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Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Blackwell, to read a paper which she had written,
containing her objections to woman suffrage, to which objections
Mrs. Cutler, of Ohio, would reply. Mr. Blackwell read the
following:

I will first state to what I am not opposed. And, first, I
am not opposed to women speaking in public to any who are
willing to hear, nor do I object to women's preaching,
sanctioned as it is by a prophetic apostle--as one of the
millennial results. It is true that no women were appointed
among the first twelve, or the seventy disciples sent out by
the Lord, nor were women appointed to be apostles or bishops
or elders. But they were not forbidden to teach or preach,
except in places where it violated a custom that made a
woman appear as one of a base and degraded class if she thus
violated custom.

Nor am I opposed to a woman earning her own independence in
any lawful calling, and wish many more were open to her
which are now closed.

Nor am I opposed to the agitation and organization of women,
as women, to set forth the wrongs suffered by great
multitudes of our sex, which are multiform and most
humiliating. Nor am I opposed to women's undertaking to
govern both boys and men--they always have done it, and
always will. The most absolute and cruel tyrants I have ever
known were selfish, obstinate, unreasonable women to whom
were chained men of delicacy, honor, and piety, whose only
alternatives were helpless submission, or ceaseless and
disgraceful broils.

Nor am I opposed to the claim that women have equal rights
with men. I rather claim that they have the sacred, superior
rights that God and good men accord to the weak and
defenseless, by which they have the easiest work, the most
safe and comfortable places, and the largest share of all
the most agreeable and desirable enjoyments of this life. My
main objection to the woman suffrage organizations is mainly
this, that a wrong mode is employed to gain a right object.

The "right object" sought is to remedy the wrongs and
relieve the sufferings of great multitudes of our sex. The
"wrong mode" is that which aims to enforce by law instead of
by love. It is one which assumes that man is the author and
abetter of all these wrongs, and that he must be restrained
and regulated by constitutions and laws, as the chief and
most trustworthy method.

In opposition to this, I hold that the fault is as much, or
more, with women than with men, inasmuch as that we have all
the power we need to remedy all wrongs and sufferings
complained of, and yet we do not use it for that end. It is
my deep conviction that all reasonable and conscientious men
of our age, and especially of our country, are not only
willing, but anxious to provide for the best good of our
sex, and that they will gladly bestow all that is just,
reasonable, and kind, whenever we unite in asking in the
proper spirit and manner. It is because we do not ask, or
"because we ask amiss," that we do not receive all we need
both from God and men. Let me illustrate my meaning by a
brief narrative of my own experience. To begin with my
earliest: I can not remember a time when I did not find a
father's heart so tender that it was always easier for him
to give anything I asked than to deny me. Of my seven
brothers, I know not one who would not take as much or more
care of my interests than I should myself. The brother who
presides is here because it is so hard for him to say "No"
to any woman seeking his aid.

It is half a century this very spring since I began to work
for the education and relief of my sex, and I have succeeded
so largely by first convincing intelligent and benevolent
women that what I aimed at was right and desirable, and then
securing their influence with their fathers, brothers, and
husbands; and always with success. American women have only
to unite in asking for whatever is just and reasonable, in a
proper spirit and manner, in order to secure all that they
need.

Here, then, I urge my greatest objections to the plan of
female suffrage; for my countrywomen are seeking it only as
an instrument for redressing wrongs and relieving wants by
laws and civil influences. Now, I ask, why not take a
shorter course, and ask to have the men do for us what we
might do for ourselves if we had the ballot? Suppose we
point out to our State Legislatures and to Congress the
evils that it is supposed the ballot would remedy, and draw
up petitions for these remedial measures, would not these
petitions be granted much sooner and with far less
irritation and conflict than must ensue before we gain the
ballot? And in such petitions thousands of women would unite
who now deem that female suffrage would prove a curse rather
than a benefit.

And here I will close with my final objection to woman
suffrage, and that is that it will prove a measure of
injustice and oppression to the women who oppose it. Most of
such women believe that the greatest cause of the evils
suffered by our sex is that the true profession of woman, in
many of its most important departments, is not respected;
that women are not trained either to the science or the
practice of domestic duties as they need to be, and that, as
the consequence, the chief labors of the family state pass
to ignorant foreigners, and by cultivated women are avoided
as disgraceful.

They believe the true remedy is to make woman's work
honorable and remunerative, and that the suffrage agitation
does not tend to this, but rather to drain off the higher
classes of cultivated women from those more important duties
to take charge of political and civil affairs that are more
suitable for men.

Now if women are all made voters, it will be their duty to
vote, and also to qualify themselves for this duty. But
already women have more than they can do well in all that
appropriately belongs to women, and to add the civil and
political duties of men would be deemed a measure of
injustice and oppression.

Mrs. H. M. T. CUTLER, of Ohio, then rose to reply. She said: I
account myself happy to be allowed to stand here to reply to the
objections of my friend, Miss Beecher. There is one point where I
feel that her argument is not as strong as most of her arguments
are. We enjoy things of privilege, if privileges are granted; but
we enjoy things of right, because they are right--not otherwise.
All that she says of good men, and of what good men will do for
women, only goes to show what everybody has already known, that
she had for a father one of the first Christian gentlemen in the
United States or in the world; and for brothers seven men of
princely virtue, and highest and noblest Christian attainments.
If the world was made up of all such people, there would be no
need of laws. Miss Beecher may well speak for such men as they,
and they may well speak for such women as she. If I make a
petition for something, and that petition does not clearly
express a right that is due me, but instead, asks for something
that may be withheld without moral guilt, that is a privilege;
but when I come and demand that which is a right, the condition
is altogether changed. I claim the right because it is God-given.
We have in the advanced age of Christianity, those who do not
believe in the use of physical force on any account whatever.
They are non-resistants; but it will not be said that the vicious
can be controlled by moral suasion. Society is not yet
sufficiently Christianized for men not to demand of each other
guarantees for the safety of each other's rights. Shall we who
are in some sense the weaker sex have no guarantee for our
rights?

Miss Beecher makes the point that men will give, if we ask them
properly. The first asking of American women was not for
themselves--not for their own account. They forgot themselves in
their anxiety for poor oppressed slaves. They didn't know what
they had lost through long ages, from not having exerted their
own powers, and established their own responsibilities. But when
they came to do that, they then asked themselves, "Where are our
good right hands?" I sent petitions to Congress again and again,
which I had gathered from my neighbors, in regard to the
abolishment of slavery in the District of Columbia and in the
territories; and I have sent numbers of them in regard to this
question of woman suffrage. I sent many of them to Horace
Greeley, and he sent me back word, "The only good that these
things will do in Congress is to help the janitor to light the
fires. They do good to the people perhaps, but they do no good
otherwise." We might have petitioned until the crack of doom,
before Congress would have broken the chain. Why should we not
demand our right to the vote, when we reflect that one vote, cast
in the State of Indiana, was the means of electing a man whose
vote in Congress turned the scale, and enacted the "Fugitive
Slave Law"--that law which put the collar upon every bondsman's
neck, and branded him the property of every Southern master.

I admit the great responsibility of the ballot, and if we are
true women, we shall assume it with a full appreciation of that
responsibility, and a determination to do our whole duty in its
exercise.



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