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It was that
stern principle of justice which attracted and held me in the old
organization when those dearest to me went into the Liberty
party. I had been trained in that school which taught children
that they must do right for right's sake, without hope of reward
or fear of punishment, leaving the consequences with the All wise
Ruler of events. Among the early Abolitionists this
uncompromising spirit was manifest, and to me it was the real
gospel.

I remember well the strong opposition to some who advocated the
election of John C. Fremont, in 1856, among whom was Frederick
Douglass. He was then denounced as a compromiser asking for a
half loaf. He still asks for the half loaf; but others who stood
firmly then for the whole have now come down to his plane, and
desire above all things to finish up the anti-slavery work and
have the negro man out of the way, and so give the Sixteenth
Amendment the go-by, claiming manhood suffrage because it is the
order of nature that man, however ignorant, debased and brutal he
may be, shall always be first, because he always has been,
yielding the whole argument to physical force, leaving the negro
woman wholly out of the question, giving her over to the tyranny
of the husband, which is nearly, if not quite, equal to that of
the master. The anti-slavery platform still carefully guards
itself against the woman question, while on the Suffrage platform
the Fifteenth Amendment is considered essential. Miss Couzins was
the only one who put the two amendments fairly before the
Convention in Boston. After presenting the issues of the two
amendments she trenched lightly on another topic still more
offensive. She plead for the outcast woman in a most womanly way,
but it did not prove to be a popular theme; but I think she is
too true, pure, and noble not to do the same again and again.

Last evening Miss Peckham, Mrs. Churchill, and Miss Couzins
presented the suffrage question to a select audience in
Providence. Each in her own way and from her own stand-point
spoke well. I have not time to give you as elaborate a notice as
I should like to of each, but will do so after the convention
which the State Association propose holding next week, on Monday,
the 14th, in Westerly, R. I. If you have helps to send us we
shall welcome them cordially.

Yours ever truly,
P. W. DAVIS.


JULY 22, 1869.

FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT--ITS LUDICROUS SIDE.--Almost every question
has its ludicrous side. The champions of the Fifteenth Amendment
to the Constitution present an illustration. Conceding woman's
equal right to the ballot with man, they still resist her claims
on the ground that this is not her hour, but man's hour. "The
black man's hour." As though justice and right were determined by
clocks and almanacs. And as though some sort of terrible crisis
could not be urged always. Admitting even that in fitness for the
franchise, the white women, especially of the North, are
eminently superior to the average of Southern men, of any color,
they still demand that woman's claim be postponed to their
favorite Fifteenth Amendment, which presumes every man in the
nation of whatever color, grade, or race, the superior of woman,
however exalted by culture, by wealth, by refinement, by
patriotism, or whatever virtues, gifts, or graces. An Amendment,
it is called, while preparing the way to lift into lordship
absolute, every man, however mean and vile, over every woman,
however divine her character!

And then these "Amenders" presume to charge with "selfishness,"
"ignorance," "conservatism," and nobody knows what else, those
who are laboring night and day, in season, out of season, and at
all seasons, under a banner on which was inscribed at the
formation of their Association, "Equal Rights to all citizens;
ESPECIALLY THE RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE, IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE, COLOR OR
SEX." Without pretending that the Association, or any of its
members, has violated, in letter or in spirit, a word of this
constitutional pledge, leading Abolitionists are charging
"injustice," "insincerity," and "treachery to the cause of
liberty," on actors in the Equal Rights Association, besides
ignorance, selfishness, and conservatism, because they will not
turn aside from their holy purpose to promote a measure that
basely, grossly insults one-half, and that the best half of the
human race. Were the subject not too serious for mirth, such
accusations, coming from such a source, would be simply
ludicrous. As it is, many will laugh at such absurdity. The
Fifteenth Amendment, at best, is but a trick, a device (as was
the Fourteenth with its word _male_ three times burned into a
single period), of as corrupt and unprincipled a school of
politicians as ever disgraced the name of legislation, to save
themselves and their party in place and power. It is told us in
all seriousness, that the word _male_ is not in the Fifteenth
Amendment, as though that atoned for its infamy, and rendered it
worthy of woman's support. Why should the word _male_ be in it?
Three times solemnly muttered in the Fourteenth, it needed no
repetition in the Fifteenth.

