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She was
among the first to distrust McClellan and Lincoln, and in a lecture,
entitled "My Policy," to unveil his successor, Andrew Johnson, to the
people. She saw the scepter of power grasped by the party of freedom,
and the first gun fired at Sumter in defence of slavery. She saw our
armies go forth to battle, the youth, the promise, the hope of the
nation--two millions strong--and saw them return with their ranks
thinned and broken, their flags tattered and stained, the maimed, the
halt and the blind, the weary and worn; and this, she said, is the
price of liberty. She saw the dawn of the glorious day of emancipation
when four million African slaves were set free, and that night of
gloom when the darkest page in American history was written in the
blood of its chief. Through the nation's agony was this young girl
born into a knowledge of her power; and she drew her inspiration from
the great events of her day.


THE WOMAN'S NATIONAL LOYAL LEAGUE.

MAMMOTH PETITION.

Those who had been specially engaged in the Woman Suffrage movement,
suspended their Conventions during the war and gave their time and
thought wholly to the vital issues of the hour. Seeing the political
significance of the war, they urged the emancipation of the slaves as
the sure, quick way of cutting the gordion knot of the rebellion. To
this end they organized a National League, and rolled up a mammoth
petition, urging Congress to so amend the Constitution as to prohibit
the existence of slavery in the United States.

From their headquarters in Cooper Institute, New York, they sent out
their appeals to the President, Congress, and the people at large;
tracts and forms of petition, franked by members of Congress, were
scattered like snowflakes from Maine to Texas. Meetings were held
every week, in which the policy of the Government was freely
discussed, approved or condemned. Robert Dale Owen, chairman of the
Freedman's Commission, then residing in New York, aided and encouraged
this movement from the beginning, frequently speaking in the public
meetings.

That this League did a timely educational work, is manifested by the
letters received from generals, statesmen, editors, and from women in
most of the Northern States, fully endorsing its action and
principles.[38] The clearness of thinking women on the cause of the
war; the true policy in waging it; their steadfastness in maintaining
the principles of freedom, are worthy of consideration. With this
League, Abolitionists and Republicans heartily co-operated. In a
course of lectures secured for its benefit in Cooper Institute, we
find the names of Horace Greeley, George William Curtis, William D.
Kelly, Wendell Phillips, E. P. Whipple, Frederick Douglass, Theodore
D. Weld, Rev. Dr. Tyng, Dr. Bellows, and Mrs. Frances D. Gage. Many
letters are on its files from Charles Sumner, approving its measures,
and expressing great satisfaction at the large number of emancipation
petitions being rolled into Congress. The Republican press, too, was
highly complimentary. The _New York Tribune_ said: "The women of the
Loyal League have shown great practical wisdom in restricting their
efforts to one object, the most important which any society can aim
at, in this hour, and great courage in undertaking to do what never
has been done in the world before, to obtain one million of names to a
petition."

The leading journals vied with each other in praising the patience and
prudence, the executive ability, the loyalty, the patriotism of the
women of the League, and yet these were the same women, who when
demanding civil and political rights, privileges, and immunities for
themselves, had been uniformly denounced as "unwise," "imprudent,"
"fanatical," "impracticable." During the six years they held their own
claims in abeyance to the slaves of the South, and labored to inspire
the people with enthusiasm for the great measures of the Republican
party, they were highly honored as "wise, loyal, and clear-sighted."
But again when the slaves were emancipated and they asked that women
should be recognized in the reconstruction as citizens of the
Republic, equal before the law, all these transcendent virtues
vanished like dew before the morning sun. And thus it ever is so long
as woman labors to second man's endeavors and exalt _his sex_ above
her own, her virtues pass unquestioned; but when she dares to demand
rights and privileges for herself, her motives, manners, dress,
personal appearance, character, are subjects for ridicule and
detraction.

