous and critical a position before. Mutual jealousies on the part of the laity and clergy are rampant; indeed, so much so that, let a clerical brother do what he will, it is resolved as a matter of course into a sinister motive! ... Of this stamp, more than ever before, is friend Garrison. And Mrs. Chapman remarked to me the other day that she sometimes doubted which needed abolition most, slavery or the black hearted ministry. For this cause alone we are on the brink of a general split in our ranks. ... And as if to make a bad matter worse, Garrison insists on yoking perfectionism, no-governmentism, and woman-preaching with abolition, as part and parcel of the same lump."
In 1840, Emerson, in his Amory Hall lecture, said: "The Church or religious party is falling from the Church nominal, and is appearing in Temperance and non-resistant societies, in movements of abolitionists and socialists, and in very significant assemblies called Sabbath and Bible conventions, compose of ultraists, of seekers, of all the soul and soldiery of dissent, and meeting to call in question the authority of the Sabbath, of the priesthood, of the Church. In these movements nothing was more remarkable than the discontent they begot in the movers. ... They defied each other like a congress of kings, each of whom had a realm to rule, and a way of his own that made concert unprofitable.
These ideas blossomed, in due course of time, into Socialistic communities. There was a distinctly Anti-slavery one at Hopedale, Massachusetts. The founder, Adin Ballou, published a tract setting forth the objects of the community, from which I make the following extracts: "No precise theological dogmas, ordinances, or ceremonies are prescribed or prohibited. In such matters all the members are free, with mutual love and toleration, to follow their own highest convictions of truth and religious duty, answerable only to the great Head of the Church Universal. It enjoins total abstinence from all God-contemning words and deeds; all unchastity; all intoxicating beverages; all oath-taking; all slave-holding and pro-slavery compromises; all war and preparations for war; all capital and other vindictive punishments; all insurrectionary, seditious, mobocratic, and personal violence against any government, society, family, or individual; all voluntary participation in any anti-Christian government, under promise of unqualified support, whether by doing military service, commencing actions at law, holding office, voting, petitioning for penal laws, or asking public interference for protection which can only be given by such force. It is the seedling of the true democratic and social Republic, wherein neither caste, color, sex, nor age stands prescribed. It is a moral-suasion temperance society on the teetotal basis. It is a moral-power Anti-slavery society, radical and without compromise. It is a peace society on the only impregnable foundation, that of Christian non-resistance. It is a sound theoretical and practical Woman's Rights Association." Among other Suffragists, Abby Kelly Foster was resident at Hopedale. Another community, at Northampton, was sometimes described as "Nothingarian."
Of the state of things at this time in the Anti-slavery societies, General Birney says, "The no-government men made up in activity what they lacked in numbers. While refusing for themselves to vote at the ballot-box, they voted in conventions and formed coalitions with women who wished to vote at the ballot-box." Mr. Henry B. Stanton wrote to William Goodell: "An effort was made at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts society, which adjourned today, to make its annual report and its action subservient to the non-resistant movement, and through the votes of the women of Lynn and Boston it succeeded." A little later, January, 1839, Mr. Stanton wrote again to Mr. Goodell, as follows: "I have taken the liberty to show your letter to brothers Phelps, George Allen, George Russell, O. Scott, N. Colver, and a large number of others, and they highly approve its sentiments. They, with you, are fully of the opinion that it is high time to take a firm stand against the no-government doctrine. They are far from regarding it merely as a humbug." John A. Collins, the Anti-slavery agent referred to, founded a community at Skaneateles, N. Y., based upon the following dictums: A disbelief in any special revelation of God to Man, in any form of worship, in any special regard for the Sabbath, in any church, disbelief in all governments based on physical force, because they are "organized bands of banditti,"whose authority is to be disregarded, a disbelief in voting, in petitioning, in doing military duty, paying personal or property taxes, serving on juries, testifying in "so-called" courts of justice. A disbelief in any individual property. A belief that as marriage is designed for the happiness of the parties to it, when such parties have outlived their affections, the sooner the separation takes place the better, and that such separation] shall not be a barrier to their again uniting with any one. The community live two and a half years, and broke up with a debt of ten thousand dollars. John O. Wattles, who was associated with Collins in the disturbance referred to by Frederick Douglass, founded a community in Logan County, Ohio, which was called "The Prairie Home." They had no laws, no government, no opinions, no principles, no form of society, no test of admission. They professed to take for their creed the dictum "Do as you would be done by." The association broke up in anarchy within a few months. Mr. Collins and Mr. Wattles were always promoters of the Woman-Suffrage movement.
Mr. Garrison said: "We cannot acknowledge allegiance to any human government. We can allow no appeal to patriotism to revenge any national insult or injury." Again he said: "If a nation has no right to defend itself against foreign enemies, no individual possesses that right in his own case. ... As every human government is upheld by physical strength, and its laws are enforced at the point of the bayonet, we cannot hold office. We therefore exclude ourselves from every legislative and judicial body, and repudiate all human politics, worldly honors, and stations of authority."
Ralph Waldo Emerson says: "They withdraw themselves from the common labors and competitions of the market and the caucus.... They are striking work, and calling out for something worthy to do. ... They are not good citizens, not good members of society; unwilling to bear their part of the public burdens. They do not even like to vote. They filled the world with long beards and long words. They began in words, and ended in words."
Charles Summer said: "An omnibus-load of Boston abolitionists has done more harm to the Anti-slavery cause than all its enemies."
Angelina Grimk, writing at this time to Mr. Weld, said: "What wouldst thou think of the Liberator abandoning abolitionism as a primary object, and becoming the vehicle of all these grand principles?"
