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Let Republicans go to
their primary meetings, and offer woman suffrage resolutions
there. Let Democrats go and do likewise. Let every woman take
tracts bearing on the subject and give her influence and labor to
the work. Let us all stand up as faithful representatives of a
great idea. Sooner or later, we shall see a noble reform party in
this country--I care not what its name--which will sweep away
forever the dens of immorality and drunkenness by which we are
surrounded, which will build up a Christian commonwealth--and
rule over it--not because it is powerful in numbers, but because
it is based upon the principles of the Declaration of
Independence, of universal justice and of impartial liberty.

Rev. HENRY WARD BEECHER said: I heartily concur with every word
spoken by Mr. Blackwell, and while on this point I wish to call
your attention to an argument used as against woman suffrage, by
men who perhaps might otherwise be with us. They argue that
universal suffrage is itself not a good but an evil, and that to
add to the evil is not to correct it. "It is bad," say they,
"that every white man shall vote," and it had to be pledged, for
political reasons, to give the ballot to 800,000 ignorant blacks;
but two bad things are not to be made right by now extending the
vote to women, a great majority of whom are in the lower walks of
life, and are not supposed to be competent to inform themselves.
This is a most plausible argument to those who are under the
unconscious influence of Pharisaism, to those who think that
wisdom lives and dies with them. It is a strong argument, too; I
don't know that you can put any stronger; but I am bold to make
the statement that, low and bad as human nature may be in some of
its phases, there is nothing in this world that is so safe to
trust or to believe in. And though governments may grow, and gain
experience here and there with perpetually shifting dynasties and
times, yet after all it is human nature that keeps governments up
and gives to the world its laws. The great underlying force is
genuine human nature with all its mistakes. We have recently had
a great illustration of this. I wish to call your attention to
one fact. If there was anything in this world that the mass of
the Northern people were unprepared for it was to take up arms
for the purpose of going to war with the South. Yet when the time
came, and it was flashed over the country that an attack was made
at the life of the Government, take notice that while the South
grew weaker and weaker in furnishing material for the army, the
North grew stronger and stronger, and had only got to its full
strength at the close of the war. Now during that time, by the
votes of the people, with a great party to back up the
opposition, with all the old predilections in favor of the South,
and the natural unwillingness of men to burden themselves with
taxation, this country, in which there was substantially a
universal manhood suffrage, voted to burden itself until three
thousand millions of debt was rolled up. There is an instance of
what men will do with universal suffrage. Yes, and that among the
common people; for the large copperhead element was to be found
among capitalists, not among the masses. "Well, but," it may be
said, "sober second thought will come; wait until the people come
to pay the debt, when currency depreciates and greenbacks become
scarce!" Now as they had gone to the war for a sentiment, a
patriotic sentiment, not because they had received material
damage or expected any pecuniary damage from the South, but
purely from the glorious sentiment of a united country, as they
fought through four years of the war backed up by votes at home,
so when the question came up, "Will you sustain the honor of the
Government? Will you pay the debt that has been incurred?" look
at the answer. Never did trap of dishonesty, so concealed in its
interior structure, present so tempting a bit of cheese to
humanity. Yet when the question came, after full discussion and
trial in all the States of the North successively, by majorities
that no man will choose now to gainsay or resist, by overwhelming
majorities, they said, "The debt shall be paid, every penny of
it!" The North so voted. It was the common people that voted it;
men that live on wages. By that experiment two things were shown;
one that when the whole people are appealed to, they do stand up
to the interests of the States better than educated classes do;
and the other, that when it comes to the question of sentiment or
National integrity, the common people are to be trusted; and it
is not the day, in the face of the magnificent disclosures of
that trying time, to say that it is unsafe to trust the welfare
of a country in the hands of such people. I say there is no man
that comes to years of discretion who is not fit for the
responsibilities of citizenship. Women will also improve when we
welcome them to the open air of liberty.

The sum of all these remarks is simply this, "Amen" to Brother
Blackwell.

LUCY STONE came forward and reminded the audience that a bill is
now before Congress which provides that the employees in the
Government departments at Washington and in both Houses of
Congress shall be equally paid irrespective of sex, and that
petitions should be sent to Congress advocating the passage of
the bill; that blanks for the purpose would be found in the hall,
and she hoped the friends of the cause would sign them. She read
a letter from Mr. Giles B. Stebbins regretting his inability to
be present, and expressing confidence in the ultimate triumphant
success of the cause.

Mr. POWELL, of the _Anti-Slavery Standard_, was introduced:
Ladies and gentlemen--My first feeling this morning was one of
congratulation in view of the encouraging auspices under which we
meet here to advocate the enfranchisement of women. I regard this
movement to-day as just entering upon its earliest efficient
practical work. The era of curiosity and novelty is past. There
is no longer in the public mind that feeling which has hitherto
manifested itself in connection with the discussion of the
proposition that women should vote. We have now to contend with
the more difficult and solid portion of the problem. The right of
woman to speak has been argued and settled; the right of woman to
the ballot has been quite generally admitted--indeed, almost
universally so--as it must be by any one who observes carefully
the arguments used to justify the extension of the ballot to men.
By the ratification of the XV. Amendment the question has been
finally settled in regard to all men, excepting perhaps the
Indians and Chinese, who may, however, be interpreted by and by
as having citizenship under this amendment. Logically and
inevitably, therefore, we come at this time to the consideration
of Mr. Julian's XVI. Amendment, as something which, if we were
not arguing for it, somebody else would be. It is the logical
sequence of what has gone before in the way of the experiment of
republican government in this country. There is no one--either
American or foreign-born--who has observed the workings of our
institutions and the progress of our country, who will say that
we must stand still. We must either go forward in our work of
extending suffrage until we finally reach universal suffrage, or
go back to a one-man power. The victims of the slave power are
to-day standing erect in the possession of equal citizenship on
the basis of absolute legal equality with the white men of the
country. Therefore, with slavery abolished, with our free-school
system, with newspapers scattered all over like snow-flakes
throughout the country, with free thought and free education,
there is not such a thing probable or possible as our going
backward to the system of one-man power. The question now to be
decided is the enfranchisement of women. And this question is at
last fairly before the world--not in newspapers alone, but in
State Legislatures, and even in Congress. Propositions are
pending in Washington for the enfranchisement of the women of the
District of Columbia, and for the enfranchisement by
Congressional authority of the women of the Territories. There is
also a Constitutional amendment proposed, which, if successful,
will abolish all political proscription on account of sex
everywhere throughout the country. My advice would be to
concentrate directly our chief energy on the larger part of the
problem. I believe in State action. I think it would be well to
go to Albany and to the Massachusetts Legislature and to the Ohio
Legislature, and to the Legislatures of all the States, and to
urge that the States take the initiative and enfranchise their
women. But I do not expect that any one State, whatever may be
the political opinion of that State, will go much in advance of
the nation at large. It seems to me that no political party
existing in any one State can establish the precedent of woman's
enfranchisement much in advance of the National Government. I
think it therefore the part of wisdom to concentrate directly
upon the National Legislature. I believe that one object of this
Convention to-day should be to concentrate its voice in an
emphatic resolution, asking that Mr. Julian's amendment be not
allowed to slumber into the hot weather of July, and then be
passed over entirely.



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