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I propose to offer Mrs. Griffing and two or three
other ladies for registration, two or three months hence, when
the time comes, here. (Applause.) If they are not registered, I
propose to try the strength of the Supreme Court of the District
of Columbia, composed of five intelligent gentlemen, and known
not to be conservatives on some questions, whatever they will
prove to be on this, and see whether they will issue a mandamus.
If they won't, I will take the case to the Supreme Court of the
United States, and one of the present judges of that Court, who
is not pre-eminently in favor of what is called woman's rights,
recently passed upon this XIV. Amendment. In the case of the
"Live Stock Dealers" et al. _vs._ "The Crescent City Live Stock
Company," in the circuit court of the United States, at New
Orleans, Judge Bradley, of the Supreme Court of the United
States, said of the XIV. Amendment:

"It is possible that those who framed the article were not
themselves aware of the far-reaching character of its terms.
They may have had in mind but one particular phase of social
and political wrong, which they desired to redress. Yet, if
the amendment, as framed and expressed, does, in fact, bear
a broader meaning, and does extend its protecting shield
over those who were never thought of when it was conceived
and put in form, and does reach such social evils which were
never before prohibited by Constitutional Amendment, it is
to be presumed that the American people, in giving it their
imprimatur, understood what they were doing, and meant to
decree what has, in fact, been done.

"It embraces much more. The 'privileges and immunities'
secured by the original Constitution were only such as each
State gave to its own citizens. Each was prohibited from
discriminating in favor of its own citizens, and against the
citizens of other States.

"But the XIV. Amendment prohibits any State from abridging
the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United
States, whether its own citizens or any others. It not
merely requires equality of privileges, but it demands that
the privileges and immunities of all citizens shall be
absolutely unabridged, unimpaired."--_Mrs. Bradwell's Legal
News._

What "particular phase of social and political wrong" could have
been in the mind of the clear-seeing judge when he gave forth
these utterances?

Gentlemen and ladies, when I stand in the presence of and
contemplate for a moment this great XIV. Article, the crown of
the now perfected Constitution, I bow with amazed reverence to
it. It shines upon me with the light of a new revelation. And
this argument is great from no effort of mine, but great in its
power of self-enunciation. This article is one of those great
principles that come, Messiah like, to announce themselves. It
needed no forerunner, and it works its own miracles in its own
good time, and will convert all to its own sway, and to its own
purposes. And, I trust that ere long we shall hear from the
committee of the House upon this question, and that we shall get
enlightened and intelligent discussion of it in the House of the
American Representatives.

Here the argument closes, but suffer a word further. It is said
that woman does not want the suffrage. Who says that she does not
want it? Man says so and nobody else. Man asks the question, and
answers it himself. I know it often comes from female lips, but
it is man's answer.

I deny that women have declared that they don't want the ballot.
They have never been asked whether they want it. When we want a
response from men how do we propound the question? We submit it
formally to be voted upon by the ballot. That is the way we
propound a political question to men. How do they answer it? They
answer it by their solemn votes at the ballot box. Propound this
question, and in this solemn way to the women of the United
States. Pass a law to that effect and take a vote, or else
forever stop--close up all gabble on this subject, that women do
not want it. Offer her the chance by which she can speak and see
whether she wants it or not, and let her vote "yes" or "no." Then
from that we will take another start. But don't refuse to let her
answer, and assume to answer for her, and say you represent her.
You barely succeed in misrepresenting men at your best, let alone
this atrocious twaddle about representing women. Let her vote,
and then we can tell whether you have a right to represent her or
not.

We men have made the institutions for men, and for men alone;
never consulted woman. We have said she was nobody, and nowhere,
or, if she was found anywhere she was out of her sphere,
(laughter) and must go back to nowhere immediately, and to
nobody. We have gravely assumed that we understood her nature and
character better than she did herself. It is one of the wondrous
elements of the sexes that they shall perpetually reveal
themselves to each other, and neither shall ever fully comprehend
the other. Let woman speak for herself. Give her a chance to
speak as man speaks, by precisely the same language, and in the
same manner, and then reverently incline your heads, and listen
to what she says.

I have said this great question is up for final argument. My
mission was simply to present to you this dry, but very
interesting question of woman's rights, under the XIV. Amendment.
To my mind, the argument is perfectly invincible. It never can be
met, and never will be, and it will, ultimately work out its own
end.

Thanking you for the kindness with which you have listened to me,
I leave this matter with you.


ADDRESS OF MRS. ISABELLA BEECHER HOOKER.

Mrs. HOOKER said: We are told by men themselves that there are
too many voters already; restriction is what we want, not
enlargement of the suffrage. Let us see how this is, my
friends--let us reason together on this point for a few moments.
The one great propelling power of this Government that moves the
great political engine, and that keeps us alive as a Nation on
the face of the earth, is God's own doctrine of personal liberty
and personal responsibility. That is all we have to go upon. It
is, in fact, fuel and steam. Liberty is the steam, responsibility
puts on the brakes, and then what is the safety-valve, I ask you?
Is it not our election day? Look at it in this way. Every honest
lawyer will tell you that the next best thing to settling a
quarrel between two belligerents is to bring the parties into
court. Because the court-room is a great cooling off place, a
perfect refrigerator. A man who has quarreled with his neighbor
comes into court, and, before the lawyers get through with him,
he wishes he hadn't quarreled. How is it that our courts act in
this way? What do we gain in this? Everything. In old times a
dispute between man and man was settled by
blows--fisticuffs--gradually superseded by the sword, at last by
the pistol; and now we have thrown that out, and established a
system of jurisprudence. Now all these petty grievances must be
settled in court. Private violence must no longer be permitted,
and that is a great march in civilization.

The parallel case is this: We in this country--we men, I mean,
for women are nobodies and nowhere when you come to the
discussion of great questions like these, but I use the
conventional we--we in this country are attempting to carry our
ideas of liberty and responsibility into legislation, and we
don't agree--we quarrel bitterly and almost come to blows
again--but election days cool us off, acting like a court-room
itself. We accept their judgment, and go about our business
quietly till next time. Now if we were all Americans, acting
under an intelligent sense of responsibility, everything might be
expected to run smoothly under this regime; but the trouble is
when the foreigner comes in who does not understand our
institutions, who is, perhaps, ignorant, debased, and
superstitious. But the foreigner is, it seems to me, the very man
who needs this safety-valve of the election day more than any
other on the face of the globe. We ourselves could run our own
nationality; but here comes this man from the principalities of
the old world--from Europe we will say, to begin with--and he has
an idea that he is going to be richer, smarter, happier, more on
an equality with every other man than ever he was before. He
comes here, and what does he find? He finds a ladder, reaching
higher into the clouds, perhaps, but the lower rounds are just as
near the earth as over there, and he is on the lowest round
still. He sees his next-door neighbor has more money than he has,
is better educated, and commands the respect of the community, as
he does not, and he is filled with disappointment, and sometimes
with rage. What would he naturally do, with his old world
antecedents and training, when he is thus aggrieved as he
conceives himself to be? Why, burn your barn, break into your
house, steal all he could from you. But what does election day do
for him? On that day he is as good as anybody. He goes to the
polls side by side with the first man in the land, and he rides
in a carriage there, if he is too drunk to walk, and he can vote
the first man in the line, if he chooses.



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