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The argument that many women do not desire the ballot
reminds me of an old colored woman whom I met soon after the war.
I said to her, "Some people say they think your people are really
almost sorry that they have been made free; that they were more
comfortable as slaves." She said, "Is it possible that any person
thinks like that? Can it be that any colored person feels like
that?" I said, "I have heard people say so." "Then," said she,
"if anybody feels like that they deserve to be slaves--doubly
slaves--slaves in this world and slaves in the next." The woman
that is not willing to assume the responsibility of casting a
vote upon a question that may decide whether in her individual
neighborhood or precinct there shall be grog-shops and houses of
prostitution open, and there shall be no proper care of the poor
and needy and infirm--I say that if there is any woman who is not
willing to assume such responsibilities, it seems to me that she
must feel that it is a judgment on her, should her own husband or
son or the daughter of her heart, or all of them, become
sufferers in consequence of the evil that she might have stayed
had she been willing to uphold the exercise of that right.

We ask only for the same right that is accorded to the poorest
man landing on our shores. Is the giving of the ballot to a
foreigner who comes among us a burden so great that he should not
have it imposed upon him? And shall an American woman shrink
from her duty when there is so much power in her hands for good?
I know that a great many women have not been educated up to a
condition that would teach them fully how to act. Like the slave,
they have had too much thinking and acting done for them, until
now they feel incompetent to discharge these duties for
themselves. Our great duty, then, which we who know better should
consider imposed upon us, is that of educating women up to the
proper standard. Shall we be beggars for that which is, of right,
ours? Shall there not be one law for the brothers and the
daughters throughout this entire country? As Mr. Beecher has well
said, women have borne their full share of martyrdom; and it
strikes me that it is now about time for her redemption from the
evils of her position. If she has to suffer from the evils of a
defective or vicious system of laws, put in her hands the power
to protect herself, to mitigate the sufferings of her sex, to
preserve and defend the right and to suppress the wrong.

Mrs. MIRIAM M. COLE spoke at some length. The spirit of '76, she
said, influenced Mrs. John Adams to write to her husband to
inquire if it were generous in American men to keep their wives
in thraldom, when they were emancipating the whole earth. Had the
spirit of that letter animated the wife of Mr. Lincoln when his
emancipation proclamation was issued, how pertinently could she
have made the same inquiry! The laws regarding women were written
down so plain that those may run who read, and they who read had
better run.

Mrs. CELIA BURLEIGH said: Several references have been made to
the work of women in the church. I am glad to be able to
introduce to you now the pastor of one of the most popular
churches of New Haven, and whose church, I am happy to say, is
crowded every Sunday--Rev. Phebe A. Hanaford.

Mrs. HANAFORD said: Speaking with Horace Greeley a few weeks ago,
he replied to my query why he was not in favor of woman suffrage,
by saying that he did not think women would gain the opportunity
of suffrage or improve the opportunity if they had it, until they
should come to consider suffrage a duty, and he declared that he
had never known any one to advocate woman suffrage on the ground
of duty.

I was amazed at his assertion in the face of all the speeches and
lectures which such women as Lucretia Mott and her conscientious
co-laborers had made and delivered during the last twenty years.
The very next night, I heard Anna Dickinson in the largest hall
in New Haven, and before nearly 3,000 people, urge the women
present to consider their duty to this vast Republic in which we
dwell, and whose starry banner is as dear to women as to men. The
keynote of her bugle-call to the rescue was the idea of duty, and
that is the idea which inspires the women on this platform
to-day, while thousands of hearts throughout our Union respond,
with the same sentiment, to their appeals from the platform, the
pulpit, and the press.

