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Kelley,
Robert C. Schenck,
James A. Garfield,
Henry C. Deming,
R. B. Van Valkenburg,
A. C. Wilder, and seventy other Representatives.


GENTLEMEN:--I thank you sincerely for the great and most
unexpected honor which you have conferred upon me by your kind
invitation to speak in Washington. Accepting it, I would suggest
the 16th of January as the time, desiring the proceeds to be
devoted to the help of the suffering freedmen.

Truly yours, ANNA E. DICKINSON.

1710 LOCUST ST., Phila., _June 7, 1864_.

[36] The _New York Evening Post_ in describing the occasion said:
"Miss Dickinson's lecture in the Hall of the House of Representatives
last night was a gratifying success, and a splendid personal triumph.
She can hardly fail to regard it the most flattering ovation--for such
it was--of her life. At precisely half-past seven Miss Dickinson came
in, escorted by Vice-President Hamlin and Speaker Colfax. A platform
had been built directly over the desk of the official reporters and in
front of the clerk's desk, from which she spoke. She was greeted with
loud cheers as she entered. Mr. Hamlin introduced her in a neat
speech, in which he happily compared her to the Maid of Orleans. The
scene was one to test severely the powers of a most accomplished
orator, for the audience was not composed of the enthusiastic masses
of the people, but rather of loungers, office-holders, orators,
critics, and men of the fashionable world. At eight o'clock Mr. and
Mrs. Lincoln entered, and not even the utterance of a fervid passage
in the lecture could repress the enthusiasm of the audience. Just as
the President entered the hall Miss Dickinson was criticising with
some sharpness his Amnesty Proclamation and the Supreme Court; and the
audience, as if feeling it to be their duty to applaud a just
sentiment, even at the expense of courtesy, sustained the criticism
with a round of deafening cheers. Mr. Lincoln sat meekly through it,
not in the least displeased. Perhaps he knew there were sweets to
come, and they did come, for Miss Dickinson soon alluded to him and
his course as President, and nominated him as his own successor in
1865. The popularity of the President in Washington was duly attested
by volleys of cheers. The proceeds of the lecture--over a thousand
dollars--were appropriated at Miss Dickinson's request to the National
Freedman's Relief Society."

[37] James Redpath.

[38] See Appendix.

[39] When our leading journals, orators, and brave men from the
battle-field, complain that Northern women feel no enthusiasm in the
war, the time has come for us to pledge ourselves loyal to freedom and
our country. Thus far, there has been no united expression from the
women of the North as to the policy of the war. Here and there one has
spoken and written nobly. Many have vied with each other in acts of
generosity and self-sacrifice for the sick and wounded in camp and
hospital. But we have, as yet, no means of judging where the majority
of Northern women stand.

If it be true that at this hour the women of the South are more
devoted to their cause than we are to ours, the fact lies here. They
see and feel the horrors of the war; the foe is at their firesides;
while we, in peace and plenty, live as heretofore. There is an
inspiration, too, in a definite purpose, be it good or bad. The women
of the South know what their sons are fighting for. The women of the
North do not. They appreciate the blessings of slavery; we not the
blessings of liberty. We have never yet realized the glory of those
institutions in whose defence it is the privilege of our sons to bleed
and die. They are aristocrats, with a lower class, servile and
obsequious, intrenched in feudal homes. We are aristocrats under
protest, who must go abroad to indulge our tastes, and enjoy in
foreign despotisms the customs which the genius of a Republic
condemns.

But, from the beginning of the Government, there have been women among
us who, with the mother of the immortal John Quincy Adams, have
lamented the inconsistencies of our theory and practice, and demanded
for ALL the people the exercise of those rights that belong to every
citizen of a republic. The women of a nation mold its morals,
religion, and politics. The Northern treason, now threatening to
betray us to our foes, is hatched at our own firesides, where traitor
snobs, returned from Europe and the South, out of time and tune with
independence and equality, infuse into their sons the love of caste
and class, of fame and family, of wealth and ease, and baptize it all
in the name of Republicanism and Christianity. Let every woman
understand that this war involves the same principles that have
convulsed the nations of the earth from Pharaoh to Lincoln--liberty or
slavery--democracy or aristocracy--equality or caste--and choose, this
day, whether our republican institutions shall be placed on an
enduring basis, and an eternal peace secured to our children, or
whether we shall leap back through generations of light and
experience, and meekly bow again to chains and slavery.

