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ANTHONY--MY DEAR FRIEND: As I am suffering from an attack of
vertigo, I answer your letter by the hand of my wife. Enclosed is my
contribution toward defraying the expenses of your convention. Strong
as is the Constitutional argument for woman suffrage, I nevertheless
hope that your convention will not tolerate the idea of measuring the
rights of woman by a man-made constitution. Have you heard of a State
in which women and women only bear rule, and the constitution of which
was made by women only? Perhaps there is such a flagrantly unjust
state, either on this or some other planet. If so, deep is the injury
done to its men. But deeper the insult added to this injury if, when
the men complain of being excluded from the government, the women
apply to the measurement of man's rights the yardstick of a woman-made
constitution. Constitutions are useful in settling ten thousand
subordinate questions. But the great questions of primary and inherent
human rights are to be submitted to no lower decisions than those of
God's immutable and everlasting justice.

With high regard, your friend, GERRIT SMITH.


GEN. BUTLER'S LETTER.

WASHINGTON, December 1.

MY DEAR MADAM: As a rule I have refused to take part in any convention
in the District of Columbia about any matter which might come before
Congress. I do not think it proper. I went far out of my way in this
regard, having given evidence that I am most strongly committed to the
legality, propriety and justice of giving the ballot to woman. I do
not see how I can add anything to it by appearing on the platform in
advocacy of any measure that may come before me as a Member of
Congress, and I do not think my sense of propriety would over-balance
such considerations. Hoping that your cause may succeed, I have the
honor to be, very truly yours,

BEN. F. BUTLER.

[158] ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE NATIONAL WOMAN SUFFRAGE
ASSOCIATION.--For more than a quarter of a century the representative
women of this nation have held annual meetings, demanding the
recognition of their rights as citizens of the United States. In halls
of legislation and courts of justice, as well as in Conventions,
woman's equality with man in all civil and political rights,
privileges and immunities, has been debated and variously decided by
popular opinion, statute law and judicial decree, without arriving at
any permanent settlement of the question. And until the world learns
that there should be but one code of laws and morals for man and
woman, this question never can be settled. But the discussion has
roused woman herself to new thought and action, and kindled in her an
enthusiasm that the best interests of the nation demand should be
wisely directed and controlled.

The fact that women are already voting, holding office and resisting
taxation, that thousands are enrolling in the Grange movement and
Temperance Crusade, that Woman Suffrage is to be voted upon in
Michigan at the next election, should warn the Government that the
hour for its action has come. It must now determine whether woman's
transition from slavery to freedom shall be through reformation or
revolution, whether she shall be permitted to express her interest in
national questions through law by the direct power of the ballot, or
outside of law by indirect and irresponsible power; and thus, by a
blind enthusiasm, plunge the nation into anarchy.

For an earnest discussion of the duty of the hour, we invite all
persons interested in woman's enfranchisement to meet in Irving Hall,
New York, on the 14th and 15th of May.

SUSAN B. ANTHONY, _President_.
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, _Chairman Ex. Com_.

[159] The speakers at this Convention were Ernestine L. Rose, Martha
C. Wright, O. B. Frothingham, Rev. Olympia Brown, Rev. Antoinette
Brown Blackwell, Elizabeth B. Phelps, Carrie S. Burnham, Sarah Andrews
Spencer, Frances V. Hallock, Amanda Deyo, Dr. J. Mix, Mrs. Helen M.
Slocum, Dr. Clemence S. Lozier, Lillie Devereux Blake, Susan B.
Anthony.

[160] Letters were received at this May Anniversary (1874) from
Lucinda B. Chandler, Vineland, New Jersey; Mrs. C. C. Hussey, Report
of New Jersey; Mary F. Davis, New Jersey; Catherine F. Stebbins,
Michigan; Mary J. Channing, Paulina Wright Davis, Rhode Island; Alfred
H. Love, Edward M. Davis, Sarah Pugh, Philadelphia; Lorenza Haynes,
Theological School, St. Lawrence University, Canton, N. Y.; Sarah R.
L. Williams, Toledo, Ohio; Harriet S. Brooks, Report for Illinois;
Catharine V. Waite, Illinois; Lizzie Boynton Harbert, Iowa; Virginia
L. Minor, Missouri; Annie L. Quinby, Kentucky; Sarah Burger Stearns,
Duluth, Minnesota; Hon. Benj. F. Butler, Massachusetts; Mrs. C. H.
Baker, Mrs. H. K. Clapp, Nevada; Sarah J. Wallis, California; Mrs. C.
I. H. Nichols, Pomo, California; Mariana Thompson Folsom, Foxboro,
Mass.; Emily P. Collins, La.; Mary K. Spalding, Atlanta, Ga.; Mrs.
Matilda Joslyn Gage, New York; Mary L. Booth, _Harper's Bazar_, New
York; Ann T. Greeley, Ellsworth, Me.; Mary Olney Brown, Olympia,
Washington Territory.

