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Therefore we most earnestly urge it, in full faith
that so soon as Congress and the people shall have witnessed its
beneficial results, they will go forward with a XVI. Amendment
that shall prohibit any State to disfranchise any of its citizens
on account of sex.

Mrs. HOOKER said: The fifth commandment, "Honor thy father and
thy mother," can not be obeyed while boys are taught by our laws
and constitutions to hold all women in contempt. I feel it is not
only woman's right, but duty to assume responsibility in the
government. I think the importance of the subject demands its
hearing.

Madam ANNEKE: You have lifted up the slave on this continent;
listen now to woman's cry for freedom.

Mrs. MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE: Liberty is an instinct of the human
heart, and men desirous of creating change in governments or
religion have led other men by promising them greater liberty and
better laws. Nothing is too good, too great, too sacred for
humanity--and, as part of humanity, woman as well as man demands
the best that governments have to offer. Honorable gentlemen have
spoken of petitions. For twenty years we have petitioned, and I
now hold in my hand over three thousand names of citizens from
but a small portion of the State of New York, asking that justice
shall be done women by granting them suffrage. But people have
become tired of begging for rights, and many persons favoring
this cause will not again petition. We but ask justice, and we
say to you that the stability of any government depends upon its
doing justice to the most humble individual under it.

Mrs. PAULINA WRIGHT DAVIS: We are tired of petitioning. It is
time our legislators knew what was right and gave us justice.

Mrs. WILBOUR remarked that a lady of the district near her said
she had obtained 1,500 signatures in one ward of the city to a
petition.

Senator PATTERSON inquired what the effect would be in case women
were allowed to vote, if there were a difference of opinion
between the husband and wife on some political question--where
the authority of the family would rest?

Mrs. STANTON replied that there was always a superior will and
brain in every family. If it was the man, he would rule; if it
was the woman, she would rule. Individuality would be preserved
in the family as well as in society.

Hon. Mr. WELKER wanted to know if the women in the District had
shown any interest in the movement yet.

Mrs. STANTON replied that they had; they had attended the
sessions of the Convention held here, and all she had spoken to
were in favor of it.

Mrs. WILBOUR said the petition of 1,500 women of the District
asking for suffrage had been presented to Congress this very
winter.

Hon. Mr. COOKE said that the Committee on the District of
Columbia could not get enough time allowed them by the House to
transact the necessary business of the District during the short
morning hour to which they were limited by the rules, and he
feared they would be unable to get the action of the House on the
subject.

Miss ANTHONY said that they must make time enough to present the
bill at least; and asked if women had the right to vote, and make
and unmake members, if they could not then find time to plead
woman's cause?

The honorable member was obliged to answer this pertinent
question in the affirmative.

Senator HAMLIN said the Committee would take the matter into
consideration and discuss it; that in Scripture language he could
say he "was almost, if not quite, persuaded."

Altogether the hearing was serious and impressive, and it was evident
that the honorable gentlemen had already given the subject a
thoughtful consideration. As each member of the Congressional
Committee was presented by Senator Hamlin, the ladies had abundant
opportunity for learning their individual opinions. Senator Sumner
never appeared more genial, and said though he had been in Congress
for twenty years, and through the exciting scenes of the Nebraska Act,
Emancipation, District of Columbia Suffrage Act, and Reconstruction,
he had never seen a committee in which were present so many Senators
and Representatives, so many spectators, and so much interest
manifested in the subject under discussion.

The following description (in the _Hartford Courant_) is from the pen
of Mrs. Fannie Howland.


WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 1870.

The close of the Woman's Suffrage Convention in this city was
marked by an event which, no matter how slowly its logical
sequence is developed, must be regarded as initiative.

