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I do not know if the ladies were invited
to "call again," but am quite sure that Miss Anthony's parting
salutation was an "au revoir." There was some quiet by-play as
the audience dispersed, a little interchange of knowing nods and
condescending smiles, as if to say, "we can keep these absurd
pretensions at bay while _we_ live, and after us the deluge." I
have no doubt that to some persons it appears an extravagant joke
for women to aspire to political equality with the negro. King
George thought it a very good joke when his upstart colonists
steeped their tea in the salt water of Boston harbor, but the
laugh was on their side in the long run. History has no
precedents for the elevation of woman to a civic status, but we
are making precedents every day in our conduct of popular
government. In Athens--where woman was both worshiped and
degraded--the protectress of the city was a feminine ideal whose
glorious image crowned the Parthenon with consummate beauty. In
America, where woman is beloved and respected as nowhere else in
the world--if she is only true to the ideals of private and
public virtue--if she seeks power only as a means for the highest
good of the race, the old fable of the Pellas AthenŠ may become
real, and the nation acknowledge with grateful joy, that the
fathers "builded better than they knew," when they placed the
figure of a woman on the dome of their Capitol at Washington.

The second Washington Convention assembled at 10 o'clock, January
19th, 1870, in Lincoln Hall. Mrs. Stanton called the assemblage to
order and invited the Rev. Samuel J. May to open the convention with
prayer. Letters were read from John Stuart Mill, Robert Purvis, Clara
Barton, and others. Miss Barton appealed to her soldier friends in
behalf of woman's right of suffrage thus:

Brothers, when you were weak, and I was strong, I toiled for you.
Now you are strong, and I am weak because of my work for you, I
ask your aid. I ask the ballot for myself and my sex, and as I
stood by you, I pray you stand by me and mine.

Mr. Purvis closed his eloquent letter with these sentiments:

Censured as I may be for apparent inconsistency, as a member and
an officer of the American Anti-Slavery Society, in approving a
movement whose leaders are opposed to the passage of the XV.
Amendment, I must be true to my own soul, to my sense of the
absolute demands of justice, and hence, I say that, much as I
desire (and Heaven knows how deeply through life I have
antagonized therefor) the possession of all my rights as an
American citizen, were I a woman, black or white, I would resist,
by every feeling of self-respect and personal dignity, any and
every encroachment of power, every act of tyranny (for such they
will be), based upon the impious, false, and infamous assumption
of superiority of sex.

Mr. Sinclair Toucey, of New York, wrote a letter in which he said:

The argument of to-day against the legal and political equality
of the sexes carries one back to the days of pro-slavery
ascendency, and brings vividly to mind the old wail of the
non-humanity of the negro, and his lack of capacity for
civilizing improvements: and though the opponents of equal rights
for both sexes do not go quite so far as to deny the humanity of
women, yet one might believe they would, did not such a denial
involve their own status.... In a feeble manner I fought the old
pro-slavery dogma, and in a feeble manner I am trying to fight
its twin--the non-equality of the sexes.... I believe in the
brotherhood of man, regardless of sex, color, or birth-place, and
that every member of the great family is entitled to equal rights
in life's ceaseless struggles.

Mr. Mill's letter was as follows:

AVIGNON, France, Dec. 11, 1869.

