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A singularly
anomalous position for a criminal, traveling about the country as a
teacher of morals to the people! Learning that in case the jury
returned a verdict of guilty the judge must declare the costs of the
trial against the defendants, she determined to canvass Monroe County,
in order to make a verdict of "guilty" impossible. She held meetings
in twenty-nine of the post-office districts, speaking on the equal
rights of all citizens to the ballot. Hearing that District Attorney
Crowley threatened to move her trial out of that county, she sent him
word that she would then canvass the next with an army of speakers.

The court sat in Rochester May 13th, but several days passed without
calling the case. Finally, it was moved by District Attorney Crowley,
merely to ask its adjournment to the June United States Circuit Court
at Canandaigua. Counsel protested, but without avail, and both the
women and the Inspectors were again required to answer the charge and
renew bail. This motion for change of venue was made on Friday, and
the following Monday night Miss Anthony held her first meeting in
Ontario County. In the twenty-two days before the convening of the
Court she made twenty-one speeches. Matilda Joslyn Gage came to her
aid, and spoke in sixteen townships, thus together making a thorough
canvass of that county. Miss Anthony's speech, "Is it a crime for a
United States citizen to vote," and that of Mrs. Gage, "The United
States on trial, not Susan B. Anthony," were most effective in rousing
general thought on the vital principles of republican government, and
did much toward enlightening the possible jury in the coming trial.

The last meeting of the series was held at Canandaigua on the evening
before the trial. Strong resolutions against these acts of injustice
toward woman were introduced by Mrs. Gage, and unanimously indorsed by
the audience. Thus the case went to trial with ample opportunity for
the District Attorney and the Judge to know the opinions of the
people, and for the men of Ontario to be too generally enlightened on
the subject to find any twelve who could be trusted to bring in a
verdict of guilty against the women for voting, or the inspectors for
receiving their votes.

The following is the argument which Miss Anthony made in twenty-nine
of the post office-districts of Monroe, and twenty-one of Ontario, in
her canvass of those counties, prior to her trial, June 17, 1873:

FRIENDS AND FELLOW CITIZENS:--I stand before you to-night, under
indictment for the alleged crime of having voted illegally at the
last Presidential election. I shall endeavor this evening to
prove to you that in voting, I not only committed no crime, but
simply exercised my "citizen's right," guaranteed to me and all
United States citizens by the National Constitution, beyond the
power of any State to deny.

Our democratic republican government is based on the idea of the
natural right of every individual member thereof to a voice and a
vote in making and executing the laws. We assert the province of
government to be to secure the people in the enjoyment of their
inalienable rights. We throw to the winds the old dogma that
governments can give rights. Before governments were organized,
no one denies that each individual possessed the right to protect
his own life, liberty, and property. And when 100 or 1,000,000
people enter into a free government, they do not barter away
their natural rights; they simply pledge themselves to protect
each other in the enjoyment of them, through prescribed judicial
and legislative tribunals. They agree to abandon the methods of
brute force in the adjustment of their differences, and adopt
those of civilization. The Declaration of Independence, the
National and State Constitutions, and the organic laws of the
Territories, all alike propose to protect the people in the
exercise of their God-given rights. Not one of them pretends to
bestow rights.

All men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with
certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these,
governments are instituted among men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed.

Here is no shadow of government authority over rights, nor
exclusion of any class from their full and equal enjoyment. Here
is pronounced the rights of all men, and "consequently," as the
Quaker preacher said, "of all women," to a voice in the
government. And here, in this very first paragraph of the
Declaration, is the assertion of the natural right of all to the
ballot; for, how can "the consent of the governed" be given, if
the right to vote be denied. Again:

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or
abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its
foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in
such forms as to them shall seem most likely to effect their
safety and happiness.

Surely, the right of the whole people to vote is here clearly
implied. For, however destructive to their happiness this
government might become, a disfranchised class could neither
alter nor abolish it, nor institute a new one, except by the old
brute force method of insurrection and rebellion. One half of the
people of this Nation to-day are utterly powerless to blot from
the statute books an unjust law, or to write there a new and a
just one. The women, dissatisfied as they are with this form of
government, that enforces taxation without representation,--that
compels them to obey laws to which they have never given their
consent--that imprisons and hangs them without a trial by a jury
of their peers--that robs them, in marriage, of the custody of
their own persons, wages, and children--are this half of the
people left wholly at the mercy of the other half, in direct
violation of the spirit and letter of the declarations of the
framers of this government, every one of which was based on the
immutable principle of equal rights to all. By those
declarations, kings, priests, popes, aristocrats, were all alike
dethroned, and placed on a common level, politically, with the
lowliest born subject or serf. By them, too, men, as such, were
deprived of their divine right to rule, and placed on a political
level with women. By the practice of those declarations all class
and caste distinction will be abolished; and slave, serf,
plebeian, wife, woman, all alike, will bound from their subject
position to the proud platform of equality.

The preamble of the Federal Constitution says:

We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more
perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic
tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the
general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to
ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.

It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet
we, the male citizens, but we, the whole people, who formed this
Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty,
but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of
our posterity, but to the whole people--women as well as men. And
it is downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of
the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the
only means of securing them provided by this democratic
republican government--the ballot.

The early journals of Congress show that when the Committee
reported to that body the original Articles of Confederation, the
very first article which became the subject of discussion was
that respecting equality of suffrage. Article 4th said:

The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and
intercourse between the people of the different States of
this Union, the free inhabitants of each of the States
(paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted),
shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of
the free citizens of the several States.

Thus, at the very beginning, did the fathers see the necessity of
the universal application of the great principle of equal rights
to all--in order to produce the desired result--a harmonious
union and a homogeneous people. Luther Martin, Attorney-General
of Maryland, in his report to the Legislature of that State of
the convention that framed the United States Constitution, said:

Those who advocated the equality of suffrage took the matter
up on the original principles of government; that the reason
why each individual man in forming a State government should
have an equal vote, is because each individual, before he
enters into government, is equally free and equally
independent.

James Madison said:

Under every view of the subject, it seems indispensable that
the mass of the citizens should not be without a voice in
making the laws which they are to obey, and in choosing the
magistrates who are to administer them.

Also,

Let it be remembered, finally, that it has ever been the
pride and the boast of America that the rights for which she
contended were the rights of human nature.

And these assertions of the framers of the United States
Constitution of the equal and natural rights of all the people to
a voice in the government, have been affirmed and reaffirmed by
the leading statesmen of the nation, throughout the entire
history of our Government.

Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsylvania, said in 1866:

I have made up my mind that the elective franchise is one of
the inalienable rights meant to be secured by the
Declaration of Independence.

B.



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