[161] _Resolved_, That as complete individual development depends on
the harmonious exercise of our three-fold nature, and undue power
given to either deranges and undermines the whole being, so in the
nation, a complete experiment of self-government can be made only by
the equal recognition of the rights of all citizens, and in their
homogeneous education into the laws of national life.

_Resolved_, That the decision of Chief Justice Waite, in the case of
Virginia L. Minor of Missouri, that according to the Federal
Constitution woman is a citizen, but not entitled to the right of
suffrage, is more infamous and retrogressive in principle at this
hour, than was Chief-Justice Tancy's decision in the Dred Scott case,
that a black man was not a United States citizen, and therefore not
entitled to the rights of a citizen of every State.

_Whereas_, By the recent decisions of the Supreme Court in the case of
Myra Bradwell of Illinois, and of Virginia L. Minor of Missouri, the
Federal Constitution is declared powerless to protect the civil and
political rights of woman.

_Resolved_, That it is the duty of Congress to take the necessary
steps to secure an amendment to the Constitution that shall prohibit
the several States from disfranchising citizens of the United States
on account of sex.

_Whereas_, One of the strongest evidences of the degradation of
disfranchised classes is the denial of their right to testify against
their rulers in courts of justice (slaves could not testify against
their masters; Chinamen in California to-day can not testify against
white men, nor wives in cases of crim. con. against their husbands);
therefore

_Resolved_, That the denial of Elizabeth R. Tilton's right to testify
in the pending Brooklyn trial, is but proof of woman's need of the
ballot in her own right for self-defence and self-protection.

_Resolved_, That as the proposition for woman's enfranchisement is to
be submitted in Iowa, in 1876, the National Woman Suffrage Association
will hold there 100 county conventions, and by lectures and the
circulation of tracts, help the women of Iowa to make a thorough
canvass of the State.

_Resolved_, That we congratulate the women of England for the large
vote secured on the Woman's Disabilities Bill in the House of Commons.
With a Queen on her throne, 400,000 women already voting, and her
Premier in favor of the measure, England bids fair to take the lead in
the complete enfranchisement of women.

[162] Rev. O. B. Frothingham, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Rev. Olympia Brown,
Lillie Devereux Blake, Carrie S. Burnham, Mrs. Stanton, and Miss
Anthony.

[163] Matilda Joslyn Gage, President; Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, Vice-Presidents; Henrietta P. Westbrook, Recording Secretary;
Isabella Beecher Hooker, Corresponding Secretary; Ellen Clark Sargent,
Treasurer; Susan B. Anthony and fifteen others, Executive Committee.




CHAPTER XXV.

TRIALS AND DECISIONS.


Women voting under the XIV. Amendment--Appeals to the
Courts--Marilla M. Ricker, of New Hampshire, 1870--Nannette B.
Gardner, Michigan--Sarah Andrews Spencer, District of
Columbia--Ellen Rand Van Valkenburgh, California--Catharine V.
Waite, Illinois--Carrie S. Burnham, Pennsylvania--Sarah M. T.
Huntingdon, Connecticut--Susan B. Anthony, New York--Virginia L.
Minor, Missouri--Judges McKee, Jameson, Sharswood,
Cartter--Associate Justice Hunt--Chief Justice Waite--Myra
Bradwell--Hon. Matt. H. Carpenter--Supreme Court Decisions--Mrs.
Gage's Review.

We have already shown in previous chapters that by a fair
interpretation of the XIV. Amendment women were logically secured in
their right to vote. Encouraged by the opinions of able lawyers and
judges, they promptly made a practical test of this question by
registering and voting during the State and Presidential elections of
1871 and '72. This transferred the discussion, for a time, from the
platform and halls of legislation to the courts for final
adjudication.

The first woman to offer her vote was Marilla M. Ricker, of Dover, New
Hampshire, a young widow of large property. In March,[164] 1870, the
day previous to the election, she made application to the selectmen
for registry. No objection being made, and one of the Board, promising
to put her name on the check-list, she departed, leaving with them
several copies of a speech she had prepared in case of a refusal. On
election day she appeared at the polls and offered a straight
Republican ticket. It was received by the moderator and her name
called, but on examination of the list it was found that the selectman
had been false to his promise, and her vote was refused. Extended
comments were made by the press of the State, Democrats generally
sustaining her, while Republicans were bitter in opposition. Mrs.
Ricker in the meantime prepared to sue the selectmen, but being
strongly opposed by her republican friends, she silently submitted to
the injustice, and thus lost the opportunity of being the first woman
to prosecute the authorities for refusing the vote of a citizen on the
ground of sex.



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