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I am a better judge than you or any man can be of my own
responsibilities and powers. I am willing to bear my equal share
of every burden of the Government in such manner as we shall all
equally decide to be best. By what right, then, except that of
mere force, do you deny me a voice in the laws which I am forced
to obey?" What shall I say? What can I say? Shall I tell her that
she is "owned" by some living man, or is some dead man's
"relict," as the old phrase was? Shall I tell her that she ought
to be ashamed of herself for wishing to be unsexed; that God has
given her the nursery, the ball-room, the opera, and that, if
these fail, He has graciously provided the kitchen, the wash-tub,
and the needle? Or shall I tell her that she is a lute, a
moonbeam, a rosebud; and touch my guitar, and weave flowers in
her hair, and sing:

"Gay without toil and lovely without art,
They spring to cheer the sense and glad the heart;
Nor blush, my fair, to own you copy these,
Your best, your sweetest empire is to please"?

No, no. At least, I will not insult her. I can say nothing. I
hang my head before that woman, as when in foreign lands I was
asked, "You are an American. That is the nation that forever
boasts of the equal liberty of all its citizens, and is the only
great nation in the world that traffics in human flesh!"

The very moment women passed out of the degradation of the Greek
household and the contempt of the Roman law, they began their
long and slow ascent through prejudice, sophistry, and passion to
their perfect equality of choice and opportunity as human beings;
and the assertion that when a majority of women ask for equal
political rights they will be granted, is a confession that there
is no conclusive reason against their sharing them. And if that
be so, how can their admission rightfully depend upon the
majority? Why should the woman who does not care to vote prevent
the voting of her neighbor who does? Why should a hundred fools
who are content to be dolls and do what Mrs. Grundy expects,
prejudice the choice of a single one who wishes to be a woman and
do what her conscience requires? You tell me that the great mass
of women are uninterested, indifferent, and, upon the whole,
hostile to the movement. You say what of course you can not know,
but even if it were so, what then? There are some of the noblest
and best of women, both in this country and in England, who are
not indifferent. They are the women who have thought for
themselves upon the subject. The others (the great multitude) are
those who have not thought at all; who have acquiesced in the
old order, and who have accepted the prejudices of men. Shall
their unthinking acquiescence or the intelligent wish of their
thoughtful sisters decide the question?

We can be patient. Our fathers won their independence of England
by the logic of English ideas. We will persuade America by the
eloquence of American principles. In one of the fierce Western
battles among the mountains, General Thomas was watching a body
of his troops painfully pushing their way up a steep hill against
a withering fire. Victory seemed impossible, and the
General--even he a rock of valor and patriotism--exclaimed, "They
can't do it; they'll never reach the top!" His chief-of-staff,
watching the struggle with equal earnestness, placed his hand on
his commander's arm and said softly, "Time, time, General; give
them time;" and presently the moist eyes of the brave leader saw
his soldiers victorious upon the summit. They were American
soldiers. So are we. They were fighting our American battle. So
are we. They were climbing a precipice. So are we. The great
heart of their General gave them time and they conquered. The
great heart of our country will give us time and we shall
triumph.

Mrs. LUCY STONE then introduced Hon. George W. Julian, member of
Congress from Indiana. "His name," she said, "will always be held
in grateful remembrance by good women as the author of the XVI.
Amendment."

Mr. JULIAN said that, as a thorough-going radical in politics and
a sincere believer in democracy as a principle, he could not see
how he was to argue the question of woman suffrage, even if he
had the time. Woman's rights, to his mind, rested upon precisely
the same grounds upon which men's rights rest; and to argue the
question of woman's rights is to argue the question of human
rights. Subscribing as he did to the great primal truth of the
sacredness of human rights, the same logic which held him to that
compelled him--it is inexorable logic--to stand by the legitimate
results to which it leads. The issue was between aristocracy and
privilege on one side, and democracy and equality of inherent
right on the other. Speaking of the XVI. Amendment, he said:
"Believing as I do in democracy in the large and proper and full
sense of the term, and being unwilling to write myself down a
hypocrite or liar by refusing to women equal participation in
rights which I insist upon for myself as a citizen of the United
States, I thought it was my duty to introduce into the Congress
of the United States a XVI. Amendment to the Constitution
proposing to give to one half of our citizens who are to-day
disfranchised a voice in the system of laws and government by
which the other half of the citizens now govern them. Should it
succeed, you will have a true and real democracy in this land; a
Government emphatically of the people, for the people, and by the
people.

Mrs. CELIA BURLEIGH was then introduced, and said: Ladies and
gentlemen, I am not generally in favor of compromises, but I come
before you to-night to propose a compromise. I had written a
speech for the occasion, and--a--I assure you it was a very good
speech. As I am compassionate, however, if you will take my word
for it that it is a very good speech I will not inflict it upon
you.

These remarks brought such thunders of applause, that in response
to the manifest desire of the audience, Mrs. Burleigh again came
forward, and delivered a highly interesting and eloquent address
upon the general subject of woman's improvement, under the
epigrammatic title of "Woman's Right to be a Woman." An extract
or two will show the spirit with which she treats the question.

"I appeal to every true man before me if he has not looked into
the faces of well-dressed men so sensual and brutal in their
expression, that he would sooner a hundredfold see a sister or
daughter laid in her grave than entrusted to the guardianship of
such a man. Will you not give to every woman the power to
maintain the integrity of her womanhood--the ownership of
herself? What means the right of the drunkard's wife to be a
woman? It means the power to protect herself from his drunken
hate and his more frightful drunken love. It means that she be
armed with a vote to repress the horrid traffic that has made her
husband a brute, or, failing to save him, that she escape with
untarnished honor from his polluting arms. What signifies the
right to be a woman to her who must endure the daily contact of a
social villain, if it be not to have all human virtue as her ally
when she snaps the tie that binds her to him, and vindicates the
Divine validity of marriage by breaking the fetters of the fatal
sham? What is involved in the right of the Magdalen to be a woman
redeemed and disenthralled from the bondage of sin? What but the
entire reconstruction of society with purity for a law and
charity for the executive; with more of the divine mother in man,
more of manly courage and self-respecting dignity in woman; in
both more reverence for humanity and a more abiding faith in the
indestructible possibilities of good in every human soul."

The Convention then adjourned _sine die_.


THE FIRST ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN WOMAN SUFFRAGE
ASSOCIATION was held in Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 22 and 23, 1870.

Col. T. W. HIGGINSON, first Vice-President, called the meeting to
order, and addressed the audience substantially as follows:


REMARKS OF COLONEL HIGGINSON.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I heartily congratulate you that you are
again called together in this goodly city of Cleveland.

We stand to-day at the cradle of the Association, a child one
year old, to celebrate its first birthday. There is nothing in
the record of the past year that we have to blush for, or that we
have to undo. If our work has been limited in its success, it has
been because we have been limited in means. If we have not
transformed the entire world it has been because the world has
not poured its money into our coffers. But the great fact
remains, as much as if we had accomplished a work ten times as
large, that we have a great central organization, to which ten
States have given a cordial and hearty support. Congress at
Washington is but a small body. The amount it annually does and
spends is nothing to that done and spent by the State
governments. It is the keystone of our great national arch, the
string upon which all State governments are strung. And so this
Association is the keystone upon which all the auxiliary State
organizations depend.

We meet here to-day, in a delegate meeting, for full and free
discussion; none are proscribed, none prescribed. If there is
anything new to be done, now is the time to do it; if anything
wrong was done last year, now is the time to rectify it.



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