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Especially was it the purpose to offer me no inducement to
be present in the ranks of the procession of its members and
friends, which was to start from Independence Hall on the first
morning of its meeting. In good season, however, I was present at
this grand starting point. My reception there confirmed my
impression as to the policy intended to be pursued toward me. Few
of the many I knew were prepared to give me a cordial
recognition, and among these few I may mention Gen. Benj. F.
Butler, who, whatever others may say of him, has always shown a
courage equal to his convictions. Almost everybody else whom I
met seemed to be ashamed or afraid of me. On the previous night I
had been warned that I should not be allowed to walk through the
city in the procession; fears had been expressed that my presence
in it would so shock the prejudices of the people of
Philadelphia, as to cause the procession to be mobbed.

The members of the convention were to walk two abreast, and as I
was the only colored member of the convention, the question was,
as to who of my brother members would consent to walk with me?
The answer was not long in coming. There was one man present who
was broad enough to take in the whole situation, and brave enough
to meet the duty of the hour; one who was neither afraid nor
ashamed to own me as a man and a brother; one man of the purest
Caucasian type, a poet and a scholar, brilliant as a writer,
eloquent as a speaker, and holding a high and influential
position--the editor of a weekly journal having the largest
circulation of any weekly paper in the city or State of New
York--and that man was Mr. Theodore Tilton. He came to me in my
isolation, seized me by the hand in a most brotherly way, and
proposed to walk with me in the procession. I have been in many
awkward and disagreeable positions in my life, when the presence
of a friend would have been highly valued, but I think I never
appreciated an act of courage and generous sentiment more highly
than I did that of this brave young man, when we marched through
the streets of Philadelphia on this memorable day.

Well! what came of all these dark forebodings of timid men? How
was my presence regarded by the populace? and what effect did it
produce? I will tell you. The fears of the loyal Governors who
wished me excluded to propitiate the favor of the crowd, met with
a signal reproof, their apprehensions were shown to be
groundless, and they were compelled, as many of them confessed to
me afterwards, to own themselves entirely mistaken. The people
were more enlightened and had made more progress than their
leaders had supposed. An act for which those leaders expected to
be pelted with stones, only brought to them unmeasured applause.
Along the whole line of march my presence was cheered repeatedly
and enthusiastically. I was myself utterly surprised by the
heartiness and unanimity of the popular approval. We were
marching through a city remarkable for the depth and bitterness
of its hatred of the abolition movement; a city whose populace
had mobbed anti-slavery meetings, burned temperance halls and
churches owned by colored people, and burned down Pennsylvania
Hall because it had opened its doors to people of different
colors upon terms of equality. But now the children of those who
had committed these outrages and follies, were applauding the
very principles which their fathers had condemned. After the
demonstrations of this first day, I found myself a welcome member
of the convention, and cordial greeting took the place of cold
aversion. The victory was short, signal, and complete.

This experience shows how little knowledge politicians have of what
lies in the hearts of the people; that even statesmen seldom
appreciate the many steps in progressive thought already achieved,
before there is any popular demonstration. It shows, too, the
commanding influence of personal dignity and lofty self-respect,
incapable of being either flattered or coerced to take any position
among men but one of absolute equality. And this was exactly the
position taken by those women who opposed the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Loyalists' Convention was held at a most critical period in the
Nation's life; the policy and action of all the Southern States
centered in its deliberations. Though Mr. Douglass would not hold the
rightful representation of his race in abeyance to the success of the
Convention, the pacification of the South, the policy of the border
States, nor the life of the Nation, yet he too criticised the women
who took precisely the same position in maintaining the dignity of sex
against the action of the Republican party and the whole Northern
policy of reconstruction. What to either class was the nation's life,
so long as the flag gave them no protection against the humiliating
distinctions of caste? What to them were boasted republican
institutions, so long as their rights, privileges, and immunities as
citizens were denied? White men could only be taught the lesson of a
common humanity by just such resistance as these oppressed classes
made. Protests and petitions, falling like seeds here and there on
good ground, at last moved some liberal Republicans to action, and
several bills recognizing the political existence of women were duly
presented. The best results of the war have been the struggle and
determination of black men and women for recognition in the
reconstruction, for they have compelled the nation's consideration of
the vital principles of republican government, and secured for both
classes many rights and privileges heretofore unknown.

