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Meetings had been held in
different parts of the State. One was held on the sidewalk, was
well attended, and was followed by a large meeting. Soon after,
conventions were held, and though many women were afraid to take
hold of the subject, others advocated it with full force. We have
organized fourteen local societies. Some of these are sending out
their lecturers.

Col. T. W. HIGGINSON reported that the Rhode Island Society was
endeavoring to obtain the appointment of women as superintendents
of reform institutions. We should have matrons in all the prisons
where women are confined. I would therefore urge upon all women
in their respective cities to labor in this direction. Men will
vote for placing women upon all these boards.

Judge BRADWELL, of Chicago, made a short report on the condition
of the suffrage party in his State.

Dr. CHILD, of Pennsylvania, said: The suggestions of our
President are very important. Woman should have a position by the
side of man in all public institutions. I am happy to say that in
the city of Philadelphia, founded by William Penn, and to a
considerable extent still under the influence of Friends, women
do participate largely in our benevolent institutions and
prisons. Our State organization was formed on the 22d of December
last, and is auxiliary to the American Association. Our principal
labor has been to increase the circulation of the _Woman's
Journal_ and circulate tracts.

Rev. OSCAR CLUTE, of New Jersey, thought that his State had done
more for the cause of woman suffrage than many others. Mary F.
Davis and others had resided there.

Mrs. M. V. LONGLEY reported that in Ohio desirable progress was
manifested, and that if the coming year was as successful as the
past the cause would progress well. Societies, some thirty-two in
number, had been organized, and everywhere the work went on well.

Mr. HENRY B. BLACKWELL made a report for New Hampshire, where he
was assured by Mrs. White and Pipher, now present, that the cause
had never been so strong before.

Owing to the exceedingly inclement weather, the attendance upon
the evening session of the Convention was light.

All the States represented having reported except Missouri, Mrs.
Hazard, one of the delegates from that State, spoke briefly,
showing that the movement is making satisfactory advance.

Judge WHITEHEAD, New Jersey, regarded the woman suffrage question
as the most important topic before the American people. The only
question to be asked in connection with this movement is, is it
right, is it just?--not, is it expedient? With regard to the
legal and constitutional conditions of this question, he said
that he believed that women had a right to vote without any
change in the organic law of the Nation. The speaker proceeded to
discuss this question at some length, with the purpose of
demonstrating that in virtue of the principle and practice of the
Government of the United States in securing the ballot to men,
the right to vote equally belonged to women. The speaker
continued at length in advocacy of the ballot for woman as a
necessity for securing her rights and remedying her wrongs.

The PRESIDENT, with some prefatory remarks, introduced Miss Rice,
of Antioch College. Miss Rice announced as the theme of her
address, "Woman's Work," and said that the work proper for woman
is whatever she has the ability and opportunity to do. Miss Rice
embraced in the discussion of her topic, considerations as to the
duty of parents in rearing and teaching their children, demanding
that the same principle under which boys were reared should be
applied to girls, and the duty of society, which must recognize
the necessity of women being instructed and taught in all that
man has access to. She deprecated as one of the worst evils of
our civilization that men and women were being all the time more
widely separated. They must be brought nearer together.

Mrs. M. M. COLE said: That we are still so far from
enfranchisement is mainly the fault of women themselves. Home
talks, not Mrs. Caudle's fault-finding lectures, will do more
toward convincing men of the righteousness of their demand, than
all the public harangues to which they can listen. Comparatively
speaking, there are few men who do not listen and heed the
counsels of a good wife, few who will not yield a willing or
reluctant assent to her requests. For every exception, there may
be found a wife who has never given evidence of candid,
far-reaching thought; and when a man is in possession of such a
one, he is not to be censured for wishing to keep the reins in
his own hand.

When all women ask for the ballot, they shall have it, say many
politicians. In all probability, the wives of these men have
never asked it--indeed, they may have refused outright to use
it, if granted. And so, blind to the interests of all, deaf to
the entreaties of many, they refuse the request, making, in fact,
their wives the arbiter of all women. That is not statesmanship,
but partisanship, and a partisan is not one likely to comprehend
a question in its broadest meaning. Husbands and wives who are
not as far apart as the poles, are apt to think alike on all
questions except religion and temperance, perhaps I ought to add
finance. Social problems they solve by the same rule, public
officers they weigh in the same balance, party measures criticise
and pronounce wise or unwise with the same verdict. I know of a
few advocates of woman suffrage whose husbands, fathers,
brothers, or some one dearer, do not directly or indirectly aid
them. So far from alienating the married pair, so far from
creating domestic disturbance, the discussion of this question
has called into activity faculties men never dreamed woman
possessed. She has shown more fixedness of purpose, sagacity, and
sound judgment, than have ever been attributed to her. Excepting
the religion of Christ, which first broke the chains binding
woman to a mere animal existence, and sent gleams of love and
hope through the darkness in which she groped, there has been
nothing which has given such an impetus to her life as the
present one, set in motion by her demand for freedom. Never
before in the history of the human race, have women stood so high
in the estimation of men as they stand to-day.

There is but one answer to give to woman-worshipers, and that is,
Take away all responsibility from me, shield me from the terrors
of war, intemperance and licentiousness, and be my vicarious
sacrifice in the world to come, and I'll be the thing you would
have me--the echo--the reflection--the soulless divinity.

Is this an extreme view? What! can there be an extreme view, when
one is considering individual freedom? Set bounds to the
political, social, or religious liberty of a man, and what
figures of speech would he employ? The advocates of the XV.
Amendment put words into our mouths, and they must answer for
them if they seem too extravagant. There is nothing under the sun
that will so arouse man or woman as the fact that another, as
needy, as finite as himself, sets stakes in the path of his
progress, and says, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." It
is this assumption of men, most grievous to be borne, that has
compelled woman to ask that the stakes be removed, and she be
permitted to go where she wills to go.

Mrs. HANNAH B. CLARKE spoke as follows: When I am satisfied that
a majority of the women of this country desire the ballot, I
shall be in favor of granting the same, says the man of to-day of
average ability and culture. Oh! my friend, we shall not allow
you to take out a patent for magnanimity on the strength of that
confession. When all the women, or even the majority of the
women, shall unite in one solemn, earnest appeal for a voice in
the framing of the laws which they are compelled to obey, the
turf will be green over that political statesmanship which
supposes that a question of right, of principle, is a question of
majorities. While I do not believe that the fewness of the women
in any community who really desire the ballot furnishes any man
good ground for throwing his influence in the opposite scale, I
do believe that the most serious hindrance to the immediate
success of our cause is the opposition of women themselves.

It is one of the saddest, the most discouraging, features of any
reform to find its worst foes are they of its own household. But
the woman movement is not unique in this particular. Other
reforms have presented the self-same characteristic. He who is
familiar with the history of labor-saving machinery in this
country knows that its introduction was fought inch by inch by
that very class whose condition it was especially designed to
ameliorate. If the Jews were the first to crucify instead of
receive their Messiah, we know that the bad precedent which they
established has not been lost upon succeeding generations. My
friends, every reform begets a vast amount of ignorant opposition
before which its advocates must simply possess their souls in
patience.

This opposition among women shows itself in two distinct ways.
The first kind manifests itself in holding meetings, framing
petitions, and soliciting signatures, asking Congress to withhold
the right of suffrage from the women of the land. I make no
quarrel with that kind of opposition, nay, more, I entertain for
it a certain kind of regard, for two reasons: First, because any
decision that is candid and the result of reflection, entitles
the holder to respect, but secondly and mainly, because it is no
opposition at all.



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