Leading reformers of the world are telling us in clarion notes,
and in thunder tones, with the voice of warning or of appeal,
that woman owes service to the State, and that it is her duty to
strive earnestly that she may have that ballot in her own hand
which shall be at once her educator and protector, her sceptre
and her sword. But I have heard the Master's voice, speaking
through Lucy Stone and her co-workers, and speaking in my own
soul also, declaring that I, in common with every other woman in
this grand Republic, have a duty to the State that must not be
ignored. In the home, and in the church, most women acknowledge
they have duties--but as to the State they hesitate. Oh, if they
would but "gather into the stillness," as the Friends say, and
listen reverently to the voice within, I think they would often
hear the solemn utterance, "These ought ye to have done, and not
to leave the other undone." Every woman who has tried to do her
whole duty in the family, tried faithfully to make home a
foretaste of heaven, with its abounding peace and love, tried
with a mother's prayers, a mother's tears, a mother's unselfish,
self-denying love, to train her darlings for the skies--every
such woman deserves the gratitude of humanity, and that sweetest
of rewards to a mother's heart, viz; that "her children shall
rise up, and call her blessed;" while every woman who superadds
to this unselfish devotion to home and children, a lifelong
fidelity to the church in which she was reared, or has adopted;
every woman who has worshiped devoutly at the shrine her own soul
has accepted, following meekly in the footsteps of Him who went
about doing good--every such woman deserves the wreath of
immortal amaranths which angel hands are weaving for her
brow--but more than all, she who crowns her home work and her
religious endeavors with a service to the State, which of
necessity touches the great questions of reform, and aids in the
settling of vast problems wherein the weal or woe of a nation is
concerned--that woman, from the centre of her individual
responsibility, reaches out to the circumference of her
individual influence, and desires to receive from the lips of the
dear Lord himself, the "Well done, thou good and faithful
servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"--the joy of a
completed mission. The recording angel will write such a woman's
name with that of Abou Ben Adhem, who loved his fellows, and in
serving humanity served God.

The single point which I wish to present to the women before me
at this hour and in these brief remarks is this, then; that it is
your solemn, sacred duty, as you love God and the truth, and
human welfare, to seek the ballot, and, having obtained it, to
use it in purifying our statute-books and making them read more
like the oracles of God--the eleven Commandments, and the Golden
Rule.

Mrs. MARY F. DAVIS, of New Jersey, observed that in a court room
of New York, a lawyer--she understood--recently stated that
according to law the husband of a woman has such control over her
as to "own" her; that man was made for God and woman for man! She
asked if those present accepted that law [A voice, No!] Do you,
said she, own your own persons, according to the law of God, or
do you not? Our brothers tell us that women would be contaminated
by going into the court rooms and sitting on juries; that women
must be kept from these places because it would impair their
delicacy. Well, if women were wholly excluded from our court
rooms the case would be different. But when in the mornings we
take up the daily papers, how frequently do we read of some poor
young creature who has been arrested and taken to the court room,
to be tried by a jury of men; and carried perhaps from there to a
place of imprisonment, with no pitying woman's eye or heart or
hand to give her a ray of comfort. And these poor, forlorn
creatures shall be deprived of our sympathy and left to perish
because we are too "delicate" to come to their assistance! These
may be daughters of good people, and may once have been good and
pure as any. They might be your daughters or mine. Brothers, they
might be your sisters or your daughters! Oh! change the laws that
bear so hard on women. Give us such laws as will allow your wives
and mothers--those in whom you have confidence and whom you
love--to come, with a mother's heart, and help rescue these
deserted and fallen and miserable ones.

LUCY STONE here read a letter of regret from William Lloyd
Garrison, in which he stated that he was ill and confined to his
bed, and therefore unable to be present. She read, also, a letter
from Mrs. Haskell, of California, expressing earnest and hearty
sympathy in all that is done at the East for woman suffrage, and
the assurance that on the Pacific slope the good work is becoming
daily stronger and more hopeful.

Mrs. TAPPAN gave an interesting account of some of the Indian
tribes in Mexico and California, who, she thought, had in one
sense a higher idea of the capacity of woman than their more
civilized brethren.



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