The congressional action throughout this session proves that if all
the friends of woman suffrage had been steadfast to their principles,
and made a simultaneous effort against any further extension of
"manhood suffrage" until woman too was recognized, the measure might
have been carried; at least the agitation could have been prolonged
and intensified in the halls of legislation fourfold. But in the
general confusion as to what might or might not be sound policy, the
most liberal took each onward step with doubt and hesitation. However,
the persistent hostility to the amendments kept up the agitation in
Congress, which at last culminated in a proposition for a Sixteenth
Amendment, for which the National Woman Suffrage Association has, with
one short interval, ever since petitioned.

THE SIXTEENTH AMENDMENT.--March 15, 1869, will be held memorable
in all coming time as the day when the Hon. George W. Julian
submitted a "Joint Resolution" to Congress to enfranchise the
women of the Republic by proposing a Sixteenth Amendment to the
Federal Constitution, which reads as follows:

ART. 16. The Right of Suffrage in the United States shall be
based on citizenship, and shall be regulated by Congress;
and all citizens of the United States, whether native or
naturalized, shall enjoy this right equally without any
distinction or discrimination whatever founded on sex.

Since our famous Bill of Rights was given to the world declaring
all men equal, there has been no other proposition, in its
magnitude, beneficence, and far-reaching consequences, so
momentous as this. The specific work now before us, is to press
the importance of this Amendment on the consideration of the
people, and to urge Congress to its speedy adoption. Suffrage
associations should be formed at once and newspapers established
in every State to press Woman's Enfranchisement, and petitions
should be circulated in every school district from Maine to
California, praying the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment, that
when the Forty-second Congress assembles it may understand the
work before it.--_The Revolution_, April 29, 1869.

Petitions for a Sixteenth Amendment were immediately printed and sent
throughout the nation, and have been steadily rolling into Congress
for the last thirteen years from all the State and National Woman
Suffrage Associations. The Fortieth Congress was the first in which an
amendment to the National Constitution in the interests of woman was
ever proposed. In a series of editorials in _The Revolution_ there was
a decided expression of hostility towards the Fifteenth Amendment
during all the time it was pending in Congress. In the issue of
October 21, 1869, Mrs. Stanton said:

All wise women should oppose the Fifteenth Amendment for two
reasons. 1st. Because it is invidious to their sex. Look at it
from what point you will, and in every aspect, it reflects the
old idea of woman's inferiority, her subject condition. And yet
the one need to secure an onward step in civilization is a new
dignity and self-respect in women themselves. No one can think
that the pending proposition of "manhood suffrage" exalts woman,
either in her own eyes or those of the man by her side, but it
does degrade her practically and theoretically, just as black men
were more degraded when all other men were enfranchised.

2d. We should oppose the measure, because men have no right to
pass it without our consent. When it is proposed to change the
constitution or fundamental law of the State or Nation, all the
people have a right to say what that change shall be.

If women understood this pending proposition in all its bearings,
theoretically and practically, there would be an overwhelming
vote against the admission of another man to the ruling power of
this nation, until they themselves were first enfranchised. There
is no true patriotism, no true nobility in tamely and silently
submitting to this insult. It is mere sycophancy to man; it is
licking the hand that forges a new chain for our degradation; it
is indorsing the old idea that woman's divinely ordained position
is at man's feet, and not on an even platform by his side.

By this edict of the liberal party, the women of this Republic
are now to touch the lowest depths of their political
degradation.

JUNE 3, 1869.

THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT.--It is not to be believed that the
nation which is now engaged in admitting the newly liberated
negro to the plenitude of all political franchise, will much
longer retain woman in a state of _helotage_, which is more
degrading than ever, because being no longer shared by any of the
male sex, it constitutes every woman the inferior of every
man.--JOHN STUART MILL.

It is this thought, so clearly seen and concisely stated by this
distinguished English philosopher and statesman, that I have
endeavored to press on the hearts of American reformers for the
last four years.



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