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These persons are our friends, doing just what
we are, no more and no less. For, mind you, it is not the mere
dropping of the ballot once or twice a year on the part of woman
to which public opinion is such a dead set. It is that which
follows the ballot, that which the ballot involves. It is the
office holding, the introduction of woman into public life, this
stepping outside of what has always been considered her
particular sphere. And so these women, who are memorializing
Legislatures to deny their sisters the ballot, are doing our
work, in that they are breaking the crust of that bitter
prejudice which says that a woman's business is to keep house and
tend babies, utterly regardless of the fact that every community
contains scores of women who have neither houses to keep, nor
babies to tend; doing our work in their own way, to be sure, in a
way that reflects little credit on their good sense, but we shall
not be particular about that if they are not. My verdict for such
women is, let them alone. We shall be the losers if they ever
find out their mistake.

But that kind of opposition which we dread the most, which takes
the courage out of the most courageous, and the heart out of the
most earnest, is the opposition of utter insensibility, of stolid
indifference, which the mass of women exhibit, not only to this
question, but to any question that does not touch their immediate
personal interests. If I had a cause, of whatever kind, to
advocate on its merits alone, one argument to make that appealed
to a reasonable intellect, a discriminating judgment, I should
want an audience not of women. It is a sad, a humiliating fact
that the great mass of women are not thinkers.

* * * * *

At the morning session Colonel HIGGINSON read a letter from Henry
Ward Beecher.

BROOKLYN, N. Y., Nov. 18, 1870.

MRS. LUCY STONE:--My Dear Madam--You were kind enough to ask
me to allow my name to be used again in connection with the
presidency of the American Woman Suffrage Association. But,
after reflection, I am persuaded that it will be better to
put in nomination some one who can give more time to the
affairs of the society than I can and who can at least
attend its meetings, which I find it impossible to do. But,
while I detach myself from the mere machinery of the
society, I do not withdraw from the cause, nor abate my
hopes of its success and my conviction of the justice of its
aims. On the contrary, with every year I feel increasing
confidence that the ultimate forms of civilized society will
surely include women in its political management. I am not
so sanguine of the nearness of the day when a woman's vote
must be calculated by political assemblies as many are, but
little by little the cause will gain and ultimately the
result is certain. I wish you an enthusiastic meeting, a
harmonious adjustment of all affairs, and a prosperous
future.

I am very truly yours, HENRY WARD BEECHER.

The Committee on Resolutions[189] reported later. The first four
resolutions were unanimously adopted, the fifth, after full
discussion, was rejected by a vote of 112 1-3 to 47 2-3.

MR. HENRY B. BLACKWELL offered the following resolution:

_Resolved_, That the American Woman Suffrage Association
heartily invites the cooperation of all individuals and all
State societies who feel the need of a truly National
Association on a delegated basis, which shall avoid side
issues, and devote itself to the main question of suffrage.
Adopted unanimously.

The American Woman Suffrage Association held its semi-annual
meeting in Steinway Hall, New York, May 10, 1871. A large
audience had already gathered when the Convention was called to
order, which was constantly increased during the morning session,
until between 800 and 1,000 persons were in attendance. In the
absence of the President of the Association, Mrs. H. M. Tracy
Cutler, Mrs. M. A. Livermore was called to the chair. She read
the following letter from Mrs. Cutler:

_To the American Woman Suffrage Association, Steinway Hall
New York:_

With much self-denial on my part, I remain far from your
semi-annual gathering. But in heart I am with you, partaking
in your deliberations, and recounting the advances since our
meeting one year ago. Mrs. Dr. Patten, wife of the editor of
the _Advance_, who believes and does far better than he
would make us believe through his paper, is president of a
society for sending women as missionaries to India for the
express purpose of educating Brahman women. They will deny
any belief in the woman suffrage movement, but they are
teaching women the alphabet, and that is the first step
toward the fullest possession of self, which will yet claim
and vindicate all human rights. Among the most significant
signs of the influence of this agitation, is the change in
the laws of the different States in regard to the rights of
women. Conversing with a member of the committee charged
with the revision of the laws of California, he said to me:
"The most important part of my work is the revisions of the
statutes concerning marriage and divorce and the rights of
property and of guardianship for married women."

The action of Congress shows us clearly, that as soon as
there is sufficient pressure from without, it will give a
light by which to read the XIV. and XV. Amendments, or it
will inspire the passage of a XVI., so that our cause will
be won. Knowing that your deliberations will be wise, and
that the inspiring spirit will be purity and harmony, I
shall the less regret that I am compelled to be absent in
person, though present in spirit.

H. M. T. CUTLER.

The Rev. Dr. EDWARD EGGLESTON, of the _Independent_, said: One
can not show one's interest in the cause better than by speaking
in this opening moment of the Convention. I think every
individual in the country should have a voice in the making of
the laws. Here is a large and increasing class of women in the
country who need the suffrage, and men feel that they need women
in politics. A great many people never think of the effect of
suffrage on woman without a shudder. I am not one who believes
that women are adapted to every kind of work to which a man is. I
do not believe that a woman's mind is just like a man's, but the
most shameful proscription of all is that which prevents women
from doing the work for which they are adapted. It is not
necessary for a woman to be a man in order to vote. We want a
woman's vote to be a woman's vote, and not a man's vote. It is a
singular old heresy that to be able to vote you must be able to
be a soldier. The purpose of the ballot-box is not to be
bolstered by bullets. It is intended that public sentiment shall
make law; and I think women can make public sentiment faster than
men. I would back a New England sewing society against any town
meeting. If women can not make war, they can at least do
something to stop war. There is nothing in the world so absurd as
regarding womanhood as some delicate flower that should be shut
up in some glass jar for fear it may be injured by contact with
the air. The ballot opens the door for every true and needed
reform for women, because the ballot is the great educating
power. A true, right-feeling woman does not want to be dependent,
and the ballot will educate them to independence, because it
brings duties and responsibilities to them.

Resolutions[190] were presented by H. B. Blackwell, chairman of
the Committee on Resolutions.

Mrs. LUCY STONE then addressed the Convention as follows: The
ideas which underlie the question of woman suffrage have reached
the last stage of discussion before their final acceptance. They
have grown up first through the period of indifference, then that
of scorn, and then that of moral agitation; and now they are
ushered into politics. In nearly every Northern and Western
State, such discussions have been had, and action has been taken
upon the subject in some form. Even in South Carolina it has
voted itself, with the Governor of the State for its ally. Under
the XIV. and XV. Amendments, several women in Washington
attempted to vote, but were refused. They are now trying the
question in the United States Courts. In Congress 55 votes were
cast in our favor at the last session. Politicians know perfectly
well that our success is a foregone conclusion. No coming event
ever cast its shadow before it more clearly than does this--that
women will vote. It is only a question of time, say all. It is
important for us, then, to-day, to suggest such measures as shall
win us sympathy, co-operation, and success; and for the first
time give to the world an example of true republicanism--a
government of the people, by the people, and for the people--man
and woman.

If neither of the existing parties takes up our cause, then the
best men from both will form a new party, which will win for
itself sympathy, support, power, and supremacy, because it gave
itself to the service of those who needed justice.



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