DEAR MADAM: I should have reason to be ashamed of myself if your
name were unknown to me. I am not likely to forget one who stood
in the front rank of the woman's rights movement in its small
beginnings, and helped it forward so vigorously in its early and
most difficult stages. You and Mrs. Mott have well deserved to
live to see the cause in its present prosperity, and may now
fairly hope to see a commencement of victory in some of the
States at least. I have received many kind and cordial
invitations to visit the United States, and were I able, the
great convention to which you invite me would certainly be a
strong inducement to do so. My dislike to a sea voyage would not
of itself prevent me, if there were not a greater obstacle--want
of time. I have many things to do yet, before I die, and some
months (it is not worth while going to America for less) is a
great deal to give at my time of life, especially as it would
not, like ordinary traveling, be a time of mental rest, but
something very different. I regret my inability the less, as the
friends of the cause in America are quite able to dispense with
direct personal co-operation from England. The really important
co-operation is the encouragement we give one another by the
success of each in our own country. For Great Britain this
success is much greater than appears on the surface, for our
people, as you know, shrink much more timidly than Americans from
attracting public notice to themselves; and the era of great
public meetings on this subject has not arrived in our country,
though it may be near at hand. I need hardly say how much I am
gratified at the mode in which my name was mentioned in the
National Convention at Newport, and still more at the tribute to
the memory of my dear wife, who from early youth was devoted to
this cause, and had done invaluable service to it as the inspirer
and instructor of others, even before writing the essay so
deservedly eulogized in your resolutions. To her I owe the far
greater part of whatever I have myself been able to do for the
cause, for though from my boyhood I was a convinced adherent of
it, on the ground of justice, it was she who taught me to
understand the less obvious bearings of the subject, and its
close connection with all the great moral and social interests of
the cause. I am, dear madam, very sincerely yours,

J. S. MILL.
To Mrs. Paulina W. Davis.

Senator Pomeroy, of Kansas, was introduced and made some very
appropriate remarks:

He said he was no new convert to this idea of woman's right to
suffrage. Woman claims the right to vote, not because she is a
woman, and stronger or weaker than man, but because she is a
citizen, amenable to the laws and under the control of the
government. He did not propose to vote to simply give woman the
franchise, but to remove the obstacles that now forbid the
exercise of that right. He welcomed to this organization every
earnest worker, and he was glad to hear that they were stirring
up the elements. He had been waiting for the last two months for
petitions, but he thought the franchise would never be secured to
any class until it was imbedded in the constitution, and put
beyond the freaks of politicians and majorities in State
Legislatures. He was in favor of carrying the movement into the
fundamental law of the land. The negro's hour is passed, and it
is woman's hour now. The negro has had his day, his cause has
triumphed, and as woman is a citizen, and we need her ballot in
the government, I hope that this movement may have a triumphant
success.

Committees[128] were appointed. Mrs. Wright of Auburn, N. Y., stated
that her sister, Lucretia Mott, had charged her with a message to the
Convention, she sent her "God speed" to the movement, and regretted
that she could not be present.

Paulina W. Davis read an interesting history of the woman's rights
movement, giving a brief sketch of its leaders. Miss Anthony
introduced a series of resolutions,[129] which were laid on the table
for debate.

Mrs. M. GAGE, Secretary of the Suffrage Association of New York,
addressed the Convention. She thought the world had never yet
seen what woman could do, because she had never been given the
opportunity. The ballot is the symbol of a higher power than a
king's crown; it is the promise of justice to him who holds it.
John Bright said no oppression, however hoary headed, could stand
the voice of the people.

Mrs. SUSAN EDSON, of Washington, desired to have the Committee on
Resolutions urge upon Congress the passage of the bill now before
it, providing for the reorganization of the Treasury Department,
but opposing that section of the bill which fixes the salary of
the female employees lower than that of the men. She thought this
was a proper subject for the convention to discuss.

At the evening session Mrs. Josephine S. Griffing occupied the chair.

Hon. JAMES M. SCOVILL, of New Jersey, said:--I believe in
heroism. Grant won with the sword at Appomattox what Charles
Sumner contended for half a century--an idea. That idea is the
liberty of all, limited by the like liberty of each. To-night we
are here to bow to conscience, not to caste. Susan B. Anthony,
the heroine of the hour, sustained by such brave souls as crowd
this platform, who for the last twenty years have worked without
fear and without reproach, deserves the thanks of millions yet
to be, for she is the hero, the champion of the same idea for
which Abraham Lincoln and half a million soldiers died. The
emancipation of man was the proposition. The enfranchisement of
woman was not the corollary to that proposition, but the major
premise.

John Stuart Mill, in his great book, "The Subjection of Women,"
denies the superior mental capacity of man when compared with
woman.



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