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In August of the same year the
Secretary stated that orders for the emblem, the badge of the
Covenant, were received by the manufacturer of the pin from all parts
of the Union. A meeting was held in New York, rooms opened in Great
Jones Street, and the Covenant was in a fair way to assume large
proportions. When Lee's capitulation was announced the necessity for
the Covenant ended, and with peace, trade was allowed to drift into
its natural channels.


ANNA ELIZABETH DICKINSON.

Foremost among the women who understood the political significance of
the great conflict, was Miss Dickinson, a young girl of Quaker
ancestry, who possessed remarkable oratorical power, a keen sense of
justice, and an intense earnestness of purpose. In the heated
discussions of Anti-Slavery Conventions, she had acquired a clear
comprehension of the province of laws and constitutions; of the
fundamental principles of governments, and the rights of man. Like a
meteor, she appeared suddenly in the political horizon, as if born for
the eventful times in which she lived, and inspired by the dangers
that threatened the life of the republic.

At the very beginning of the war her radical utterances were heard at
different points in her native State.[31] Her admirable speech on the
higher law, first made at Kennett Square, and the discussion that
followed, in which Miss Dickinson maintained her position with
remarkable clearness and coolness for one of her years, were a
surprise to all who listened. The flattering reports of this meeting
in several of the Philadelphia journals introduced her at once to the
public.

On the evening of February 27, 1861, she addressed eight hundred
people in Concert Hall, Philadelphia. This was her first appearance
before so large an assembly, and the first time she had the sole
responsibility of entertaining an audience for an entire evening. She
spoke two full hours extemporaneously, and the lecture was pronounced
a success, not only by the press, but by the many notables and
professional men present. Although it was considered a marvelous
performance for a young girl, Miss Dickinson herself was mortified, as
she said, with the length of her speech and its lack of point, order,
and arrangement.

Soon after, she entered the United States Mint, to labor from seven
o'clock in the morning to six at night. Although she was ever faithful
to her duties and skillful in everything she undertook, soon becoming
the most rapid adjuster in the Mint, her radical criticisms on the war
and its leaders cost her the loss of the place. At a meeting just
after the battle of Ball's Bluff, in summing up the record, after
exonerating Stone and Baker, she said, "Future history will show that
this battle was lost not through ignorance and incompetence, but
through the treason of the commanding general, George B. McClellan,
and time will vindicate the truth of my assertion." She was hissed all
over the house, though some cried, "Go on!" "Go on!" She repeated this
startling assertion three times, and each time was hissed.

When Gen. McClellan was running against Lincoln in 1864, after she had
achieved a world-wide reputation, she was sent by the Republican
Committee of Pennsylvania to this same town, to speak to the same
people, in the same hall. In again summing up the incidents of the
war, when she came to Ball's Bluff, she said, "I say now, as I said
three years ago, history will record that this battle was lost, not
through ignorance or incompetence, but through the treason of the
commanding general, George B. McClellan." "And time has vindicated
your assertion," was shouted all over the house.

It was the speech made in 1861, that cost her her place in the mint,
for while laboring there daily with her hands, her mind was not
inactive nor indifferent to the momentous events transpiring about
her. She kept a close watch of the progress of the war, and the policy
of the Republican leaders. When ex-Governor Pollock dismissed her, he
admitted that his reason was that Westchester speech, for at that time
McClellan was the idol of the nation.[32]

With remarkable prescience all through the war, and the period of
reconstruction, Miss Dickinson took the advance position. Wendell
Phillips used to say that "she was the young elephant sent forward to
try the bridges to see if they were safe for older ones to cross."
When wily politicians found that her criticisms were applauded by
immense audiences, they gained courage to follow her lead. As popular
thought was centering everywhere on national questions, Miss Dickinson
thought less of the special wrongs of women and negroes and more of
the causes of revolutions and the true basis of government; hence she
spoke chiefly on the political aspects of the war, and thus made
herself available in party politics at once.

