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It is not a question of mere taxation; it is a
question of thorough humanity; a question not of mere
geographical limitation, not of America, not of England, not of
France, not of Italy, not of Spain; but, were it a question in
any of these countries, a woman would stand up to show you that
woman can do woman's work of making man truer and purer; and
there is no age of the world in which you can not find some woman
who has shone out in the darkness of night to show you that,
though other stars were obscured, she could still shine; and
whenever woman suffrage is debated, my voice is at their service,
for the grander woman is made, the purer will man be.

At the next session the report of the Executive Committee was
made by the Chairman, Mrs. Lucy Stone. After which letters were
read from Lydia Maria Child, Mrs. H. M. Tracy Cutler, Elizabeth
Stuart Phelps, Hon. H. A. Voris, and Miss Lavinia Goodell. The
Committee on Resolutions[199] reported a long list of stirring
appeals to those who have the real interests of humanity at
heart. Their adoption was urged in an able speech by Mr.
Blackwell. The following session was principally devoted to the
hearing of the reports from the auxiliary societies. The
delegates, 159 in number, represented twelve States.

Rev. CHARLES G. AMES, of Pennsylvania, in reply to Mrs. Stone,
said he thought it both impolitic and unreasonable to come into
collision with the awakening spirit of the country in the matter
of the Centennial. The American Revolution did great things for
us all, woman included; and although it did not give her a
political status, yet it established organic principles which
make woman suffrage possible, logical and ultimately certain. No
event has yet brought suffrage to woman; shall she therefore
regard all history up to date as a failure, as if there were
nothing in it worth celebrating? Rather may we rejoice that all
the past is a series of steps leading up to the present; and
still we mount! Woman suffrage is present in the institutions of
our country as a germ; it is growing. In not affirming it the
fathers did no conscious or intentional wrong; and only a few
cultivated women of the Revolutionary period, like Mrs. Adams and
a lady friend of Richard Henry Lee, felt the inconsistency of
affirming the equality of all human beings and then ignoring half
of them. But in days of war and slavery, Mr. Seward said,
"Liberty is in the Union"; so we may say, Suffrage is in the
Union. The negroes who fought for the Union, while it was only a
white man's Union, were winning their own enfranchisement; the
women who celebrate American Independence are doing honor to
principles which will some day bring justice to all the
inhabitants of the land.

The discussions on this subject of suffrage have disclosed to the
American people their own low estimate of the ballot, as a coarse
and uncertain instrument for procuring only coarse and doubtful
benefits. They ought to thank us for bringing to light this
dangerous skepticism, and for compelling attention to those
deeper principles of justice and equality which alone can work
the timely cure. To refuse to follow those principles when their
new application becomes obvious, is to give up the Republic.

Yet there has been a relative decline of politics. The "powers
that be," or the ruling forces of the country are not seated
alone at Washington and the State capitals; new and mightier
lawgivers have arisen. Civilization has come to include and
employ other than political agents for the maintenance of order
and the promotion of welfare. The power of opinion as generated
by education, literature, religion, business or social life, and
as announced through the press, and propagated in the widening
circles of personal influence--this rules the rulers and masters
the country. Thus, within the nation and fostered by its freedom,
there has grown up a grander republic of thought and sentiment,
which has also blossomed into many a fair institution. Of this
more glorious republic, woman is a welcome and unquestioned
citizen. Her opportunities for self-help and for helping others,
her share in the common burdens and her dividend of the common
benefits, must be far larger, in our country and now, than in any
other land or time. All this, the thoughtful friends of suffrage
will gladly admit.

But does this concession belittle the importance of woman's
political rights? Exactly not! A part in the government becomes
important to any class in proportion as they become large
stockholders in common affairs and as they become aware of their
own interests and their own powers. The ballot is of little
value to an unawakened, unaspiring people; their masters will
look after matters. But American women are not unawakened or
unaspiring. To many of them, life has grown painful, because
their advancing ideal is dishonored by a sense of violated
justice. Along with large freedom has come developed faculty,
awakened desire, conscious power and public spirit. Precisely
because their actual freedom is so large and sweet, they are
galled by every rusty link of the old political chain. Not the
mere handling of a ballot do they crave, but the position of
unchallenged and unqualified equality, and the removal of the old
brand of inferiority, which weakens alike their self-respect and
their hold on the respect of others.

At present, the position of woman in the State is false,
contradictory and uncomfortable. She has ceased to be a nobody;
but she is not yet conceded to be a somebody. As she has gained
many rights which were once denied, the old theory which made her
a slave is overthrown; as she has not gained the absolute and
chartered right of self-government, the new theory of her
equality is not yet established. Of that equality suffrage is the
symbol, as in this country it is now the symbol for men. She
demands to be the custodian of her own affairs, and not to hold
them by sufferance. She demands to be equal behind the law and in
the law, as well as before the law.

The Committee on Nominations reported the list of officers[200]
for the ensuing year.

Miss EASTMAN said: There are many questions of profound interest
occupying the minds of the community, and people come together to
unravel if possible the complications of business and human
obligations; questions of railroads, of tariffs, of the
protection of dumb animals, and, most important of all, of the
delicate relations of society to the unfortunate classes, and of
equity between man and man. All these need the consideration
which is made possible by the accumulated wisdom of centuries and
the insight which eighteen hundred years' study of Christian
principles have developed. But I shall never get over a sense of
anachronism, of being out of time, in arguing at this late day a
claim for so fundamental a thing as human freedom. I rub my eyes
to make sure that I have not been in a Rip Van Winkle slumber for
a few centuries, and am not coming before a nineteenth century
audience with an untimely protest against a wrong long since
abolished, and of which children only hear nowadays in their
study of history, or when their parents draw a picture of the sad
old times when an injustice prevailed against one half the
people, and these the mothers, wives, and daughters. But no! we
have none of us been permitted to betake ourselves to a mount of
delight and to rest in enchanted slumber while the great wrongs
righted themselves. We are here on the hither side of the
conflict and must put our puny human strength into the work.
Though this is the nineteenth century after Christ, we are
here--in the most civilized, or perhaps I should better say, the
least uncivilized country on the face of the globe--to urge the
right of one half the human race to the same personal freedom and
voice in the control of its own and the general interests as are
possessed by the other half.

Mrs. FRANCES WATKINS HARPER was the last speaker. She said that
she had often known women who wished they had been born men, but
had known only one man who wished he had been born a woman, and
that was during the war when he was in danger of being drafted
into the army. He then not only expressed the wish that he had
been born a girl, but even went further, and longed to be a
girl-baby at that. Mrs. Harper gave a touching description of the
disabilities to which women, and especially colored women, are
subjected, and looked forward to their enfranchisement as the
dawn of a better era alike for men and for women. At the
conclusion of Mrs. Harper's address the Convention adjourned
_sine die_.

* * * * *

The anniversary of the recognition of the equal political rights
of women by the Constitutional Convention of New Jersey, July 2,
1776, celebrated in 1876 by the American Woman Suffrage
Association, was as bright and beautiful as the fact it
commemorated. Notwithstanding the heat of the weather and the
varied attractions of the Exhibition and the great procession, an
intelligent audience assembled at Philadelphia in Horticultural
Hall. It contained many representatives of Pennsylvania, but was
mainly composed of several hundred friends of woman suffrage from
all parts of the country. The meeting was called to order by
Henry B. Blackwell, Secretary of the Society, who read the call
and introduced Mrs.



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