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to exalt ignorance above
education, vice above virtue, brutality and barbarism above
refinement and religion? Not since God first called light out of
darkness and order out of chaos, was there ever made so base a
proposition as "manhood suffrage" in this American Republic,
after all the discussions we have had on human rights in the
last century. On all the blackest pages of history there is no
record of an act like this, in any nation, where native born
citizens, having the same religion, speaking the same language,
equal to their rulers in wealth, family, and education, have been
politically ostracised by their own countrymen, outlawed with
savages, and subjected to the government of outside barbarians.
Remember the Fifteenth Amendment takes in a larger population
than the 2,000,000 black men on the Southern plantation. It takes
in all the foreigners daily landing in our eastern cities, the
Chinese crowding our western shores, the inhabitants of Alaska,
and all those western isles that will soon be ours. American
statesmen may flatter themselves that by superior intelligence
and political sagacity the higher orders of men will always
govern, but when the ignorant foreign vote already holds the
balance of power in all the large cities by sheer force of
numbers, it is simply a question of impulse or passion, bribery
or fraud, how our elections will be carried. When the highest
offices in the gift of the people are bought and sold in Wall
Street, it is a mere chance who will be our rulers. Whither is a
nation tending when brains count for less than bullion, and
clowns make laws for queens? It is a startling assertion, but
nevertheless true, that in none of the nations of modern Europe
are the higher classes of women politically so degraded as are
the women of this Republic to-day. In the Old World, where the
government is the aristocracy, where it is considered a mark of
nobility to share its offices and powers, women of rank have
certain hereditary lights which raise them above a majority of
the men, certain honors and privileges not granted to serfs and
peasants. There women are queens, hold subordinate offices, and
vote on many questions. In our Southern States even, before the
war, women were not degraded below the working population. They
were not humiliated in seeing their coachmen, gardeners, and
waiters go to the polls to legislate for them; but here, in this
boasted Northern civilization, women of wealth and education, who
pay taxes and obey the laws, who in morals and intellect are the
peers of their proudest rulers, are thrust outside the pale of
political consideration with minors, paupers, lunatics, traitors,
idiots, with those guilty of bribery, larceny, and infamous
crimes.

Would those gentlemen who are on all sides telling the women of
the nation not to press their claims until the negro is safe
beyond peradventure, be willing themselves to stand aside and
trust all their interests to hands like these? The educated women
of this nation feel as much interest in republican institutions,
the preservation of the country, the good of the race, their own
elevation and success, as any man possibly can, and we have the
same distrust in man's power to legislate for us, that he has in
woman's power to legislate wisely for herself.

4. I would press a Sixteenth Amendment, because the history of
American statesmanship does not inspire me with confidence in
man's capacity to govern the nation alone, with justice and
mercy. I have come to this conclusion, not only from my own
observation, but from what our rulers say of themselves.
Honorable Senators have risen in their places again and again,
and told the people of the wastefulness and corruption of the
present administration. Others have set forth, with equal
clearness, the ignorance of our rulers on the question of
finance....

The following letters were received and read in the Convention:

NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 1869.

MRS. JOSEPHINE S. GRIFFING,--_Dear Madam_:--Your favor of the 6th
inst. is received. Permit me to assure you it would give me great
pleasure to be present at your important convention of the 19th,
but indisposition will not allow me that gratification.

Looking at all the circumstances; the position, the epoch, and
the efforts now being made to extend the right to the ballot,
your Convention is perhaps the most important that was ever held.
It is a true maxim, that it is easier to do justice than
injustice; to do right than wrong; and to do it at once, than by
small degrees. How much better and easier it would have been for
Congress, when they enfranchised all the men of the District of
Columbia, had they included the women also; but better late than
never. Let the National government, to which the States have a
right to look for good example, do justice to woman now, and all
the States will follow....

It was a terrible mistake and a fundamental error, based upon
ignorance and injustice, ever to have introduced the word "male"
into the Federal Constitution. The terms "male" and "female"
simply designate the physical or animal distinction between the
sexes, and ought be used only in speaking of the lower animals.
Human beings are men and women, possessed of human faculties and
understanding, which we call mind; and mind recognizes no sex,
therefore the term "male," as applied to human beings--to
citizens--ought to be expunged from the constitution and laws as
a last remnant of barbarism--when the animal, not mind, when
might, not right, governed the world. Let your Convention, then,
urge Congress to wipe out that purely animal distinction from the
national constitution. That noble instrument was destined to
govern intelligent, responsible human beings--men and women--not
sex. The childish argument that all women don't ask for the
franchise would hardly deserve notice were it not sometimes used
by men of sense. To all such I would say, examine ancient and
modern history, yes, even of your own times, and you will find
there never has been a time when all men of any country--white or
black--have ever asked for a reform. Reforms have to be claimed
and obtained by the few, who are in advance, for the benefit of
the many who lag behind. And when once obtained and almost forced
upon them, the mass of the people accept and enjoy their benefits
as a matter of course. Look at the petitions now pouring into
Congress for the franchise for women, and compare their thousands
of signatures with the few isolated names that graced our first
petitions to the Legislature of New York to secure to the married
woman the right to hold in her own name the property that
belonged to her, to secure to the poor, forsaken wife the right
to her earnings, and to the mother the right to her children.
"All" the women did not ask for those rights, but all accepted
them with joy and gladness when they were obtained; and so it
will be with the franchise. But woman's claim for the ballot does
not depend upon the numbers that demand it, or would exercise the
right; but upon precisely the same principles that man claims it
for himself. Chase, Sumner, Stevens, and many of both Houses of
Congress have, time after time, declared that the franchise means
"Security, Education, Responsibility, Self-respect, Prosperity,
and Independence." Taking all these assertions for granted and
fully appreciating all their benefits, in the name of security,
of education, of responsibility, of self-respect, of liberty, of
prosperity and independence we demand the franchise for woman.

Please present this hastily-written contribution to your
Convention with best wishes.

Yours, dear madam, very truly, ERNESTINE L. ROSE.


WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON writes: Unable to attend the Convention, I
can only send you my warm approval of it, and the object it is
designed to promote. It is boastingly claimed in behalf of the
Government of the United States that it is "of the people, by the
people, and for the people." Yet reckoning the whole number at
thirty-eight millions, no less than one-half--that is, nineteen
millions--are political ciphers. A single male voter, on election
day, outweighs them all!

AARON M. POWELL writes: I have no doubt that if a fair and honest
vote can be had upon the question, submitted upon its own merits,
in the Senate and House of Representatives, both the friends and
opponents of the measure here, as in Great Britain when John
Stuart Mill's proposition was first voted upon in Parliament,
will be surprised at the revelation of its real strength.

Mrs. CAROLINE H. DALL writes: It mitigates my regret in declining
your invitation to remember that these are not the dark days of
the cause.

Senator FOWLER, of Tenn., writes: It is not possible that the
people who have so enlarged the boundaries of the political
rights of another race just emerged from slavery, will fail to
recognize the claims of the women of the United States to equal
rights in all the relations of life.

WM. H. SYLVIS says: I am in favor of universal suffrage,
universal amnesty, and universal liberty.

ABBY HOPPER GIBBONS says: My father, Isaac T. Hopper, was an
advocate for woman and her work, he believed in her thoroughly.
His life long he was associated with many of the best women of
his day.



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