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I don't intend to
detain you long, because your meeting is here for a
different purpose, but I hope you will give me your
sympathies. I can not make you an eloquent speech, for I, as
a working woman, have had to labor eighteen hours a day for
my bread, and therefore have had no time to educate myself
as an orator.

HENRY B. BLACKWELL said: This audience is composed mostly of men.
I have a word to say to men especially. Why is it that labor is
oppressed and that working women and working men are in some
respects worse off than ever before? I answer; because our
Government is Republican only in name. It is not even
representative of men. The primary meetings which nominate the
candidates and control the policy of parties are neglected by the
voters. Not one man in fifty attends them. They are controlled in
every locality by rings of trading politicians.

Now there is only one remedy for this. You must somehow contrive
to interest the mass of the people in public business. You must
reform the primary meetings by securing an attendance of the
intelligent classes of the community. There is only one way to do
this. The same way you have already adopted in the churches, in
charitable associations, in society, everywhere except in
politics, you must enlist the sympathy and co-operation of women.
Then the men who now stay away will go with their wives and
sisters. The reason the better class of men neglect to attend the
primaries is this--civilized and refined men spend their evenings
in the society of women; they go with them to church meetings, to
concerts, to lectures. They do not break off these engagements to
go down to some liquor saloon, or other unattractive locality,
there, amid the fumes of tobacco and whisky, to find everything
already cut and dried beforehand. They try it once or twice and
then retire for life disgusted. We ask suffrage for women because
they are different from men. Not better nor wiser on the whole,
but better and wiser in certain respects. They are more
temperate, more chaste, more economical. Their presence will
appeal to the self-respect of men. Thus both will be improved,
and politics will be redeemed and purified.

The second session of this Convention was held in Brooklyn, in
Plymouth Church. At this meeting the Chairman of the Executive
Committee, Mrs. Lucy Stone read her annual report, and then the
delegates from the different States gave accounts of the cause in
all parts of the Union, as carried on by means of the State
societies. At the opening of the afternoon session Col. HIGGINSON
read the following letters:


ANDOVER, MASS., Sept. 29, 1873.

MY DEAR MRS. STONE:--My regret at not being able to attend
the meetings of the American Suffrage Association this year,
is not consoled by the pleasure of expressing, by letter, my
warmest sympathy with their objects; but, if we can not do
the thing we would, we must do the next best thing to it.

To say that I believe in womanhood suffrage with my whole
head and heart, is very imperfectly to express the eagerness
with which I hope for it, and the confidence with which I
expect it. It will come, as other right things come, because
it is right. But those forces which "make for righteousness"
make haste slowly. Do we not often trip up ourselves in our
pilgrimage toward truth, by attributing our own sense of
hunger and hurry and heat to the fullness and leisure and
calm in which the object of our passionate search moves
forward to meet us? There is something very significant to
the student of progress, in the history of the forerunners
of revolutions. Their eager confidence in their own
immediate success, their pathetic bewilderment at the
mystery of their apparent failures, are rich with suggestion
to any one who means work for an unpopular cause. No reform
marches evenly to its consummation. If it does not meet
apparent overthrow, it must step at times with the
uneasiness of what George Eliot would call its "growing
pains." But growing pains are not death-throes. In the name
of growth and decay let us be exact in our diagnosis!

I have fallen into this train of thought, because there
seems to have been a concerted and deliberate attempt, this
past year, on the part of certain of those opposed to the
thorough elevation of women, to assert that our influence is
distinctly losing ground. Irresponsible assertion is the
last refuge of the force whose arguments have fallen off in
the fray, and "unconscious annihilation" is as yet a very
agreeable condition. It might be replied, in the language of
the hymn-book:

"If this be death,
'Tis sweet to die!"

Perhaps to the onlookers this has not been one of our fast
years. No one actually engaged in the struggle to improve
the condition of women can for an instant doubt that it has
been a strong one. A silent, sure awakening of women to
their own needs is taking place on every hand; and it is
becoming evident that until the masses of women are thus
awakened, the movement to enfranchise them must not
anticipate any very vivid successes. Let us be content if
our strength runs for a time to the making of muscle, not to
the trial of speed.

I am, Madam, very sincerely, ELIZABETH STUART PHELPS.


CONCORD, Oct. 1, 1873.

DEAR MRS. STONE:--I am so busy just now proving "woman's
right to labor," that I have no time to help prove "woman's
right to vote."

When I read your note aloud to the family, asking "What
shall I say to Mrs. Stone?" a voice from the transcendental
mist which usually surrounds my honored father instantly
replied, "Tell her you are ready to follow her as leader,
sure that you could not have a better one." My brave old
mother, with the ardor of many unquenchable Mays shining in
her face, cried out, "Tell her I am seventy three, but I
mean to go to the polls before I die, even if my three
daughters have to carry me." And two little men, already
mustered in, added the cheering words, "Go ahead, Aunt
Weedy, we will let you vote as much as ever you like."

Such being the temper of the small Convention of which I am
now president, I can not hesitate to say that though I may
not be with you in body, I shall be in spirit, and am as
ever, hopefully and heartily yours,

LOUISA MAY ALCOTT.

Letters from William Lloyd Garrison and Lydia Maria Child were
also read, expressing deep sympathy and hope for the cause.

Mr. BLACKWELL, as Chairman of the Business Committee, reported
the resolutions, of which the last was:

6. _Resolved_, That the woman suffrage movement, like every
other reform of the age, laments the loss and honors the
memory of its most powerful advocate, John Stuart Mill.

MATILDA J. HINDMAN, of Pittsburgh, made an address explaining the
origin of the movement for woman suffrage, asserting its verity
and necessity. She gave many reasons for woman's needing the
ballot.

Mrs. LUCY STONE gave instances of oppressive laws with reference
to statutes relative to widows which are in force in some New
England States, and which bear very hard upon women because they
can not vote.

Mrs. ABBA G. WOOLSON, of Massachusetts, author of "Woman in
American Society," gave an exceedingly interesting description of
her tour through Wyoming, her hour and a half conversation in the
cars with Gov. Campbell, whose testimony was positive in favor of
all the new privileges given to women, by which Wyoming has
distinguished herself. Mrs. Woolson came home happy to have for
the first time set her foot on Republican soil; "for," said she,
"no State in the Union is a republic, but it is to me an absolute
monarchy."

Rev. CELIA BURLEIGH, demonstrated that this Government is not a
republic, but an aristocracy so long as the suffrage is denied to
woman.

Mrs. MARY A. LIVERMORE found much encouragement for the cause in
various signs of the times. She would have women act as if they
already bore the responsibilities of voters; would have them put
off frivolity and every other cause of offense to opponents, and
put on a soberness of spirit and a gracious gravity of mien as
behooved those in whose hearts a great work lay. She exhorted
them to remember that they were not arrayed against men as foes,
but that they were working with fathers, brothers, husbands and
sons for the best interests of the whole race.

An audience of at least 1,200 persons was present at the closing
session.

The following letter from Miriam M. Cole was read:


OTTERBEIN UNIVERSITY, WESTERVILLE, O., Oct. 4, 1873.

DEAR MR. BLACKWELL--Much as I wish to be with you the 13th
and 14th, I can not. My work in the University can not be
given to another, and I have no right to leave it undone. I
hope your meeting will be profitable and successful. It is
said, "Interest in woman suffrage is dying out." This is not
true, so far as I know.



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