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Sex can not be a qualification any more than
size, race, color, or previous condition of servitude. A
permanent or insurmountable qualification is equivalent to a
deprivation of the suffrage. In other words, it is the
tyranny of taxation without representation, against which
our revolutionary mothers, as well as fathers, rebelled.

For any State to make sex a qualification that must ever result
in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people, is to
pass a bill of attainder, or an _ex post facto_ law, and is
therefore a violation of the supreme law of the land. By it, the
blessings of liberty are forever withheld from women and their
female posterity. To them, this government has no just powers
derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government
is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious
aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy; the most hateful ever
established on the face of the globe. An oligarchy of wealth,
where the rich govern the poor; an oligarchy of learning, where
the educated govern the ignorant; or even an oligarchy of race,
where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but surely
this oligarchy of sex, which makes the men of every household
sovereigns, masters; the women subjects, slaves; carrying
dissension, rebellion into every home of the Nation, can not be
endured. And yet this odious aristocracy exists in the face of
Section 4, of Article 4, which says:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in the
Union a Republican form of government.

What, I ask you, is the distinctive difference between the
inhabitants of a Monarchical and those of a Republican form of
government, save that in the Monarchical the people are subjects,
helpless, powerless, bound to obey laws made by superiors--while
in the Republican, the people are citizens, individual
sovereigns, all clothed with equal power, to make and unmake both
their laws and their law makers. And the moment you deprive a
person of his right to a voice in the government, you degrade him
from the status of a citizen to that of a subject, and it matters
very little to him whether his monarch be an individual tyrant,
as is the Czar of Russia, or a 15,000,000 headed monster, as here
in the United States.

But, it is urged, the use of the masculine pronouns he, his, and
him, in all the constitutions and laws, is proof that only men
were meant to be included in their provisions. If you insist on
this version of the letter of the law, we shall insist that you
be consistent, and accept the other horn of the dilemma, which
would compel you to exempt women from taxation for the support of
the government, and from penalties for the violation of laws.

A year and a half ago I was at Walla Walla, Washington Territory.
I saw there a theatrical company, the "Pixley Sisters," playing
before crowded houses every night of the whole week of the
Territorial fair. The eldest of those three fatherless girls was
scarce eighteen. Yet every night a United States officer
stretched out his long fingers, and clutched six dollars of the
proceeds of the exhibitions of those orphan girls, who, but a few
years before, were starvelings in the streets of Olympia, the
capital of that far-off north-west territory. So the poor widow,
who keeps a boarding-house, manufactures shirts, or sells apples
and peanuts on the street corners of our cities, is compelled to
pay taxes from her scanty pittance. I would that the women of
this republic at once resolve, never again to submit to taxation
until their right to vote be recognized. Miss Sarah E. Wall, of
Worcester, Mass., twenty years ago, took this position. For
several years, the officers of the law distrained her property
and sold it to meet the necessary amount; still she persisted,
and would not yield an iota, though every foot of her lands
should be struck off under the hammer. And now, for several
years, the assessor has left her name off the tax list, and the
collector passed her by without a call. Mrs. J. S. Weeden, of
Viroqua, Wis., for the past six years has refused to pay her
taxes, though the annual assessment is $75. Mrs. Ellen Van
Valkenburg, of Santa Cruz, Cal., who sued the County Clerk for
refusing to register her name, declares she will never pay
another dollar of tax until allowed to vote; and all over the
country, women property holders are waking up to the injustice of
taxation without representation, and ere long will refuse, _en
masse_, to submit to the imposition.

There is no she, or her, or hers, in the tax laws. The statute of
New York reads:

Every person shall be assessed in the town or ward where he
resides when the assessment is made, for the lands owned by
him, etc. Every collector shall call at least once on the
person taxed, or at his usual place of residence, and shall
demand payment of the taxes charged on him. If any one shall
refuse to pay the tax imposed on him, the collector shall
levy the same by distress and sale of his property.

The same is true of all the criminal laws:

No person shall be compelled to be a witness against
himself, etc.

In the law of May 31, 1870, the 19th section of which I am
charged with having violated; not only are all the pronouns
masculine, but everybody knows that that particular section was
intended expressly to hinder the rebels from voting. It reads:

If any person shall knowingly vote without his having a
lawful right, etc.

Precisely so with all the papers served on me--the U. S.
Marshal's warrant, the bail-bond, the petition for habeas corpus,
the bill of indictment--not one of them had a feminine pronoun
printed in it; but, to make them applicable to me, the Clerk of
the Court made a little carat at the left of "he" and placed an
"s" over it, thus making she out of he. Then the letters "is"
were scratched out, the little carat placed under and "er" over,
to make her out of his, and I insist if government officials may
thus manipulate the pronouns to tax, fine, imprison, and hang
women, women may take the same liberty with them to secure to
themselves their right to a voice in the government.

So long as any classes of men were denied their right to vote,
the government made a show of consistency, by exempting them from
taxation. When a property qualification of $250 was required of
black men in New York, they were not compelled to pay taxes, so
long as they were content to report themselves worth less than
that sum; but the moment the black man died, and his property
fell to his widow, the black woman's name would be put on the
assessor's list, and she be compelled to pay taxes on the same
property exempted to her husband. The same is true of ministers
in New York. So long as the minister lives, he is exempted from
taxation on $1,500 of property, but the moment the breath goes
out of his body, his widow's name will go down on the assessor's
list, and she will have to pay taxes on the $1,500. So much for
the special legislation in favor of women. In all the penalties
and burdens of the government (except the military), women are
reckoned as citizens, equally with men. Also, in all the
privileges and immunities, save those of the jury-box and
ballot-box, the two fundamental privileges on which rest all the
others. The United States government not only taxes, fines,
imprisons, and hangs women, but it allows them to pre-empt lands,
register ships, and take out passport and naturalization papers.
Not only does the law permit single women and widows to the right
of naturalization, but Section 2 says:

A married woman may be naturalized without the concurrence
of her husband. (I wonder the fathers were not afraid of
creating discord in the families of foreigners); and again:
When an alien, having complied with the law, and declared
his intention to become a citizen, dies before he is
actually naturalized, his widow and children shall be
considered citizens, entitled to all rights and privileges
as such, on taking the required oath.

If a foreign-born woman, by becoming a naturalized, citizen, is
entitled to all rights and privileges of citizenship, is not a
native-born woman by her National citizenship, possessed of equal
rights and privileges?

The question of the masculine pronouns, yes and nouns too, has
been settled by the United States Supreme Court, in the case of
Silver _vs._ Ladd, December, 1868, in a decision as to whether a
woman was entitled to lands under the Oregon donation law of
1850. Elizabeth Cruthers, a widow, settled upon a claim and
received patents. She died, and her son was heir. He died. Then
Messrs. Ladd & Nott took possession, under the general
pre-emption law, December, 1861. The administrator, E. P. Silver,
applied for a writ of ejectment at the land office in Oregon
City. Both the Register and Receiver decided that an unmarried
woman could not hold land under that law. The Commissioner of the
General Land Office, at Washington, and the Secretary of the
Interior, also gave adverse opinions. Here patents were issued to
Ladd & Nott, and duly recorded. Then a suit was brought to set
aside Ladd's patent, and it was carried through all the State
Courts and the Supreme Court of Oregon; each, in turn, giving
adverse decisions.



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