In his published volume "anti-slavery Days," James Freeman Clarke says of the first Garrison Anti-slavery society: "There was no such excitement to be had anywhere else as at these meetings. There was a little of everything going on in them. Sometimes crazy people would come in and insist on taking up the time; sometimes mobs would interrupt the smooth tenor of their way; but amid all disturbance each meeting gave us an interesting and impressive hour. I think that some of the Garrisonian orators had the keenest tongues ever given to man. Stephen S. Foster and Henry C. Wright, for example, said the sharpest things that were ever uttered. Their belief was, that people were asleep, and the only thing to be done was to arouse them; and to do this it was necessary to cut deep and spare not. The more angry people were made, the better." Again, in the same volume, he says, after describing the political] Anti-slavery party: "While these political anti-slavery movements were going on, the old abolitionists, under the lead of Garrison, Phillips, and others, had decided to oppose all voting and all political efforts under the Constitution. They adopted as their motto, No union with slaveholders. Their hope for abolishing slavery was in inducing the North to dissolve the Union. Edmund Quincy said the Union was a confederacy with crime, that the experiment of a great nation with popular institutions had signally failed, that the Republic was not a model but a warming to the nations; that the whole people must be either slaveholders or slaves; that the only escape for the slave from his bondage was over the ruins of the American Church and the American State: and it was the unalterable purpose of the Garrisonians to labor for the dissolution of the Union." Freeman Clarke goes on to say: "Wendell Phillips said on one occasion, Thank God, I am not a citizen of the United States. As late as 1861 he declared the Union a failure, and argued for the dissolution of the Union as the best possible method of abolishing slavery. If the North had agreed to disunion and had followed the advice of Phillips, To build a bridge of gold to take the slave States out of the Union, slavery would probably be still existing in all the Southern States. At all events, it was not abolished by those who wished for disunion, but by those who were determined at all hazards and by every sacrifice to maintain the Union."
On April 8, 1839, Henry B. Stanton wrote to William Goodell as follows: "At this very time, and mainly, too, in that part of the country where political action has been most successful, and whence, from its promise of soon being triumphant, great encouragement was derived by abolitionists everywhere, a sect has arisen in our midst whose members regard it as of religious obligation in no case to exercise the elective franchise. This persuasion is part and parcel of the tenet which it is believed they have embraced, that as Christians have the precepts of the gospel of Christ, and the spirit of God to guide them, all human governments, as necessarily including the idea of force to secure obedience, are not only superfluous, but unlawful encroachments on the Divine government as ascertained from the sources above mentioned. Therefore they refuse to do anything voluntarily that would be considered as acknowledging the lawful existence of human governments. Denying to civil governments the right to use force, they easily deduce that family governments have no such right. They carry out the non-resistant theory. To the first ruffian who would demand our purse or oust us from our house, they are to be unconditionally surrendered unless moral suasion be found sufficient to induce him to desist from his purpose. Our wives, our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, we are to see set upon by the most brutal, without any effort on our part except argument to defend them! And even they themselves are forbidden to use in defence of their purity such powers as God has endowed them with for its protection, if resistance should be attended with injury or destruction to the assailant. In short, the non-government doctrines, as they are believed now to be embraces, seem to strike at the root of the social structure, and tend, so far as I am able to judge of their tendency, to throw society into entire confusion and to renew, under the sanction of religion, scenes of anarchy and license that have generally hitherto been to off-spring of the rankest infidelity and irreligion."
Again, he wrote: "The non-government doctrine, stripped of its disguise, is worse than Fanny-Wrightism, and, under a Gospel grab, it is Fanny-Wrightism with a white frock on. It goes to the utter overthrow of all order, yea, of all purity. When carried out, it goes not only for a community of goods, but a community of wives. Strange that such as infidel theory should find votaries in New England!"
The editors of the "History of Woman Suffrage" say in their opening chapter: "Among the immediate causes that led to the demand for the equal political rights of women, in this country, we may note these: First, the discussion in several of the State legislatures of the property rights of married women; Second the great educational work that 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 France Wright had made on the minds of unprejudiced hearers. Third, and above all other causes of the Woman-Suffrage movement, was the Anti-slavery struggle in this country." By referring to the columns of the secular and religious press of that period, we find that most of the respectable and representative opinion of the country was "prejudiced." Halls and assembly rooms in all the cities were closed against Fanny Wright, not only because her doctrines were absolutely infidel and materialistic, but because they were deemed subversive of law, order, and decency. The better portion of society in the United States was of one mind in its estimate of "The Pioneer Woman in the Cause of Woman's Rights," as she was called. In the columns of "The Free Inquirer," a newspaper which she and Robert Dale Owen established and edited in New York City in 1829, she attacked religion in every form, marriage, the family, and the State. She pretended to no basis of scientific investigation, but in a brilliant flood of words endeavored to sweep away faith in the Bible, the home, the Republic, in favor of negation, communism, free love. I have place for but a single quotation from one of her "Fables," published in the "Free Inquirer." It will show the drift of her work in one direction:
"Is my errand sped, and am I a master on earth? said the infernal king (Pluto). Even as I promised, said the Fury. Love hath forsaken the earth. Under the form of religion I aroused the fears and commanded the submission of mortals; and our imp now reigns on earth in the place of Love, under the form of Hymen. Pluto smiled grimly, and smote his thigh in triumph. Well conceited, well executed, daughter of Night. Our empire shall not lack recruits, now that innocence is exchanged for superstition, and the true affection of congenial and confiding hearts is replaced by mock ceremonies and compulsory oaths!"
