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As you
have publicly expressed your opposition to woman's enfranchisement,
not only through the papers, but also by a petition against it to
Congress, we feel sure you will gladly accept our invitation and let
us know your reason for the faith that is within you.

Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as president of the association and
convention, will afford you every opportunity for argument, and will
herself enter the list against you. Not only Mrs. Stanton, but all
members of the committee, cordially extend this invitation for debate,
to be held at any session most convenient for yourself.

An early answer is desirable.

MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE,
Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements.

[147] _Mrs. Matilda Joslyn Gage, Chairman Committee of
Arrangements_--MADAM: Mrs. Sherman and myself are this morning in
receipt of a note from you in which you invite us, in the name "of the
officers and speakers of the National Woman Suffrage Association," to
hold a debate upon the question of "woman suffrage," and mention that
"Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as President of the association and
convention, will afford every opportunity for argument, and will
herself enter the lists," etc.

In reply to this invitation, for which we thank you, in so far as it
may have been extended in a true desire to elicit fair argument, we
would remind you that in the very fact of soliciting us to "hold
debate" on a public platform, on this or any other question, you
entirely ignore the principle that ourselves and our friends seek to
defend, viz., the preservation of female modesty.

The functions of men and women in the State as citizens are
correlative and opposite. They can not be made common without
seriously impairing the public virtue.

Our men must be brave, and our women modest, if this country may hope
to fulfill her true mission for humanity.

We protest against woman suffrage, because the right of petition may
safely be considered as common to all, and its exercise most
beneficial.

We publish written articles, giving "our reasons for the faith that is
within us," because we may, consistently with the home life and its
duties, make such use of whatever talents God may have confided to our
keeping. To these printed articles, in which we have fully and at
different times explained our views, we are happy to refer you.

We likewise hold that an appeal to the public made in this manner is
much more likely to evolve a clear apprehension of this important
subject, as presenting a strict issue to the reasoning faculties, and
one undimmed by those personalities which generally are indulged in
during the course of oral debate.

I am, truly yours, MADELINE VICTOR DAHLGREN.

WASHINGTON, January 9, 1872.

[148] Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, Chairman, Roscoe Conkling of New
York, Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, Matthew Carpenter of Wisconsin.

[149] PEOPLE'S CONVENTION.--The undersigned citizens of the United
States, responding to the invitation of the National Woman Suffrage
Association, propose to hold a Convention at Steinway Hall, in the
city of New York, the 9th and 10th of May.

We believe the time has come for the formation of a new political
party whose principles shall meet the issues of the hour, and
represent equal rights for all.

As the women of the country are to take part for the first time in
political action, we propose that the initiative steps in the
convention shall be taken by them, that their opinions and methods may
be fairly set forth, and considered by the representatives from many
reform movements now ready for united action; such as the
Internationals, and other Labor Reformers--the friends of peace,
temperance, and education, and by all those who believe that the time
has come to carry the principles of true morality and religion into
the State House, the Court, and the market place.

This convention will declare the platform of the People's Party, and
consider the nomination of candidates for President and Vice-President
of the United States, who shall be the best possible exponents of
political and industrial reform.

The Republican party, in destroying slavery, accomplished its entire
mission. In denying that "citizen" means political equality, it has
been false to its own definition of Republican Government; and in
fostering land, railroad, and money monopolies, it is building up a
commercial feudalism dangerous to the liberty of the people.

The Democratic party, false to its name and mission, died in the
attempt to sustain slavery, and is buried beyond all hope of
resurrection.

Even that portion of the Labor party which met recently at Columbus,
proved its incapacity to frame a national platform to meet the demands
of the hour.

We therefore invite all citizens who believe in the idea of
self-government; who demand an honest administration; the reform of
political and social abuses; the emancipation of labor, and the
enfranchisement of woman, to join with us and inaugurate a political
revolution which shall secure justice, liberty, and equality to every
citizen of the United States.

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, ISABELLA BEECHER HOOKER,
MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE.

[150] The speakers were Rev. Olympia Brown, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Susan
B. Anthony, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Dr.
Clemence S. Lozier, Helen M. Slocum, Lillie Devereux Blake.


[Illustration: Belva A. Lockwood.]




CHAPTER XXIV.

NATIONAL CONVENTIONS 1873, '74, '75.

Fifth Washington Convention--Mrs. Gage on Centralization--May
Anniversary in New York--Washington Convention, 1874--Frances
Ellen Burr's Report--Rev. O. B. Frothingham in New York
Convention--Territory of Pembina--Discussion in the
Senate--Conventions in Washington and New York, 1875--Hearings
before Congressional Committees.

The fifth Washington Convention was held in Lincoln Hall, January 16th
and 17th, 1873. The President, Miss Anthony, in opening, said:

There are three methods of extending suffrage to new classes. The
first is for the Legislatures of the several States to submit the
question to the vote of the people; that is to those already
voters. Before the war this was the only way thought of, and
during all those years we petitioned to strike the word "male"
from the State Constitutions. The second method is for Congress
to submit to the several legislatures a proposition for a XVI.
Amendment that shall prohibit the States from depriving women
citizens of their right to vote. The third plan is to take our
rights under the XIV. Amendment of the Constitution which
declares "that all persons are citizens," and "no State shall
deny or abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens."

Again, there are two ways of securing the right of suffrage under
the Constitution as it is; one by a declaratory act of Congress
instructing the officers of election to receive the votes of
women, the other in appeals to the courts by instituting suits as
women have already done, in order to secure a judicial decision
on the broad interpretation of the Constitution "that all persons
are citizens, and all citizens voters." The vaults in yonder
Capitol hold the petitions of many thousands of women for a
Declaratory Act, and the calendars of our courts show that many
are already testing their right to vote under the XIV. Amendment.
I stand here under indictment for having exercised my right as a
citizen to vote at the last election; and by a fiction of the
law, I am now in custody, and not free on this platform.

A series of resolutions[151] were reported, and discussed at great
length.

After the appointment of committees,[A] Matilda Joslyn Gage made the
annual report. She said:

Though the casual observer might think but little progress had
been made during the year, this is not the fact. There has been
in many ways a marked advance, and although I do not claim to
have a complete and exact record, I would mention points which
have come under my notice.

Soon after the opening of the last session of Congress several
important bills were introduced. The Hon. Mr. Hoar introduced a
bill against Territorial disfranchisement, which, as women vote
in two Territories, was a bill having an important bearing upon
this question of suffrage. About the same time, the Hon. Mr.
Butler introduced a bill for a Declaratory Law to protect women
citizens in their right to vote. During the progress of our
annual Convention in January last, a memorial was presented, and
a hearing obtained before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The
speeches made by women at that time have been printed in pamphlet
form, and extensively circulated throughout the nation. Within a
few days after this hearing, a petition, containing 35,000 names,
was presented to the House by the Hon. Benjamin F. Butler. During
his remarks upon this occasion his coadjutors left their seats
and pressed around him, so anxious were they to hear, until, in
order to give all an equal chance, the Speaker was forced to call
to order.

The Hon. Matt. Carpenter made an elaborate argument before the
Supreme Court, in the Myra Bradwell case. Mrs. Bradwell, as is
well known, is the editor of a paper, entitled the _Legal News_,
which is ably conducted, and accepted as authority by the
profession. Mrs. Bradwell, upon applying for admission to the bar
in Illinois, found her husband a "legal disability," and carried
her case up to the Supreme Court. This argument was also
published and circulated in pamphlet form.

The Hon. Mr. Munroe, member from Indiana, presented a petition
from the women of that State, praying for the removal of
political disabilities; and in the Senate Mr.



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