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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. The Navajos, on one occasion, when a United
States Commission composed of General Sherman, General Terry, and
other officers of the army, went to them to treat with them on
behalf of the Government, refused to enter the officer's quarters
for the purpose of discussion or decision of their difficulties,
unless their squaws were permitted to participate in the
deliberations, and the officers were obliged to allow the women
to come in.

The evening session of the convention was called to order by LUCY
STONE. Steinway Hall was filled with an earnest and interested
assembly, numbering about a thousand persons.

Mrs. CHURCHILL, of Providence, R. I., was the first speaker. She
spoke at some length, and asserted the undoubted right of women
to the suffrage. She referred to the fear which men entertained,
or pretended to entertain, of women neglecting every other duty
attaching to them simply because they should get suffrage. Men do
not find voting so exceedingly incompatible with the other duties
of life that they should have such fear of woman suffrage. Women
are not asking for _bon-bons_ in this matter. They are demanding
that which belongs to them. They are not children, nor idiots,
and they ought to have the same right of action as is accorded to
sane men.

The address of Mrs. JULIA WARD HOWE was as follows: This mighty
edifice of the ideal society has many mansions, whose doors open
one after the other in the ruins of the ages. When Providence has
removed the mysterious seal from one of these doors those who
know the signs of the times gladly enter. And soon the halt and
the lame and the blind hear of the new refuge, the new
benefaction, and make haste to crowd its halls and parlors.
America itself was at first such a refuge. The derided Puritans
rode there nobly across the highway of the ocean. By and by it
leaked out that civil and religious liberty had made a good thing
of it, and then the Old World began to sneak over into the
spacious domain of the New. And now it comes with such a tide
that we can scarcely build cities and railroads fast enough for
its accommodation. America is to the nations a house of God--a
divinely appointed city of refuge. Poorly have we administered
that house of God, because we ourselves were undivine. But we
have improved a little--we have learned some lessons--we have
opened some doors. And every lesson that we have learned has
shown us more and more of the grand but terrible labor which lies
before us. What one should be, and know, and intend, in order to
come up to the standard of an American, that is something which
as yet puts most of us to the blush, not for being so much, but
so little children of the New World; for this may the Old World
deride us.

[Illustration: Julia Ward Howe.]

I can not see this New World as it ought to be, in my remotest
vision, without many changes in what it is. Looking towards this
great aim of building a Christian state, I see the position of
woman as wrong and harmful. Wrong to herself since she is pushed
one remove further from the divine than man--she, born of the
same humanity and divinity with himself. Wrong to society since
she, with special gifts and powers for its aid and advancement,
is forcibly restrained to the functions which man deigns to allow
her; her attitude to law, labor and life being determined by him
through the old principle of barbarism, the predominance of
physical force.

Which shall I treat first, the wrong done to the individual or
that done to society? I will start with the individual. And from
the start I will say that the very instinct of secondariness, so
often postulated as a reason for the social subjection of women,
is, on the part of those who urge it, either an invention or an
error. The instinct, as I understand it, is all the other way.
The little girl does not know in herself any inferiority to the
boy. He can perhaps beat her, but while he may consider this a
mark of superiority, she is too wise to accept it as such. In
their lessons she flies where he walks. She cries for his
floggings oftener than he can laugh at her failures. She needs
less machinery than he to arrive at the same mental and moral
results. Nature has given him a mental hammer, but it has given
her a mental needle, and she has embroidered the rainbow before
he has forged the thunder. How does he overtake her swift steps?
How tame and bind her fiery soul?

Now I confess that he has an accomplice greater than himself. The
girl, coming upon the full consciousness of womanhood, comes also
upon that of its opposite. The primal divine unity of the race
makes itself felt in her dreamy bosom. She is but half of the
ideal--the perfect human being--the other half is not yet hers;
she must seek diligently till she find it. Do not laugh. The
pilgrimage of Psyche is performed by every maiden soul; but love,
the supreme god, in the little child is not always found. So far,
so good. The woman often finds a mate; sometimes has quite a
selection of mates offered her. If she finds the complement of
her incomplete being, what more can she want? What wrong is done
her? This simply. If her single life was incomplete, that of her
partner without her was no less so. The need of marriage was
equal with both. Nay, but for the aid of vices to which the male
part of society give system and culture, the need of marriage on
his part will be more imperative than on hers. Its natural
burdens fall with fivefold force on her. She must bear the
children. She must give the flower of her life to services full
of weariness and of anguish. Now, however the matter may stand
between man and woman, the State's need of marriage is
imperative. And as the State commands marriage, and as the woman
contracts marriage as an obligation to the State, the State is
bound by every sacred obligation of justice to render the
contract an equal one. And here comes up again the barbaric
element--the predominance of physical force. "Shall this softer,
gentler, more fragile creature be the equal of the ruder, stouter
man?" "Yes," says your Christianity, "She is a divine
institution, as you are; she desires the same culture, the same
respect, the same authority." "No," says your barbarism, "I can
oppress her, and I will. We won't call it oppression, if you
please. We'll call it protection. I'll keep her money, and her
children, and her body, and her soul. I'll keep them all for her.
She can ask me for what she wants. I shall always know whether it
is best for her to have it or no."

Now, here it is true physical ascendency of the man which renders
the assumption of this position possible. Great as this power is,
he has taken pains to increase it by an immense array of aids and
appliances. He has kept the woman ignorant of all the
technologies of the world. Fatal renewal of the Hebrew myth, he
has eaten of the tree of knowledge, has kept the fruit for
himself. Society can not be governed without law and logic. The
use of these the man has monopolized, encouraging in the woman
the natural gifts and accomplishments which give him most
delight--dress and dance, and the sweet voice and graceful
manner, and, above all the ready acquiescence in his sovereign
pleasure. But let her ask him for the methods by which she may
analyze his actions and his intuitions, and he says, "No." No
college door shall open for her, no nursery of law, medicine or
theology. Philosophy, the science of sciences--which Dictrina
taught to Socrates, who teaches it to the world to-day--that
would give her the key to all the rest. She may get it, if she
can.

We have brought our theoretical woman up to the period of
marriage and maternity. Here the intensity of personal feeling
and interest monopolize her. Her nursery is full of pains and
pleasures, but its delights predominate, and though she will need
more than ever the help of outside culture and sympathy, she is
yet tied by her affections even more than by her duties to a
centre of feeling too intense to generate a wide circle. Here,
too, the enforced inequality of institutions pursues her. The
children, born at such cost of suffering, are not hers in the eye
of the law. The right to them which nature puts primarily in the
mother, society has long vested almost absolutely in the father.
In case of any difference between them he will say, "I am the
father--my will must be obeyed." And what he will say in private
the law will say in public. Mrs. Stone records a piteous case in
which an unborn child was willed by its dying father to relatives
in a foreign country in which the widowed mother suffered the
pains of childbirth, that other hearts than hers might be
gladdened by her dearly-bought treasure. This young woman was
described as in a maze of bewilderment at the presence on the
statute-book of a law so miraculously wicked. We all hope that in
such laws there comes a great deal of dead letter, but the dead
letter itself stinks and is corrupt.



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