Frances Wright had founded, in 1825, at Nashoba, Tennessee, a community that had for its professed aim the elevation and education of the Southern negroes. In describing her object, Miss Wright said: "No difference will be made in the schools between the white children and the children of color, whether in education or in any other advantage. This establishment is founded on the principle of community of property and labor: these fellow-creatures, that is, the blacks, admitted here, requiting these services by services equal or greater, by filling occupations which their habits render easy, and which to their guides and assistants mights be difficult or unpleasing." This form of helotism flourished but three years on American soil. It is doubly interesting as containing the germs of communism and anti-slavery that blended themselves in the beginnings of a movement for suffrage which was directly inspired by Frances Wright.
The editors of the "Suffrage History" say that "above all other causes of the suffrage movement, was the Anti-slavery struggle in this country." They add: "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. And before the public were aroused to the dangerous innovation, 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 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. The question of woman's right to speak, vote, and serve on committee, 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. 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 the American Abolitionists by the ears, and split their ranks asunder, were on their way to England."
These quarrels, stirred up through the unseemly conduct of men and women, as we have seen, they were willing to precipitate upon a convention in a foreign land, a convention, too, which had declared its desire not to receive them as delegates. Upon the calling of the roll, the meeting was thrown into excitement and confusion on a subject foreign to that which brought them together. Wendell Phillips eloquently pleaded for the admission of the women. The English officers, while showing their personal courtesy, begged to remind them that the Queen, and many ladies in various stations, were represented by male delegates, and that to admit the American ladies would be to cast a slight upon their own active members, many of whom were present. During the heated discussion Mr. James Fuller said: "One friend has stated that this question should have been settled on the other side of the Atlantic. Why, it was so settled, and in favor of the women." Mr. James G. Birney answered: "The right of the women to sit and act in all respects as men in our Anti-slavery associations was so decided in the Society in May, 1839, but not by a large majority, which majority was swelled by the votes of the women themselves. I have just received a letter from a gentleman in New York (Lewis 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 12th of last month, had caused such disagreement that he, and others who viewed the subject as he did, were deliberating the question of seceding from the old organization."
Lewis Tappan, a founder of the American Missionary Society, was intimately connected with his brother Arthur in all anti-slavery work. Arthur was a founder of the American Tract Society, and of Oberlin College, and a benefactor of Lane Seminary. He established "The Emancipator," and was president of the American Anti-Slavery Society until compelled, with his brother Lewis, to withdraw on account of the conduct of the no-government men and women, and take nearly all the Society with him.
When the vote was taken in the London meeting the women were excluded on the ground that "it being contrary to English usage, it would subject them to ridicule and prejudice their cause."
George Thompson then said: "I hope, as this 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 on our part. All we asked was an expression of opinion; we shall now act with the utmost cordiality."
But Mr. Phillips had reckoned without his host and hostesses. Mr. Garrison had not been present at the discussion, but he arrived at this juncture and took his seat with the excluded delegates. During a twelve-days discussion of the momentous cause that had called them together, which he had professed especially to champion, he took not the slightest part. Such was his mistaken zeal that he was willing so to stultify himself, and the women were willing to applaud him in so doing. The spirit that looked upon the American Constitution as "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell" was there. The spirit that defied all authority and could confound liberty of conscience with the formal acts of courtesy between man and man, was there. The spirit that took for its motto "You cannot shut up discord" was there. And out of these combined elements, trained in the school of thought that had treated as tyranny the religious and civil liberty of the United States, grew directly the Woman-Suffrage movement. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was not a delegate. The delegates were Abby Kelly, Esther Moore, and Lucretia Mott. Mrs. Stanton was a bride, and in the immediate party on this, their wedding trip, was Mr. Birney, her husband's special friend. The writers of the "History" say: "As the ladies were not allowed to speak in the Convention, they kept up a brisk fire, morning, noon, and night, on the unfortunate gentlemen who were domiciled at the same house." Mrs. Stanton had not been identified with any of these abolition quarrels; but she records that now she took her full share of the "firing," notwithstanding her husband's "gentle nudges under the table" and Mr. Birney's ominous frowns across it. In the volume entitled "Woman's Work in America," in a contribution called "Woman in the State," written by Mrs. Mary A. Livermore, she says: "The leaders in the new [suffrage] movement, Lucretia Mott and Mrs. Stanton, with their husbands," did thus and so in originating it. Lucretia Mott's husband was with her as a silent member of the conventions, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton's husband is conspicuous for his absence from every list of officers or attendants, from the inception of the Suffrage movement until his death. He may have been in perfect sympathy with his wife; but since the names of all the men already mentioned in connection with the mad "no-civil, no-family, no-personal government" movement, do appear, and his does not, it is impossible not to challenge Mrs. Livermore's statement. The last reference to him in the "History" was as voting on the occasion of the London meeting, in favor of the women's admission to the World's Convention. No mention is made of any speech, or of reasons given. Certain it is, that while Mr. Garrison became the conspicuous standard-bearer for the Woman's Rights movement, Mr. Stanton became one of the conspicuous bearers of the standard of the Free Soil and Republican parties, which included some of Anti-slavery's staunchest friends, who were denounced by Garrison as its foes.
Thus it seems evident to me that the Woman-Suffrage movement no more grew logically out of the great discussions on human bondage which began with Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, and John Jay, and ended with Summer, Seward, and Lincoln, than the communes of this country grew out of the utterances of the Fathers based on the declaration that "All men are created equal, and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
It was among those whose mistaken zeal and wild conduct were most mischievous, that the Suffrage sentiment gathered head. Their lack of judgment in defying the opinions of their own sex, as well as of the other, their wrapt forgetfulness of proprieties, which incited mobs and proved a fine tool for the frenzy of so-called social reformers, brought contempt upon womanhood as well as upon the cause they advocated. Women, in the churches and out, were the strength of the Anti-slavery movement; but not these women. As to the notable meeting in London, had the delegates been the highest and largest minded and most cultured of their sex, and had their cause been the noblest, they and it would have been dishonored by the method of its presentation. American women of to-day would no more applaud such conduct than did those of fifty years ago. Women have won lasting public favor and place, while Suffrage has won an uneasy footing by unenviable methods.