Shall Northern freemen yet stand silent lookers-on when through
Topeka, St. Paul, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and New York, men and
women, little boys and girls, chained in gangs, shall march to their
own sad music, beneath a tyrant's lash? On our sacred soil shall we
behold the auction-block--babies sold by the pound, and beautiful
women for the vilest purposes of lust; where parents and children,
husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, shall be torn from each
other, and sent East and West, North and South? Shall our free presses
and free schools, our palace homes, colleges, churches, and stately
capitols all be leveled to the dust? Our household gods be desecrated,
and our proud lips, ever taught to sing peans to liberty, made to
swear allegiance to the god of slavery? Such degradation shall yet be
ours, if we gird not up our giant freemen now to crush this rebellion,
and root out forever the hateful principle of caste and class. Men
who, in the light of the nineteenth century, believed that God made
one race all booted and spurred, and another to be ridden; who would
build up a government with slavery for its corner-stone, can not live
on the same continent with a pure democracy. To counsel grim-visaged
war seems hard to come from women's lips; but better far that the
bones of our sires and sons whiten every Southern plain, that we do
their rough work at home, than that liberty, struck dumb in the
capital of our Republic, should plead no more for man. Every woman who
appreciates the grand problem of national life must say war,
pestilence, famine, anything but an ignoble peace.

We are but co-workers now with the true ones of every age. The history
of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality. All men, born
slaves to ignorance and fear, crept through centuries of discord--now
one race dominant, then another--but in this ceaseless warring, ever
wearing off the chains of their gross material surroundings of a mere
animal existence, until at last the sun of a higher civilization
dawned on the soul of man, and the precious seed of the ages, garnered
up in the _Mayflower_, was carried in the hollow of God's hand across
the mighty waters, and planted deep beneath the snow and ice of
Plymouth Rock with prayers and thanksgivings. And what grew there? Men
and women who loved liberty better than life. Men and women who
believed that not only in person, but in speech should they be free,
and worship the God who had brought them thus far according to the
dictates of their own conscience. Men and women who, like Daniel of
old, defied the royal lion in his den. Men and women who repudiated
the creeds and codes of despots and tyrants, and declared to a waiting
world that all men are created equal. And for rights like these, the
Fathers fought for seven long years, and we have no record that the
women of that Revolution ever once cried, "hold, enough," till the
invading foe was conquered, and our independence recognized by the
nations of the earth.

And here we are, the grandest nation on the globe. By right no
privileged caste or class. Education free to all. The humblest digger
in the ditch has all the civil, social, and religious rights with the
highest in the land. The poorest woman at the wash-tub may be the
mother of a future President. Here all are heirs-apparent to the
throne. The genius of our institutions bids every man to rise, and use
all the powers that God has given him. It can not be, that for
blessings such as these, the women of the North do not stand ready for
any sacrifice.

A sister of Kossuth, with him an exile to this country, in
conversation one day, called my attention to an iron bracelet, the
only ornament she wore. "In the darkest days of Hungary," said she,
"our noble women threw their wealth and jewels into the public
treasury, and clasping iron bands around their wrists, pledged
themselves that these should be the only jewels they would wear till
Hungary was free." If darker hours than these should come to us, the
women of the North will count no sacrifice too great. What are wealth
and jewels, home and ease, sires and sons, to the birthright of
freedom, secured to us by the heroes of the Revolution? Shall a
priceless heritage like this be wrested now from us by Southern
tyrants, and Northern women look on unmoved, or basely bid our freemen
sue for peace? No! No! The vacant places at our firesides, the void in
every heart says No!! Such sacrifices must not be in vain!! The cloud
that hangs o'er all our Northern homes is gilded with the hope that
through these present sufferings the nation shall be redeemed.

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON.

[40] The call for a meeting of the Loyal Women of the Nation:

In this crisis of our country's destiny, it is the duty of every
citizen to consider the peculiar blessings of a republican form of
government, and decide what sacrifices of wealth and life are demanded
for its defence and preservation.



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