Another ludicrous view of this subject, is the zeal with which so
many women are laboring to hoist all mandom into power over them.
Power as omnipotent as ignorance, prejudice, and love of
domination can possibly create. A little reflection, one would
think, might show and satisfy the blindest that the opposition
they encounter already is quite sufficient, without augmenting it
a thousand fold, and anchoring it fast in the constitution of the
country. True, they are assured by radical Republicans that as
soon as the negro man is secured, the colored woman and the white
woman also shall be equally distinguished. Had this age an Ęsop,
he would tell again his story of the goat and the fox at the
bottom of the well. How to get out, of course, was the question.
After long and anxious thought, a happy expedient struck the fox.
"Do you, friend goat, rear yourself up against the wall, as near
the top as possible, and from the tip of your horns I can spring
out, and then it will be quite easy to pull you up by the horns
also." No quicker spoken than done. Out leaped the fox, and was
safe. Then the goat demanded his release, as promised. "You old
fool!" answered Reynard! "Had you half as much brain as beard,
you would know that I would never risk my life to save yours,"
and away he ran. The whole history of American politics is
assurance, but pre-eminently so is the history of present
parties, that a party victory would scarcely be risked to save
all womankind from consuming fire. A very few such elections as
the late one in Virginia, would subdue immensely the present
Republican ardor on the colored man's rights.

But most ludicrous of all is it to hear old anti-slavery leaders
and teachers referring to the past for defense of their present
hostility, and challenging us to re-read that history and be
ashamed of our present course. But when in the past did Wendell
Phillips ever teach that a half loaf is better than no bread, if
poisoned, or if it were snatched or stolen from a family of
starving orphans? It was not in 1839, nor '49, nor '59, that he
held or inculcated such a philosophy. The motto of the
Anti-Slavery _Standard_ was and is "Without Concealment--Without
Compromise." Now under that sublime evangel women are instructed
to bridge over the gulf to colored male enfranchisement with
their own imperiled, nay, sacrificed equal rights. Better now the
"half loaf," festering, putrid with the poison of compromise,
than no bread! Better that the black man have his half loaf,
though he steal it from his mother and sisters, more hungry,
starving, and dying, than himself!

Oh, no! it was never so in the past. Terrible to conservatism as
to slavery itself, was the mighty war-cry of the Abolitionists
for twenty years. "No union with slaveholders!" No compromise
with injustice for an election, or for an hour, not even for a
good ultimate purpose! Colonization proposed a double purpose,
the final extinction of slavery, and a meanwhile redemption of
Africa from the midnight gloom and horror of heathenism. "Get
thee behind me, Satan," was the thundering response and just
rebuke of it by the Abolitionists! "Let us compromise with the
South, and buy up their slaves," said Elihu Burritt and his
overgrown mushroom convention, at Cleveland. "Our curse on your
slave trade, foreign and domestic," was the answering response of
the Garrisonian Invincibles. Many of the oldest leaders and
officers of the society refused even to help an escaped
slave-mother buy her children of her old master. "Let us form a
Republican party," said foxy politicians, and fight the extension
of slavery into Kansas, or any other new territory with ballot,
bullet, and battle-axe, if need be, but leaving the damnable
system in the States with its 4,000,000 of victims and their
posterity still chained under constitutional guarantee and the
army and navy of the nation. "No union with slaveholders," rung
out the lips and lungs of the Abolitionists, in tones that shook
the land from Maine to Mexico! "Fremont and Jessie" harnessed by
constitutional compromise to the Juggernaut car of slavery, were
not to be preferred by them to Beelzebub Buchanan himself.



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