This survey enables us to understand what otherwise would seem most strange, how the women of the Suffrage movement, in claiming the right of suffrage, ignored the duties and powers based upon and connected with it-those that formed the defence which made possible any such nation as ours. Added to the extreme Quaker doctrine of peace-at-any-price, was the fanatical notion of the sinfulness of all war, all use of physical force, and a cool assumption that opinion was law. Mrs. Maria Chapman read, at one of the early Woman's-Rights conventions, a string of verses that reveals the absurdity of the situation. It was in reply to "A Clerical Appeal," issued by the Rev. Nehemiah Adams, whose "South-Side View of Slavery" received more Anti-slavery attention than it deserved, for it expressed only his own fantastic ideas. In the "Appeal" he maintains that women should paint in water colors only, not in oil. Mrs. Chapman says:
"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 presence of womanhood 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."
Mention of Mrs. Chapman recalls her attitude toward Frederick Douglas and the further fact that he became an advocate of Suffrage. In his "Life and Times" he says: "I could not meet her [Mrs. Stanton's] arguments except with the shallow plea of custom, natural division of duties, indelicacy of woman's taking part in politics, the common talk of woman's sphere, and the like, all of which that able woman brushed away by those arguments which no man has yet successfully refuted." Mr. Douglass might have called to mind the fact, to the recognition of which he had been so thoroughly converted, and which he set forth on page 460 of his book, when he wrote: "I insisted that the liberties of the American people were dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box." He forgot that Mrs. Stanton, in defiance of those social laws that had weight with him, was asking to use the first, to use partially the second, and to ignore the third, on which both of the others depend for continuance.
The "History" is dedicated to Harriet Martineau (among other women) as one who influenced the starting of the Suffrage movement. Turning to Miss Martineau's "Society in America," published in 1837, I find the following in her account of the Anti-slavery movement in the United States: "The progress of the Abolition question within three years throughout the whole of the rural districts of the North, is a far stronger testimony to the virtue of the nation than the noisy clamor of a portion of the slaveholders of the South, and the merchant aristocracy of the North, and the silence of the clergy, against it. The nation must not be judged of by that portion whose worldly interests are involved in the maintenance of the anomaly; nor yet by the eight hundred flourishing Abolition societies of the North, with all the supporters they have in unassociated individuals. If it be found that the five Abolitionists who first met in a little chamber five years ago, no measure their moral strength against this national enormity, have become a host beneath whose assaults the vicious institution is rocking to its foundations, it is time that slavery was ceasing to be a national reproach."
An observer who could be made to believe that these five Abolitionists had really accomplished more toward the overthrow of slavery than eight hundred flourishing Abolition societies and their outside supporters, and that the great body of clergymen were silent, because they did not adopt the methods of the five who set themselves against church and state, shows a credulity that leads one to question the information and conclusions on which her judgment of the relation of American women to the Republic were based.
As a proof that when women entered into public work in a womanly way they found support from the church and the Abolitionists, we may point to perhaps the first organized charitable and industrial work done among women in this country. In 1834 Mrs. Charles Hawkins, of New York City, had convened in the Third Free Church, corner of Houston and Thompson streets, a meeting which resulted in the immediate formation of "The Moral Reform Society." Clergymen who were in sympathy with the movement addressed the meeting. "The Female Guardian Society" was founded by them a year later, and a newspaper was established to present its claims. The officers were women. They visited the Tombs, and held weekly prayer-meetings. They secured the legislation necessary to bring about the separation of men and women in the city prisons, and the appointment of matrons for the women. In 1853 they procured an enactment "whereby dissipated and vicious parents, by habitually neglecting due care and provision for their offspring, shall forfeit their natural claim to them, and whereby such children shall be removed from them and placed under better influences till the claim of the parents shall be re-established by continued sobriety, industry, and general good conduct." They secured the passage of the Truant Act, and the appointment of Truant Officers. Mr. Lewis Tappan was not only the auditor for the organization, but gave effective help by suggestions that led to the establishment of the first Home for the Friendless, of which there are now seven in charge of the society. In 1845, Industrial schools were added. Cooking, housekeeping, kindergarten, and fresh-air work developed rapidly. There are now twelve industrial schools, where six thousand children are taught. The report of the first semi-annual meeting, held in Utica, N. Y., is in quaint contrast to the reports of the first Suffrage meetings. They say: "The utmost harmony and union of feeling have characterized all the proceedings, and as we looked around and saw the intelligence and piety and moral worth that was assembled there, and listened to the discussion of subjects of practical importance, while every one was manifestly seeking to know and do her duty, we could not but feel that the most determined opposer of women's meetings would have found nothing to censure had he been present. There has been no frivolity, no fanaticism, no disorder. We are sure that not a wife or mother was there who was not at least as well disposed and prepared to discharge her relative duties as she would have been if she had kept at home."