A committee of ladies appointed by the convention and composed in
great part of those well known as leaders in the movement, was
received at the Capitol by the committee of the Senate and House
(on the District of Columbia) for a formal hearing. The object of
that hearing was to request the honorable gentlemen to present a
bill to Congress for enfranchising the women of the District, as
an experiment preparatory to ultimate acknowledgment of equal
rights for all the women of the United States. The ladies were
received in one of the larger committee rooms, in order to
accommodate a number who wished to be present at this novel
interview. After taking their seats, the Hon. Hannibal Hamlin,
chairman, presented to them successively the gentlemen of the
committee, who certainly greeted their fair appellants with the
deferential courtesy due to fellow-sovereigns, albeit
unacknowledged and disguised, for the present, under the odium of
disfranchisement.

The gentlemen took their seats around a long table in the middle
of the room. Mrs. Stanton stood at one end, serene and
dignified. Behind her sat a large semi-circle of ladies, and
close about her a group of her companions, who would have been
remarkable anywhere for the intellectual refinement and elevated
expression of their earnest faces. Opposite, at the other end of
the table, sat Charles Sumner, looking fatigued and worn, but
listening with alert attention. So these two veterans in the
cause of freedom were fitly and suggestively brought face to
face.

The scene was impressive. It was simple, grand, historic. Women
have often appeared in history--noble, brilliant, heroic women;
but _woman_ collectively, impersonally, never until now. To-day,
for the first time, she asks recognition in the commonwealth--not
in virtue of hereditary noblesse--not for any excellence or
achievement of individuals, but on the simple ground of her
presence in the race, with the same rights, interests,
responsibilities as man. There was nothing in this gathering at
the Capitol to touch the imagination with illusion, no ball-room
splendor of light and fragrance and jewels, none of those
graceful enchantments by which women have been content to reign
through brief dynasties of beauty over briefer fealties of
homage. The cool light of a winter morning, the bare walls of a
committee room, the plain costumes of every day use, held the
mind strictly to the simple facts which gave that group of
representative men and women its moral significance, its severe
but picturesque unity. Some future artist, looking back for a
memorable illustration of this period, will put this new
"Declaration of Independence" upon canvas, and will ransack the
land for portraits of those ladies who first spoke for their
countrywomen at the Capitol, and of those Senators and
Representatives who first gave them audience.

Mrs. Stanton's speech was brief and able, eloquent from the
simplicity and earnestness of her heart, logical from the well
disciplined vigor of her mind. She was followed by Miss Anthony,
morally as inevitable and impersonal as a Greek chorus, but
physically and intellectually individual, intense, original, full
of humor and good nature--anything but the roaring lioness of
newspaper reports some years ago. Mrs. Davis, of Rhode Island,
spoke briefly in support of the demand for franchise. Mrs. I. B.
Hooker presented the Scriptural argument for the equality of
woman in all moral responsibility and duty under the divine law.
She spoke very feelingly, and was heard with marked attention. A
German lady from Wisconsin who, weighed in any balance, would not
be found wanting, struggled to express, in broken English, the
ideas for which she came forward as representing many of her
countrywomen in the West. Madam Anneke fought by her husband's
side in the revolution of 1848; but such an example adds no force
to the argument for woman's suffrage, the plea being made, not
for distinguished exceptional women, but for the average women of
the community.

When the ladies had finished their remarks, the gentlemen were
invited to ask any questions which were suggested by the subject
discussed. Either from indifference or chivalrous sentiment, no
very grave questions were proposed, nothing which required effort
or argument to answer. Probably when the matter comes, as sooner
or later it must come, before Congress, we shall hear some
well-considered defense of the Salic law, which in this
democratic republic, excludes all women from the citizen's
prerogative. One of the honorable gentlemen asked how they could
be certain that any number of women in the United States desired
the ballot. Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony recounted their
experience at conventions, the numerous signatures to petitions,
the many demonstrations here and in England in favor of woman
suffrage, but reminded the gentleman that no such separate
expression is required from the unwashed, unkempt immigrants upon
whom the government makes haste to confer unqualified suffrage,
nor from the southern negroes, who are provided for by the XV.
Amendment.

The hearing ended about noon, followed by very cordial shaking
hands and pleasant chat.



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