In the intervals of public speaking, she made frequent visits to the
Government hospitals, and became a most welcome guest among our
soldiers. In long conversations with them, she learned their
individual histories, experiences, hardships, and sufferings; the
motives that prompted them to go into the army; what they saw there;
what they thought of war in their hours of solitude, away from the
camp and the battle-field. Thus she acquired an insight into the
soldier's life and feelings, and from these narratives drew her
materials for that deeply interesting lecture on hospital life, which
she delivered in many parts of the country.

This lecture, given in Concord, New Hampshire, in the autumn of 1862,
was the turning-point of her fortunes. In this speech she proved
slavery to be the cause of the war, that its continuance would result
in prolonged suffering to our soldiers, defeat to our armies, and the
downfall of the Republic. She related many touching incidents of her
experiences in hospital life, and drew such vivid pictures of the
horrors of both war and slavery, that by her pathos and logic, she
melted her audience to tears, and forced the most prejudiced minds to
accept her conclusions.

It was on this occasion that the Secretary of the State Central
Committee heard her for the first time. He remarked to a friend at the
close of the lecture, "If we can get this girl to make that speech all
through New Hampshire we can carry the Republican ticket in the coming
election." Fully appreciating her magnetic power over an audience, he
resolved at once, that if the State Committee refused to invite her,
he should do so on his own responsibility. But through his influence
she was invited by the Republican Committee, and on the first of March
commenced her regular campaign speeches. During the four weeks before
election she spoke twenty times, everywhere to crowded, enthusiastic
audiences. Her march through the State was a succession of triumphs,
and ended in a Republican victory.

The member in the first district having no faith that a woman could
influence politics, sent word to the Secretary, "Don't send that damn
woman down here to defeat my election." The Secretary replied, "We
have work enough for her to do in other districts without interfering
with you." But when the would-be honorable gentleman saw the furor she
created, he changed his mind, and inundated the Secretary with letters
to have her sent there. But the Secretary replied, "It is too late;
the programme is arranged and published throughout the State; you
would not have her when you could, and now you can not have her when
you will."

It is pleasant to record that this man, who had the moral hardihood to
send a profane adjective over the wires, with the name of this noble
girl, lost his election. While all other districts went strongly
Republican, his was lost by a large majority. When the news came that
the Republicans had carried the State, due credit was awarded to Anna
Dickinson. The Governor-elect made personal acknowledgment that her
eloquent speeches had secured his election. She was serenaded,
feasted, and feted, the recipient of many valuable presents, and
eulogized by the press and the people.

New Hampshire safe, all eyes were now turned to Connecticut. The
contest there was between Seymour and Buckingham. It was generally
conceded that, if Seymour was elected, Connecticut would give no more
money or troops for the war. The Republicans were completely
disheartened. They said nothing could prevent the Democrats from
carrying the State by four thousand, while the Democrats boasted that
they would carry it by ten thousand. Though the issue was one of such
vital importance, there seemed so little hope of success, that the
Republicans were disposed to give it up without making an effort. And
no resistance to this impending calamity was made until Anna Dickinson
went into the State, and galvanized the desponding loyalists to life.
She spent two weeks there, and completely turned the tide of popular
sentiment. Democrats, in spite of the scurrilous attacks made on her
by some of their leaders and editors, received her everywhere with the
warmest welcome, tore off their party badges, substituted her
likeness, and applauded whatever she said. The halls where she spoke
were so densely packed, that Republicans stayed away to make room for
the Democrats, and the women were shut out to give place to those who
could vote. There never was such enthusiasm over an orator in this
country. The period of her advent, the excited condition of the
people, her youth, beauty, and remarkable voice, and wonderful
magnetic power, all heightened the effect of her genius, and helped to
produce this result. Her name was on every lip; ministers preached
about her, prayed for her, as a second Joan of Arc, raised up by God
to save that State to the loyal party, and through it the nation to
freedom and humanity. As the election approached, the excitement was
intense; and when at last it was announced that the State was saved by
a few hundred votes, the joy and gratitude of the crowds knew no
bounds. They shouted and hurrahed for Anna Dickinson, serenaded her
with full bands of music, sent her books, flowers, and ornaments,
manifesting in every way their love and loyalty to this gifted girl,
who through so many years had bravely struggled with poverty to this
proud moment of success in her country's cause.



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