Upon the great cause of Temperance, also, the Woman-Suffrage movement early laid a blighting hand. As will be remembered, total abstinence was one of the doctrines to which many of the no-government, common-property, men and women were pledged. Western and Central New York has been the birthplace of some of the wildest and most destructive movements that our social life has witnessed. If the year 1848, which saw the beginnings of the Woman-Suffrage movement, was wonderful for revolutions and insurrections the world over, the years that preceded it were remarkable, especially in this country and this State, for some of the maddest vagaries that ever have been known here. There and then arose the Shaker excitement, so fantastic that only now and then was the outside world permitted to know what was being done. Then and there Fourierism found its most fruitful field, and of the dozen or more communities that were started, several united in forming, near Rochester, an Industrial Union. John Collins started a number of vague branches of what the Fourierites called the "no-God, no-government, no-marriage, no-money, no-meat, no-salt, no-pepper" system of community. Here John H. Noyes, under the guise of a new heaven on an old earth, established his foul community at Oneida. There and then the Millerite madness sent whole congregations into the cemeteries, in white gowns, to await the sounding of the trump of Gabriel. There and then arose the great spiritualistic movement that began in Wayne County with the Fox family, became famous as the Rochester Knockings, and blossomed into communities in which "Free Love" grew out of "Individual Sovereignty." Then and there, in Wayne County, Joseph Smith pretended that the Angel Maroni had shown him, the Book of Mormon. Many of these movements were in sympathy with Woman Suffrage, and workers in them early found their way into its ranks.
In the midst of the Anti-slavery excitement, secret temperance organizations were formed among the women in New York State, known as the "Daughters of Temperance." "Finding," as they said, "that there was no law nor gospel in the land," they became a law unto themselves, and visited saloons, where they broke windows, glasses, and bottles, and threw kegs and barrels of liquor into the streets. A few were arrested, but they were soon discharged. As time went on, these secret organizations began to form themselves into regular bodies, and in January, 1852, they assembled their delegates at Albany to claim admission to the State Temperance organization, with no invitation or authority but their own. Susan B. Anthony was the first speaker, and when the convention decided not to hear her, it was announced that they would withdraw and hold a meeting where "men and women would be equal," which they accordingly did. The movement continued, until, three months later, Miss Anthony called "The New York State Temperance Convention," of which Mrs. Stanton was elected President. Among the resolutions that she introduced in her opening speech, were these: that "no woman remain in the relation of wife to a confirmed drunkard;" that the State should be petitioned so to "modify its laws affecting marriage and the custody of children, that the drunkard shall have no claims on either wife or child;" that "no liquor should be used for culinary purposes;" and that "as charity begins at home, let us withdraw from all associations for sending the gospel to the heathen across the ocean, for the education of young men for the ministry, for the building up of a theological aristocracy and gorgeous temples to the unknown God, and devote ourselves to the poor and suffering about us. Let us feed and clothe the naked and hungry, gather children into schools, and provide reading-rooms and decent homes for young men and women thrown alone upon the world." The organization of "The Woman's New York State Temperance Society" was formed, and Mrs. Stanton was elected its President. She issued and appeal to the women of the State, and sent a letter to the Convention at Albany which "was so radical, that its friends feared to read it," but Susan B. Anthony finally did so. They elected as delegates to the "Men's New York State Temperance Convention," to be held in Syracuse in June, Susan B. Anthony, Mrs Amelia Bloomer, and Gerrit Smith. When they arrived they were met by the Rev. Samuel J. May, who told them that the men were shocked at the idea of admitting them, and said that he was commissioned to beg them to withdraw. They decided to present their credentials, and of course the stormy scene which they had invited followed their action. This scene was repeated in every part of the State, the agitators figuring upon their own platforms as martyrs to the noble causes of Anti-slavery, Temperance, and Woman's Rights. A single quotation from a letter of Miss Anthony's written at this time to the league, shows that then, as now, the radical woman workers for Prohibition were nothing if not political. She says: "And it is for woman now, in the present presidential campaign, to say to her father, husband, or brother, If you vote for any candidate for any office whatever, who is not pledged to total abstinence and the Maine law, we shall hold you like guilty with the rum-seller."
In January, 1853, a great mass-meeting was held in albany of all the State temperance organizations. The Woman's society met in a Baptist church, which was crowded at every session. Miss Anthony presided. Twenty-eight thousand women had signed petitions for prohibitory legislation. The rules of the House were suspended, and the women were invited to present them at the speaker's desk. They were then invited to New York, and, in Metropolitan Hall, addressed a large audience, as well as in the Broadway Tabernacle and Knickerbocker Hall, Brooklyn. In the next two months they made successful tours of many cities of the State. But, like Mr. Garrison, and Stephen Foster, and H. C. Wright, the women thought that it they were not attacking and being attacked there could be no "progress" or "reform." They demanded divorce for drunkenness, they denounced wine at private tables, and called on the women to leave all church organizations where "clergymen and bishops, liquor-dealers, and wine-bibbers, were dignified and honored as deacons and elder's." They denounced the church for its "apathy," and the clergy for their "hostility to the public action of women," and they soon began to turn the kindly feeling that was endeavoring to work with them into enmity, and were of course denounced in their turn.
The Society decided to invite men into their organization, but not to allow them to hold office or to vote. The they for a year, after which men were admitted to full membership. The first annual meeting of the Woman's State Temperance Society was held in Rochester, June 1, 1853, Mrs. Stanton presiding, and the attendance was larger than they had had at any time. In the course of the meetings a heated debate on the subject of divorce took place. Mrs. Stanton and Lucy Stone took the ground that it was "not only woman's right, but her duty, to withdraw from all such unholy relations," and Mrs. Nichols and Antoinette Brown opposed them.