In March, 1863, an appeal[39] to the women of the Republic, was
published in the _New York Tribune_, and in tract form extensively
circulated with "a call"[40] for a National Convention in New York,
which assembled in Dr. Cheever's church May 14th. An immense audience,
mostly women, representing a large number of the States, crowded the
house at an early hour. Miss Susan B. Anthony called the Convention to
order and nominated Lucy Stone for President; the other officers[41]
of the Convention being chosen, Mrs. Stanton made the opening address,
and stated the objects of the meeting.

Miss Anthony having received large numbers of letters[42] which it
was impossible to read, said that the one word which had come up from
all quarters showed an earnestness of purpose on the part of women to
do everything in their power to aid the Government in the prosecution
of this war to the glorious end of freedom. The President in
introducing Angelina Grimké Weld, said:

This lady, once a South Carolina slaveholder, not only gave
freedom to all her slaves twenty years ago, but has spent the
strength of her younger years in going up and down among the
people, urging the Northern States to make their soil sacred to
freedom, to so amend their laws and constitutions that slavery
can find no protection within their borders.

MRS. WELD said: I came here with no desire and no intention to
speak; but my heart is full, my country is bleeding, my people
are perishing around me. But I feel as a South Carolinian, I am
bound to tell the North, go on! go on! Never falter, never
abandon the principles which you have adopted. I could not say
this if we were now where we stood two years ago. I could not say
thus when it was proclaimed in the Northern States that the Union
was all that we sought. No, my friends, such a Union as we had
then, God be praised that it has perished. Oh, never for one
moment consent that such a Union should be re-established in our
land. There was a time when I looked upon the Fathers of the
Revolution with the deepest sorrow and the keenest reproach. I
said to their shadows in another world, "Why did you leave this
accursed system of slavery for us to suffer and die under? why
did you not, with a stroke of the pen, determine--when you
acquired your own independence--that the principles which you
adopted in the Declaration of Independence should be a shield of
protection to every man, whether he be slave or whether he be
free?" But, my friends, the experience of sixty years has shown
me that the fruit grows slowly. I look back and see that great
Sower of the world, as he traveled the streets of Jerusalem and
dropped the precious seed, "Do unto others as ye would that
others should do unto you." I look at all the contests of
different nations, and see that, whether it were the Patricians
of Rome, England, France, or any part of Europe, every battle
fought gained something to freedom. Our fathers, driven out by
the oppression of England, came to this country and planted that
little seed of liberty upon the soil of New England. When our
Revolution took place, the seed was only in the process of
sprouting. You must recollect that our Declaration of
Independence was the very first National evidence of the great
doctrine of brotherhood and equality. I verily believe that those
who were the true lovers of liberty did all they could at that
time. In their debates in the Convention they denounced
slavery--they protested against the hypocrisy and inconsistency
of a nation declaring such glorious truths, and then trampling
them underfoot by enslaving the poor and oppressed, because he
had a skin not colored like their own; as though a man's skin
should make any difference in the recognition of his rights, any
more than the color of his hair or of his eyes. This little blade
sprouted as it were from the precious seeds that were planted by
Jesus of Nazareth. But, my friends, if it took eighteen hundred
years to bring forth the little blade which was seen in our
Declaration, are we not unreasonable to suppose that more could
have been done than has been done, looking at the imperfections
of human nature, looking at the selfishness of man, looking at
his desire for wealth and his greed for glory?

Had the South yielded at that time to the freemen of the North,
we should have had a free Government; but it was impossible to
overcome the long and strong prejudices of the South in favor of
slavery. I know what the South is. I lived there the best part of
my life. I never could talk against slavery without making my
friends angry--never. When they thought the day was far off, and
there was no danger of emancipation, they were willing to admit
it was an evil; but when God in His providence raised up in this
country an Anti-slavery Society, protesting against the
oppressions of the colored man, they began to feel that truth
which is more powerful than arms--that truth which is the only
banner under which we can successfully fight. They were
comparatively quiet till they found, in the election of Mr.
Lincoln, the scepter had actually departed from them. His
election took place on the ground that slavery was not to be
extended--that it must not pass into the Territories.



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