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A woman is
God's chief engineer in the home. She ought to have a clear eye
and a deep heart and a wide understanding. You can't make a woman
too broad, too strong, too high, too deep in all generous
enthusiasm for the purposes of the family, for it takes strong
women to bring up strong men and strong women. In regard to this
matter I wonder that people should attempt to separate so much by
guess. Hear people say, "What will be the effect?" As if this
thing was not already demonstrated--as if history was not already
a picture of what the result will be. Will you be good enough to
tell me which woman you think to-day is the superior? There is
the problem: the Asiatic woman is the woman we hear tell about;
just look at her--a do-nothing, a know-nothing woman! The
European woman is the woman that has been cultured. Which is the
superior to-day? which commands most respect?

Delicacy in woman is sentiment, not appearance, not enamel, not
languishing airs. But it is asked, why make this disturbance? Why
not let a woman, if it is desired that she should be a student,
inquire of her husband? Suppose she hasn't got one. Young
gentlemen that are so fond of talking about the matter say, let
the women stay at home and take care of their families. Let me
ask you if you will agree to give every woman a family that
hasn't got one? If you will not, then hold your tongue. But even
taking the question in the way they put it, how would these young
men like their fathers to say, "Tom, Bill, you are both
Republicans. You have gone away from my notions; I am a good,
stanch, old-fashioned Democrat; and my advice to you, boys, is
that you stay at home and read, and think these matters over, and
I will go and vote for you,"--how would the boys like that?
Everybody is willing to be above everybody else, and this thing
of one man assuming that he is the superior of another, and
asking that other to knuckle down to him, is not popular. You
don't like it. And women don't like it any better than you
do--and they ought not to like it, either. Women can have all the
benefit of holding an opinion, but they shall not have the power
of expressing it. They go through all the labor and trouble of
loading, but can't fire off. Now, I affirm, that it is wrong to
give women the responsibilities of public life without giving
them the safety of public life, too.

But what practical use will the ballot be to women? Tell me what
practical use the ballot will be to men; then I will tell you of
what use it will be to women. A man that denies the right of
woman to the ballot must deny it to any body and all bodies. I
affirm another thing. I affirm that the ballot is a natural
right. To say that voting is an artificial thing is merely an
evasion. If there is any such thing as natural rights in the
world, it is the right of every person to have a voice in the
government that he shall live under, and in the electing of the
magistrate who shall make the laws by which he is to be governed.
But they say women don't want to vote. Well, I didn't want to
learn my letters, but I had to, and, on the whole, I am not sorry
for it. If men say women don't want the ballot, my reply is, they
need it, at any rate. In behalf of the poor and needy, I plead
for suffrage. They are the persons who are in just that place
where the hail of misfortune plays pitilessly upon them. I plead
for suffrage for women, not because the rich and refined need
it--they have already more than their heart could wish--but for
the great sisterhood of common women.

But, it is said, is it not subverting the order of the Bible; is
it not subverting those sound Christian maxims in respect to the
subordination of woman to man? Well, if you think it is, let the
husband vote first and the wife vote after; that settles that
point. I have looked through the Ten Commandments, and although I
find a great many things that you shall not do, I don't find
anywhere it says that you shall not vote; and I don't think that
there is a place in the Bible where it says that a woman shall
not vote; nor, since it pleased God to make thousands and
thousands of women that are superior to men, I don't believe that
he ever wrote a line to say that a woman who was superior should
be inferior. My friends, the true rendering of Scripture is this:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul,
and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself. In the kingdom of love
there is neither high nor low. Love knows no distinctions. It is
all equal in the kingdom of God; and wherever the human family
are supremely possessed by that one supreme, beneficent feeling
of love, there never can arise these disturbing elements.

* * * * *

Mrs. LIVERMORE said: _Ladies and Gentlemen_--Mr. Beecher very
pertinently said that women are allowed to _know_, but not to
_say_; they may make all the preparations necessary to
intelligent voting, but that they shall not vote. That is exactly
what is doing a vast deal of mischief the world over. If they are
not allowed to vote, and express their opinions upon the laws by
which they are to be governed, and if they are not to have opened
to them all proper fields of labor, they will turn their
attention to dressmaking, and to millinery, and to all the other
hot-beds of our fast modern life. It is doing great harm; and
that is one reason I earnestly plead in their behalf for the
ballot. Men say women shall not have the ballot. They must
petition and beg for it. Have not petitions been already made?
Have not 200,000 names been sent in to Congress already? Then
they say you must "organize;" and when that is done, and they
find the country rocked as by a traveling volcano, they then
say, "All women do not want to vote; all the women in the country
should ask for it, and beg for it, and petition for it."

Let me relate an incident that occurred in Boston at the office
of Chief Justice Chapman, four or five weeks ago. A man, a
guardian, came there with a writ of _habeas corpus_, which placed
in his charge two children in no wise related to him, and he
asked that he might have the control of the children, in
opposition to the claim of their mother, who desired to keep
them. The facts were briefly these: the woman had been happily
married; her husband died and left her a widow with two young
children. By the laws of the State of Massachusetts at that time,
she was not allowed to be their guardian, nor the guardian of any
body else's children. So the Judge of Probate appointed a
guardian for the children, who magnanimously allowed them to
remain in their mother's care. After two or three years she
committed the unpardonable crime of marrying again, a thing that
no man was ever guilty of. The marriage was perfectly acceptable
to her former husband's relatives, but the guardian was so
displeased with it, that he got out a writ of _habeas corpus_,
and demanded of Chief Justice Chapman that the children be
remanded to his custody. We are apt to boast of Massachusetts and
its laws, but here was a case in which the Chief Justice, after
hearing the case, actually remanded these children to the
possession of that man. The court-room was crowded; the
excitement was intense; the poor mother sank down in a deadly
faint. I say such laws are an outrage upon womanhood, and they
arise simply and solely from a deep contempt for womanhood. This
contempt is palpable throughout all the entire code of laws.

Another argument that is frequently made against the extension of
the suffrage to woman is this: "If women go to the polls it is
going to take them away from their homes and families." These
arguments are urged with as much pertinacity as if the polls were
open three hundred and sixty-five days in the year, and
twenty-four hours each day, and that all that people did was to
lie around the polls and vote, and vote, and vote, and vote.

Another statement is, that it is because women have been kept out
of politics that they are pure and good. Well, now, it is a poor
rule that won't work both ways, and if disfranchisement has made
such angels of women, suppose you try it a little on men. I have
a firm belief that the men need, infinitely more than the women
do, the influence that woman will bring with her to the ballot;
not because woman is better, but because she is the other half of
humanity. It reminds me of the account of the battle of
Gettysburg, given by a colonel of a Western regiment. His
regiment was placed among the reserves, on an eminence, where
they could see the battle as it went on. "There we stood," said
the colonel; "our brave men trying to serve their country; able
to do it, and anxious to do it. Yet we were kept the whole of the
first day watching the fight go on. On the second day another
regiment, which had been much associated with ours, was called
into action. We saw them marching, their guns aslant, as if there
was no battle being carried on, or deeds of death and
destruction--and all the while, as they marched, the grape, and
the canister, and the shot, and the shell, tore their ranks
terribly; and men fell dead in all directions; and still those
who yet remained carried their guns in the same position, and
kept time, and closed up, and closed up, until my agitation
became so unendurable that I forgot all else, and cried out,
'Oh, God!



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