The men were admitted to this convention, and, to use the words of the women, "it was the policy of these worldly-wise men to restrict the debate on Temperance to such narrow limits as to disturb none of the existing conditions of society." This farce in reform soon came to an end, and the following is the epitaph pronounced over it by its founders: "the society, with its guns silenced on the popular foes, lingered a year or two, and was heard of no more." On May 12, the friends of Temperance met in Dr. Spring's Old Brick Church, New York City. A motion was made that all gentlemen present be admitted as delegates. Dr. Trall, of New York, moved an amendment, that the words "and ladies" be added, as there were delegates present from the "Woman's State Temperance Society." The motion was carried, and the credentials were received. A motion was then made that Susan B. Anthony be added to the business committee, and all was in an uproar at once. "Mayor Barstow twice asked that another chairman be appointed, as he would not preside over a meeting where woman's rights was introduced, or women were allowed to speak ." Some of the gentlemen present said that "the ladies were there expressly to disturb." The ministers present, like the laymen, were divided in opinion in regard to the admission of the delegates; but the credentials were withdrawn, and in due time the bearers of them withdrew also. The writers of the "History" say: "Most of the liberal men and women nor withdrew from all temperance organizations, leaving the movement in the hands of time-serving priests and politicians, who, being in the majority, effectually blocked the progress of the reform for the time-destroying, as they did, the enthusiasm of the women in trying to press it as a political measure." Comparing this work with their Anti-slavery campaign, they say: "When Garrison's forces had been thoroughly sifted, and only the picked men and women remained, he soon made political parties and church organizations feel the power of his burning words." It was the men and women from whom he and his were sifted who spoke the burning words that ended in burning deeds for the extinction of slavery; and thus it was with Temperance. There remained after the "sifting" many societies, of one of which William E. Dodge and President Mark Hopkins were chief officer, and John B. Gough was principal orator.
The writers of the "History" further say, in regard to the death of their organization: "Henceforward women took no active part in temperance until the Ohio Crusade revived them all over the nation, and gathered the scattered forces into the Woman's National Christian Temperance Union, of which Frances E. Willard is President." This is a mistake, for women were very active in connection with Temperance societies of which men were officers,and in organizations of their own, before and after the W.C. T. U. was founded. The history of that great body furnishes another proof of the injurious effect of the Suffrage movement upon the cause of Temperance. In 1872 a political Temperance party was formed in Columbus, Ohio, which, four years later, at Cleveland, became the Prohibition Party. From the first, this party inserted a plank in its platform favoring universal suffrage, and mentioning especially the extension of suffrage to women. The W.C.T.U. was founded as a non-denominational and non-partisan body, and was divided and sub-divided into committees, each having charge of a district branch of philanthropic work, which was by no means confined solely to Temperance measures. This has given the body great working strength, and its efforts are well known. Everything except its Suffrage labor has had rich reward. I was present at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City (in 1886, I think), and witnessed with amazement th high-handed fashion in which an organization whose constitution forbade political coalition was handed over to the Prohibition Party, pledged to give aid and comfort. The division and bitter feeling that resulted were a serious injury to the cause of Temperance. In her contribution to the volume entitled "Woman's Work in American," Miss Willard says: "After ten years experience, the women of this Crusade became convinced that until the people of this country divide at the ballot-box, on the foregoing [Temperance] issue, America can never be nationally delivered from the dram-shop. They therefore publicly announced their devotion to the Prohibition Party, and promised to lend it their influence, which, with the exception of a very small minority, they have since most sedulously done." Writing in "The Outlook" for June 27, 1896, Lady Henry Somerset says, in closing a sketch of Frances Willard: "The Temperance cause, in spite of the gigantic strides it has made of late years toward success, is still relegated to the shadowy land of unpopular and supposedly impracticable and visionary reform."
The Temperance cause is not relegated to a shadowy land, but has just taken, in many places, notably in New York State, another gigantic stride toward success. Prohibition has proved less faithful to the women than Miss Willard said the women had proved to it; for, in the struggle to survive the attack upon its life made by Populism in 1896, it refused to re-insert the Woman-Suffrage plank in its platform. Mrs. Helen Gougar bolted with the Populists. Mrs. Boole, of New York, in behalf of the W. C. T. U., moved the re-insertion in the platform of the Woman-Suffrage plank, which had been stricken out when it was decided to make prohibition the only issue. Amidst great confusion, Mrs. Boole was obliged to withdraw her motion, and when she changed her claim from that for a plank in the platform to one for a resolution which declared the convention to be in favor of Woman Suffrage, it was accepted by the Committee on Resolutions, and adopted with only a few dissenting votes. In view of the fact that the party has had a Suffrage plank since 1872, when it began to be, this does seem like a turning of the back rather than of the cold shoulder. When to its motto "No sectarianism in religion, no sectionalism in politics," the W. C. T. U. added "No sex in citizenship," it fastened itself to a principle that has not progressed. Its Temperance work "for God and home and native land" has gone on; but the political alliance and effort have alike proved futile. A striking proof of this fact is seen in the reports of the non-political sections of the W. C. T. U. itself. Police-matrons have been placed through their petitions, and educational and philanthropic work that is directly in the line of doing away with the liquor evil, and is worthy of high praise, has been accomplished. Miss Willard, in her article already alluded to, reports that "under the leadership of Mrs. Mary H. Hunt, the W. C. T. U. has secured laws requiring scientific temperance instruction in thirty States." The number is now forty-two, and I cannot help believing that Mrs. Hunt must feel more hopeful of the favorable results to temperance of well-directed effort to influence those who have the power to execute the laws they pass, than Miss Willard has reason to feel for its success through prohibition and the forceless votes of women whose power in philanthropy is fully recognized and cheerfully acknowledged. Women talk as if the solid vote of their sex would be cast in favor of temperance. The census of 1890 reveals the fact that there were in that year three times as many woman hotel-keepers as in 1870, and seven times as many saloon-keepers and bar-tenders.
