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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. I think we should make the voice of this
Association felt as a power for immediate effective work in the
direction I have indicated; and, if we speak earnestly, we shall
be felt and heard. Let us concentrate first upon the XVI.
Amendment and the proposition to enfranchise the women of the
District of Columbia. I hold that that District should be the
first battle-ground for the women of America to a national
precedent, as it was in the prior struggle for the abolition of
slavery. The District is immediately under the supervision of
your Representatives and mine, and members of Congress are to be
held personally responsible for the government which prevails
there. Let us then demand of Congress--demand, I say, because
that is the language of earnest reform--that it give us
forthwith, before the adjournment of the present session, a law
of equal suffrage for the women of the District of Columbia. In
the light of the recent action of the British Parliament, is this
asking too much? Should not we Americans be up to the level of a
test vote on this question--which has never yet been reached
either in the Senate or House of Representatives?

The President introduced GRACE GREENWOOD, who said: "I rise to a
personal explanation," as we say in Washington. When Colonel
Higginson yesterday overwhelmed me with his compliment, by the
proposition that I should belong to the Congress of the United
States, I wanted to say--had I not been so overwhelmed--in order
to set myself "right before the country," that there had been no
previous understanding between Colonel Higginson and myself; and
that as I didn't want to encourage any false hopes, and in fact
didn't want to go, I should decline the nomination. I prefer the
position he referred to--absolutely prefer my place in the
reporters' gallery. I know that a white reporter is as good as a
colored Senator, if he or she behaves himself or herself. I like
to look down upon that scene of legislation and feel that I am
out of it; though sometimes I feel like echoing Coldstream's
opinion in looking into Vesuvius, "There is nothing in it." I
like to sit in the gallery of the House and watch our few true
men. When women sit there, there will be justice done to them;
and, while I have the honor of reporting for the _Tribune_, there
will be justice done to women when any question concerning her
interests comes up in Washington. And here I would like to refer,
as others who have spoken have already referred, to the work to
be done in the Church. I think that many of our earnest,
eloquent, high-minded, religious women should make for the
pulpit. I have always felt that there was great point in the
doctrine of the orthodox Church on the birth of Christ. We have a
greater share in Him than men can have, as He received His
humanity--His sweet, tender, suffering humanity--wholly from
woman. And yet we have been made to keep silence in the house of
our Father even on such festivals as Christmas and Thanksgiving.
How would it seem if on these occasions the sons only were
allowed to thank our heavenly Father for His care and love, and
the daughters were allowed to sit quiet? But woman's piety, you
know, is a very good thing for home consumption, and is supposed
to consist in her quietly sitting at home and praying for her
husband and sons. Goodness knows, she always has enough to pray
for! There is an anecdote told of a loving son who once spoke of
the inestimable blessing of a fine mother. He was a preacher in
Illinois, and he said to his congregation, "Oh, my friends, I
have such a mother. I remember when I was a little lad, standing
by my mother's side on a Sabbath afternoon, as she sat with her
Bible open before her, how she turned from the blessed Word to
lay her hand upon my sunny head, and pray that I might grow up to
be a minister of the Gospel and a great man; and, brethren and
sisters, I stand before you to-day a living example of the
efficacy of that prayer." While Mrs. Livermore was speaking so
gloriously last night out of her mother's heart, of mothers
robbed by the law of their little ones, what mother's heart
didn't stir within her? My little one--she is about my height
now--but I never have been able to get rid of the sweet weight of
that baby head on my breast! My arms always have the feel of the
baby in them yet; and I can not express to you the horror--the
almost rage--with which I hear every story of such outrages on
the maternal heart. It was this feature of mother-robbery in the
system of slavery that always enraged me most against it. It was
just at that point that the system dipped deepest into hell.
Though slavery is gone, however, there are many evils yet
remaining in the laws which should be remedied, and not the least
of them is that which gives the father the entire control of the
children instead of the mother. Some fathers, however, are quite
willing to relinquish that control. I remember a colored woman in
Washington, in whose kitchen I once happened to be for a moment,
and, seeing several dark olive branches around, I said to her,
"Are these your children?" She said, "Yes." "How many have you?"
She said, "Seven, and all to support." I said to her, "Have you
no husband?" "Oh, yes," she said, "I have a husband; I was
married by a Methodist minister down South." "Well," said I, "why
don't he support the children?" "Oh," she said, "he's done gone
away." "Why has he left you?" "Oh, he was a very bright man," she
said (meaning that he was light in color), "and he thought that I
was too black." "But," I said, "didn't he know how black you were
before he married you?" "That is just what old Missus said--she
said, 'Why, you know'd she was black when you married her,' and
he said, 'Yes, but den she didn't have so many relations about
her.'" "What relations?" "Children!" Her children, of course, and
his, too. "He doesn't want so many of my relations about, so he's
done gone off." When a man doesn't want to go, the children are
his "property"; when he wants to desert his wife, they are her
"relations." I would be willing to have the strictest morality
enjoined as a qualification for the ballot. But, as it is a poor
rule that would not work both ways, if that test were applied to
the male voters, what a frightful disfranchisement would take
place. The Democratic party would be well-nigh annihilated, and
the Republican party would be in a fit state to condole with it.
I think, however, that all these things will adjust themselves
when they come. All bugbears seem much more terrible at a
distance than when they are close enough to be grappled with.

Mr. OLIVER JOHNSON was then introduced. He said that the true
germ of the present woman suffrage agitation was to be found in
the foundation of the Anti-slavery Society. At the time that
Society was founded, the question arose as to whether women were
persons, in the sense in which that word was used in the
constitution of that Society. The question gave rise to much
discussion, and it was finally decided by a majority of the
members that the word "person" did include women; and it was
therefore determined that, in the Society, women should have all
the rights that men had. And when thirty years ago the
anniversary of the Society was held, it became the duty of the
presiding officer on that occasion to appoint a business
committee, and, in announcing the names of that committee, he
included that of Abby Kelly--more lately known as that of Abby
Kelly Foster--a Quaker woman of excellent character, and a
devoted friend of the anti-slavery cause. The announcement of her
name was the signal for much tumult, and the withdrawal for the
time being of not less than one hundred and fifty clergymen, who,
led by an eminent citizen, left that meeting and went down into
the basement of the church and formed a new anti-slavery
society, solely because a woman was permitted to serve on a
committee. Mr. Johnson said that he had always had a profound
belief in the triumph of the anti-slavery cause. So also did he
believe in the success of the woman suffrage movement.

Mrs. Hazlett, of Michigan, was the next speaker. God, she said,
says to America to-day, take now the next step in the path of
national progress; then come and take thy place as the highest
nation of the earth. Will America obey heaven's voice, or does
republicanism exist only in name? Men of America! let the stars
and stripes wave over a land true to its principles. It is not
because we want to usurp power that we want the ballot. We want
justice, for the sake of liberty. But, above all, gentlemen, we
hold the welfare of this country our birthright as well as yours.
We wish the vote because it is our right and our duty to have it.
We have duties in life, in society, in the church--duties to
ourselves and to our families which can not be discharged without
the ballot.

When the Convention re-assembled, Mrs. Celia Burleigh, in the
absence of the President, took the chair.

Miss CATHERINE E. BEECHER, who was now introduced, requested the
Secretary, Mr. Blackwell, to read a paper which she had written,
containing her objections to woman suffrage, to which objections
Mrs.



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