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It was not love of the
soldier only, great as that was; it was knowledge of the cause.
It was that supreme moral force operating through innumerable
channels like the sunshine in nature, without which successful
war would have been impossible. There are thousands and thousands
of these women who ask for a voice in the government they have so
defended. Shall we refuse them?

I appeal again to my honorable friend, the Chairman of the
Committee. He has made the land ring with his cry of universal
suffrage and universal amnesty. Suffrage and amnesty to whom? To
those who sought to smother the government in the blood of its
noblest citizens, to those who ruined the happy homes and broke
the faithful hearts of which I spoke. Sir, I am not condemning
his cry. I am not opposing his policy. I have no more thirst for
vengeance than he, and quite as anxiously as my honorable friend
do I wish to see the harvests of peace waving over the
battle-fields. But, sir, here is a New York mother, who trained
her son in fidelity to God and to his country. When that country
called, they answered. Mother and son gave, each after his kind,
their whole service to defend her. By the sad fate of war the boy
is thrown into the ghastly den at Andersonville. Mad with thirst,
he crawls in the pitiless sun toward a muddy pool. He reaches the
dead-line, and is shot by the guard--murdered for fidelity to his
country. "I demand amnesty for that guard, I demand that he shall
vote," cries the honorable Chairman of the Committee. I do not
say that it is an unwise demand. But I ask him, I ask you, sir, I
ask every honorable and patriotic man in this State, upon what
conceivable ground of justice, expediency, or common sense shall
we give the ballot to the New York boy's murderer and refuse it
to his mother?

Mr. Chairman, I have thus stated what I conceive to be the
essential reasonableness of the amendment which I have offered.
It is not good for man to be alone. United with woman in the
creation of human society, their rights and interests in its
government are identical, nor can the highest and truest
development of society be reasonably conceived, so long as one
sex assumes to prescribe limits to the scope and functions of the
other. The test of civilization is the position of women. Where
they are wholly slaves, man is wholly barbarous; and the measure
of progress from barbarism to civilization is the recognition of
their equal right with man to an unconstrained development.
Therefore, when Mr. Mill unrolls his petition in Parliament to
secure the political equality of women, it bears the names of
those English men and women whose thoughts foretell the course of
civilization. The measure which the report of the Committee
declares to be radically revolutionary and perilous to the very
functions of sex, is described by the most sagacious of living
political philosophers as reasonable, conservative, necessary,
and inevitable; and he obtains for it seventy-three votes in the
same House in which out of about the same whole number of voters
Charles James Fox, the idol of the British Whigs, used to be able
to rally only forty votes against the policy of Pitt. The dawn in
England will soon be day here. Before the American principle of
equal rights, barrier after barrier in the path of human progress
falls. If we are still far from its full comprehension and
further from perfect conformity to its law, it is in that only
like the spirit of Christianity, to whose full glory even
Christendom but slowly approaches. From the heat and tumult of
our politics we can still lift our eyes to the eternal light of
that principle; can see that the usurpation of sex is the last
form of caste that lingers in our society; that in America the
most humane thinker is the most practical man, and the organizer
of justice the most sagacious statesman.

Mr. Gould, of Columbia, followed with a long speech in opposition,
and the discussion[104] continued through several days; but Mr.
Curtis's amendment, in the Committee of the Whole, received 24 ayes
against 63 nays; and on the final vote in the Convention, 19 ayes[105]
against 125 nays.

Mr. Greeley, seemingly to atone for the disappointment of the women of
the State in his adverse report, published the following editorial in
_The Tribune_ of July 26th, 1867:

WOMEN IN POLITICS.

The Constitutional Convention of our State, yesterday,
negatived--yeas 19, nays 125--the proposition that women should
share with men the duties and responsibilities of voters at
elections. This decision was preceded by an earnest, protracted
discussion, in which the right and expediency of extending the
elective franchise to women were most eloquently urged by George
William Curtis, and less elaborately by several others. The
judgment pronounced yesterday by the Convention must therefore be
regarded as final.

We do not, however, regard it as a verdict against a
participation in public affairs by women. On the contrary, we
hold that woman's influence not only is, but should be felt in
legislation and government, and must increase in power as the
race becomes more enlightened and humane. We only insist that she
shall speak and be heard distinctly as woman, not mingled and
confused with man. To make women voters at our elections as now
held, and eligible to office in competition with men, would be
far better calculated to corrupt woman than to reform man and
purify politics. To have women mingle freely with men in primary
meetings, caucuses, nominating conventions, investigating
committees, juries, etc., etc., is not in our judgment calculated
to elevate woman more than to reform existing abuses in
legislation and practical politics. We should greatly prefer a
system like this:

Let the women of our State, after due discussion and
consultation, hold a convention composed of delegates from the
several counties, equal in number to the members of Assembly. To
this Convention let none but women be admitted, whether as
officers or spectators. Let this convention, keeping its debates
wholly private, decide what department of legislative government
may be safely assigned and set apart to woman. We would suggest
all that relates to the family; marriage, divorce, separation
from bed and board, the control and maintenance of children,
education, the property rights of married women, inheritance,
dower, etc., etc., as subjects that could wisely and safely be
set apart to be legislated upon by woman alone. And we believe
that if she (not a few women, but the sex) shall ever suggest and
require such an apportionment of legislative powers and duties,
man will cheerfully concede it.

"But would you have woman hold elections like ours"? No! we would
not! We would have her teach us how to take the sense of the
electors far more quietly and cheaply. When a department of
legislation shall be assigned to woman, we would have her collect
through school-district, or kindred organizations, the names of
all female citizens who possess the qualifications, other than of
sex, required from male voters at our elections. These being
duly, lucidly registered, let, then, women in each Assembly
district be designated to collect the votes of its women. Let
them simply advertise the address to which votes should be sent
and appoint a week wherein to collect them. Now, let every female
citizen write her ballot and enclose it, signing her name to the
address indicated; and due time having been allowed for votes to
arrive by mail or otherwise, let the votes be duly canvassed, and
the result ascertained and declared, and certificates of election
issued accordingly.

Under this plan, the invalid, the bed-ridden, the bereaved, and
even the absent, could vote as well as others, and the cost of
holding an election throughout the State need not reach $10,000.
Such are the outlines of our views regarding woman in politics.
They are doubtless susceptible of improvement; but we think not
by effacing in politics the natural and time-honored distinctions
between women and men. A female legislature, a jury of women, we
could abide; a legislature of men and women, a jury promiscuously
drawn from the sexes we do not believe in.

The New York _Independent_ published the following criticism on Mr.
Greeley's report a few days after its publication:


CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.

BY ELIZABETH CADY STANTON.

Your committee does not recommend an extension of the
elective franchise to woman. However defensible in theory,
we are satisfied that public sentiment does not demand, and
would not sustain, an innovation so revolutionary and
sweeping; so openly at war with a distribution of duties and
functions between the sexes as venerable as the Government
itself, and involving transformations so radical in social
and domestic life. Should we prove to be in error on this
head, the Convention may overrule us by changing a few words
in the first section of our proposed article.

In the above extract from the majority report of the Committee on
Suffrage we have substantially four reasons why the committee did
not recommend an extension of the elective franchise to women.

1st. Public sentiment does not demand it.

2d. It would be an innovation revolutionary and sweeping.

3d. It is at war with a distribution of duties and functions
between the sexes.

4th.



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