Again, in the Nation's greatest crisis, Woman Suffrage showed itself to be the antipodes of woman's progress. Those of us whose once sable locks are now silvered are content to wear the badge of years, when we remember that we were permitted to live long enough ago to have felt the expansion of soul, the fervor of loyal love, the melting power of an overwhelming universal sorrow and a united joy, which filled the mighty days during a war for freedom and for the life of the Republic. Most of the women of the land were working with a devotion that spared neither strength not life. What was the Woman-Suffrage Association doing? I answer in their own words. In their "History," they say: "While the most of women never philosophize on the principles that underlie national existence, there were those in our late war who understood the political significance of the struggle: the irrepressible conflict between freedom and slavery; between national and State rights. They saw that to provide lint, bandages, and supplies for the army, while the war was not conducted on a wise policy, was labor in vain; and while many organizations, active, vigilant, self-sacrificing, were multiplied to look after the material wants of the army, these few formed themselves into a National Loyal League to teach sound principles of government, and to impress on the nation's conscience, that freedom to the slaves was the only way to victory." They further say: "Accustomed as most women had been to works of charity, to the relief of outward suffering, it was difficult to rouse their enthusiasm for an idea, to persuade them to labor for a principle. They clamored for practical work, something for their hands to do; for fairs, sewing societies to raise money for soldiers families, for tableaux, readings, theatricals, anything but conventions to discuss principles and to circulate petitions for emancipation. They could not see that the best service they could render the army was to suppress the rebellion, and that the most effective way to accomplish that was to transform the slaves into soldiers. The Woman's Loyal League voiced the solemn lessons of the war; universal suffrage, and universal amnesty."
The Woman's Loyal League "voiced" the fact that the professional agitators of the Suffrage movement were not patriots. Again they filled the land with words, while all the others of their sex were blazoning the page of their country's history with deeds of the noblest self-sacrifice, the most gentle daring. When we remember with what infinite patience the great emancipator was waiting for the hour when in his wisdom he discerned that he could "best save the Union by emancipating all the salves," we realize what added sorrow may have been pressed upon his heart by the foolish petitions that the League were rolling up by the hundred thousand and sending to a Congress that was powerless to heed them if it would. Statesmen and Generals were staggered by the stupendous task of guiding a great people and saving the Union in the most powerful rebellion ever known; but these few women knew from the beginning that "the war was not conducted on a wise policy," and that to provide for the army was "labor in vain." They joined the great body of fault-finders and talkers, and lifted not a finger in practical work. And they are the women who would fain vote for and become America's rulers! The "other women," who were narrow-minded enough to prepare stores and raise money for the army, and do such concrete work as nursing in the hospital and on the field, had been busy for nearly two years when the Suffrage women bestirred themselves in their own way. In March, 1863, they issued the following appeal to the "Loyal Women of the Nation," which I quote at length because it is an excellent example of their methods, which "began in words and ended in words:"
"I this crisis of our country's destiny, it is the duty of every citizen to consider the peculiar blessings of a republican form of government, and decide what sacrifices of wealth and life are demanded for its defence and preservation. The policy of the war, our whole future life, depends, on a clearly-defined idea of the end proposed, and the immense advantages to be secured to ourselves and all mankind by its accomplishment. No mere party or sectional cry, no technicalities of constitution or military law, no mottoes of craft or policy, are big enough to touch the great heart of a nation in the midst of revolution. A guard idea, such as freedom or justice, is needful to kindle and sustain the fires of a high enthusiasm. At this hour the best word and work of every man and woman are imperatively demanded. To man, by common consent, is assigned the forum, camp, and field. What is woman's legitimate work, and how she may best accomplish it, is worthy of our earnest counsel with one another. We have heard many complaints of the lack of enthusiasm among Northern women; but, when a mother lays her son on the altar of her country, she asks an object equal to the sacrifice. In nursing the sick and wounded, knitting socks, scrapping lint and making jellies, the bravest and best may weary if the thoughts mount not in faith to something beyond and above it all. Work is worship only when a noble purpose fills the soul. Woman is equally interested and responsible with man in the final settlement of this problem of self-government; therefore let none stand idle spectators now. When every hour is big with destiny, and each delay but complicates our difficulties, it is high time for the daughters of the Revolution, in solemn council, to unseal the last will and testament of the Fathers-lay hold of their birthright of freedom, and keep it a sacred trust for all coming generations. To this end we ask the Loyal Women of the Nation to meet in the church of the Puritans (Dr. Cheever's), New York, on Thursday, the 14th of May next." This was signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, in behalf of the Woman's Central Committee.
Having set forth their belief that by common consent the forum, the camp, and the field were assigned to men, these women secured a forum from which to promulgate advice and direction to the men who were indeed allowed possession of the camp and the field. After a speech, in which, among other things, Miss Anthony said: "Instead of suppressing the real cause of the war, it should have been proclaimed, not only by the people, but by the President, Congress, Cabinet, and every military commander," she presented resolutions, which included this:
"Resolved: that there can never be a true peace in this Republic until all the civil and political rights of all citizens of African descent and all women are practically established."
