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Miss Spencer submitted the following
petition for woman suffrage by the women of the district of
Columbia:

_Whereas_, The Supreme Court or the District or Columbia in
the ease of Spencer against the Board of Registration has
decided that by the operation of the first section of the
XIV. Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,
"Women have been advanced to full citizenship and clothed
with the capacity to become voters," and

_Whereas_, The same court further decided that the said
first section of the XIV. Amendment does not execute
itself, but requires the supervention of legislative power
in the exercise of legislative discretion to give it effect.
And

_Whereas_, The Congress of the United States is the
legislative body having exclusive jurisdiction over this
District,

_Therefore_, We respectfully pray your honorable bodies for
the passage of an act amending an act entitled "An act to
provide a government for the District of Columbia," approved
Feb. 21, 1871, by striking the word "male" from the seventh
section of said act, thus placing the constitutional rights
of the women of this District, as declared by the highest
judicial tribunal, under the protection of the legislative
power.

She said it might surprise and encourage many, as it did her, to
learn that neither the Constitution of the United States nor any
State constitution, nor legislative enactment, general or local,
has ever forbidden women to vote. They have simply permitted
certain male citizens to vote, and have said nothing about women
whatever. It is one thing to forbid women to vote; it is quite
another thing to simply fail to expressly declare that they may.
Some people think the Bible forbids women to vote because it
doesn't say anything about it from beginning to end. True, it
does not give any authority for it. Neither does it give any
authority for using sewing-machines or clothes-wringers. The zeal
of the people who search the Scriptures in the interest of
bigotry and intolerance, assumes that all that is not commanded
to women is strictly forbidden. Judge Cartter says the general
Constitution interposes not a single obstacle to woman suffrage,
and there is therefore no need of a new amendment; while the
State constitutions simply leave her right in abeyance by
omitting to declare it. That this view of the general
constitution largely prevails is shown by so many women bringing
suits against those who have rejected their votes, under the
constitution as it is. Mrs. Spencer's manner is very pleasing,
and her speech was pungent and to the point. She closed with the
following pithy illustration of the need of woman's influence in
legislative matters:

I wanted a loaf of bread one day in a great hurry, and found
six dram-shops on one square and only one bakery, and that
was shut.

Mrs. Spencer was followed by Mrs. Gage, Mrs. Stanton, Mr. Black,
and Mr. Davis, of Philadelphia, son-in-law of Lucretia Mott.
Committees on resolutions and finance were appointed, and the
meeting adjourned till afternoon.

F. E. B.


WASHINGTON, Jan. 17.

This convention, of which I sent you some account in my last
letter, adjourned last night, _sine die_. Lincoln Hall has been
crowded at all the sessions except one, when an admission fee was
charged. And the admission fee worked up a little unpleasantness
in another direction, for in such a case a license has to be
bought of the city authorities. So on Thursday evening before the
meeting opened, word was sent to Miss Anthony in the ante-room,
that a police officer was after her. "Well, let him come then,"
she replied; "I shan't go after him, that's sure." In due time
the policeman walked in, brass buttons and all. Miss Anthony had
a pleasant little conversation with him for a few minutes. The
policeman was very mild and amiable, and so was Miss A. Having
had considerable experience with officers of justice(?), she has
gotten a little used to them--in fact, rather indifferent. Hard
knocks and rubs conduce to philosophy, and Miss Anthony has
acquired a philosophy akin to that of Diogenes in his tub. She
told the policeman she had no intention of paying this
government for the poor privilege of coming here to demand
justice at its hands. While Miss Anthony was as calm as a June
morning, and wholly indifferent in the matter, Mrs. Belva
Lockwood, a practicing attorney in this city, raised such a din
about the policeman's ears that he took to his heels, and didn't
darken the ante-room doors of Lincoln Hall again while the
convention was in session. That license remains _in statu quo_.

Mrs. Stanton said that people were always saying women didn't
want to vote, but the fact that the word "male" was in all the
statute books showed that men knew all the time that they would
vote if they had a chance. But whether they want to or not is a
matter, she claimed, that had nothing to do with the question. It
is time woman had a civil rights bill. No woman can enter
Columbia College, Princeton, Harvard, or Yale. During the century
we have spent $16,000,000 for the boys of New York, and
$1,500,000 for the girls. Are you willing to believe, women, that
your girls are sixteen times less valuable than the boys? What is
the reason of this low valuation of woman? Because she is never
to have anything to do with the State. It is a humiliating thing
to ask, but I insist that the white women of this country be
placed on the same civil and political footing with the colored
men from the plantations of the South. If a woman traveling alone
is belated at night, the hotels slam their doors in her face and
turn her into the street. We want a civil rights bill that shall
make every white woman just as respectable as a negro or a white
man.

Mrs. Blake followed with an anecdote of a girl who applied for
admission to Ann Arbor University. One of the sentences she had
to translate from the Greek was this one from Antigone: "Seeing
then that we are women, ought we not to be modest and not try to
compete with men?" She took the highest honors in Greek, and was
ahead of every man in the class. She prepared a Greek composition
and introduced this sentence: "Seeing then that we are men, ought
we not to be ashamed that we have been vanquished by women?"

Mrs. Stanton thought if girls could come out of colleges and
schools ahead of the boys in their studies, it was pretty clear
proof that they could accomplish almost anything within the power
of human capacity, for girls have to study under all sorts of
disadvantages that boys do not have to contend with. Hang a
hoop-skirt on a boy's hips; lace him up in a corset; hang pounds
of clothing and trailing skirts upon him; puff him out with humps
and bunches behind; pinch his waist into a compass that will
allow his lungs only half their breathing capacity; load his head
down with superfluous hair--rats, mice, chignons, etc., and stick
it full of hair-pins; and then set him to translating Greek and
competing for prizes in a first-class university. What sort of a
chance would he stand in running that race or any other!! Mrs.
Stanton read a civil rights bill for women, to be presented to
Congress. This bill is to secure to them, equally with colored
men, all the advantages and opportunities of life; open to them
all colleges of learning; secure to them the right to sit on
juries; to sue and be sued; to practice in all our courts on the
same terms with colored men; to be tried by a jury of their
peers; to be admitted to theaters and hotels alone; to walk the
streets by night and by day, to ramble in the forest, or beside
the lakes and rivers, as do colored men, without fear of
molestation or insult from any white man whatsoever, to secure
equal place and pay in this world of work.

She also presented a series of resolutions, nine in number. The
first five are for freedom generally, and no taxation without
representation. The sixth and seventh denounce the bills of
Senators Frelinghuysen and Logan, the former being designed to
deprive the women of the Territories of jury trial, and the
latter to restore the common law in the Territories. The eighth
recognizes the importance of the organization of the Grangers;
and the ninth opposes the granting of general amnesty to former
rebels. This resolution Mrs. Stanton denounced, speaking in favor
of universal amnesty. Quite a spicy discussion ensued on this
resolution, which was drawn up by Mrs. Joslyn Gage. Mrs. Stanton
in her remarks in opposition, said it was hardly worth while for
women in their conventions to throw any stigma on Jefferson
Davis. The institution of slavery was sustained by the North as
well as the South; the North got out expurgated editions of books
for the Southern market. It was in bad taste for the North to
denounce the South, and it was in particularly bad taste for
woman suffragists who are clamoring for representation and for
the ballot, to call for its denial to any part of the nation.

Col. R. J. Hinton, of Washington, also denounced the resolution,
saying that it violated one of the fundamental principles of the
woman suffrage platform, which is that the limitation of suffrage
is a gross outrage.



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