The reading of the resolutions was followed by one of the long, acrimonious debates with which those who read the reports of their conventions are familiar. They resented it bitterly when Mrs. Hoyt, of Wisconsin, said: "The women of the North were invited here to meet in convention, not to hold a Temperance meeting, not to hold an Anti-slavery meeting, not to hold a Woman's Rights convention, but to consult as to the best practical way for the advancement of the loyal cause. We have a great many very flourishing Loyal Leagues throughout the West, and we have kept them sacred from Anti-slavery, Woman's Rights, Temperance, and everything else, good though they may be. In our League we have several objects in view. The first is, retrenchment in household expenses, to the end that the material resources of the Government may be, so far as possible, applied to the entire and thorough vindication of its authority. Second, to strengthen the loyal sentiment of the people at home, and instil a deeper love of the National flag. The third and most important object is to write to the soldiers in the field, thus reaching nearly every private in the army, to encourage and stimulate him in the way that ladies know how to do." After expressions of strong resentment, those who had called the convention returned to their generalizing in regard to the duty and influence of woman, and to denunciations of the Government for its conduct of the war. The resolutions which had called forth the strictures were accepted, and Miss Anthony announced that "The resolution recommending practical work was not yet prepared." It was written at a business meeting following, and read thus:
"Resolved, that we, loyal women of the nation, do hereby pledge ourselves one to another, in a Loyal League, to give support to the Government in so far as it makes the war a war for freedom."
If the Government of the United States had received no more practical pledges, from no more loyal hearts than these, there would have been little reward for the patriotic devotion that laid down life in defence of the Union. A sentiment that was often expressed by the Suffragist was that as woman had no vote she could not properly be called upon to be loyal. The "practical" work finally accomplished was the gathering of another monster petition, in which they told President Lincoln that "Northern power and loyalty can never be measured until the purpose of the war be liberty to man." To the close of the war they did nothing but sign such petitions.
I turn to Dr. Brockett's great book, "Woman in the Civil War," and I find recorded the names and the work of four hundred and eighty-four women who gave invaluable and honorable special service, some of them even to the sacrifice of life itself; and of all this number, only a half dozen are known in Suffrage annals.
Cure by ballot has been the one and only remedy suggested by Suffrage conventions for all the ills, real or imaginary, that are endured by women. As long ago as 1854, in a convention in Philadelphia, they uttered the same sentiment. In commenting upon Mrs. Jane G. Swisshelm's book, "Half a Century," they say: "While ever and anon during the last forty years Mrs. Swisshelm has seized some of these dilettante literary women with her metaphysical tweezers, and held them up to scorn for their ridicule of the Woman Suffrage conventions, yet in her own recently published work, in her mature years, she vouchsafes no words of approval for those who have inaugurated the greatest movement of the centuries. ... It is quite evident from her last pronunciamento that she has no just appreciation of the importance and dignity of our demand for justice and equality. A soldier without a leg is a fact so much more readily understood than all women without ballots, and his loss so much more readily comprehended and supplied, that we can hardly blame any one for doing the work of the hour, rather than struggling a lifetime for an idea. Hence it is not a matter of surprise that most women are more readily enlisted in the suppression of evils in the concrete, than in advocating the principles that underlie them in the abstract, and thus ultimately choosing the broader and more lasting work."
In her "Reminiscences," contributed to the "History," Mrs. Emily Collins says: "From 1858 to 1869 my home 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."
This was typical action. Thus it was in Anti-slavery, thus in Temperance, thus in the Civil War, and thus it has been with general reforms. What Suffragists have deemed to be an abstract "right" has prevented them from taking active part in any efforts put forth to end a concrete wrong. As time goes on, this spirit becomes more injurious, because progress is carrying philanthropy into higher fields of moral action, and in so doing is carrying it away from and above the plane where rests the ballot-box. While Suffrage effort is directed toward keeping all issues in the political arena, the trend of legislation is to take them out of politics. By the public votes of men and the private votes and public appeals of women, philanthropic and educational matters are being removed from the uncertainties and fluctuations of party action. As they are thus brought out of the sphere where woman is powerless and into that in which it is natural for her to act, the whole force of sympathy, and her ability to picture and to pursue an ideal, are finding exercise and are hastening the day when there will be no slavery, no drunkenness, no war, and no violation of woman's chastity. Dr. Jacobi, in her volume, says: "Why should we wonder at the low tone which habitually prevails in relation to public affairs, when the women who stand as guardians at the fountain sources and household shrines of thought are trained to believe that there are no Rights, but only Privileges, Expediencies, Immunities? Can those who cower before the public ridicule which greets the enunciation of the Rights of Women; who are habituated to stifle generous impulses for their own larger freedom at the authoritative dictation of the men they see in power,-can such women be relied upon to nerve the Nation's heart for generous deeds?" Who were trained by women at the fountain sources and household shrines? The very men whom they now see in "authoritative dictation." And so well did they train them that when both are called upon to nerve the nation's heart for generous deeds, they act together-the trainer and the trained-moved by the same magnetic impulse of a noble devotion. It is purely gratuitous to assume, because women generally have discredited the dogma of Woman Suffrage, that they have therefore no just conception of rights. Women are as ambitious, as self-assertive, as are men. They deal more naturally with abstractions, and are more tenacious of purpose. They are impatient of hindrance, and it is inconsistent with facts to infer that they have been "stifling generous impulses for their own larger freedom," at the dictation of their own sons. The executive power and wisdom of these sons they feel to be the very thing they most desire for them, a reward for their own abounding faith and love. Privileges, Expediencies, and Immunities are their Rights. How well fitted such rights are to enable them to nerve the Nation's heart was seen in the great crisis we have been considering, when the ignoble dogma of Suffrage caused its believers to fail in generous impulse and to stand aloof in the time of a supreme need.
I cannot agree with Dr. Jacobi that a low tone habitually prevails in relation to public affairs. The guards freshly thrown about the ballot, and the greater watchfulness over entrance to citizenship, are two of the most obvious advances at this moment.
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