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Over the platform in
large letters were inscribed, "Equal Work;" "Equal Wages;"
"Welcome;" while around the entire hall ran evergreens in loops
and circles. Elias Longley, the constant and true friend of
suffrage for women, had taken charge of the advertising, and it
was most effectively done. The newspapers showed good will in
advance by pleasant local notices. Mrs. Margeret V. Longley, who
has been a member of the American Association from the time it
was organized, who is clear-eyed and true-hearted, took charge of
arrangements for entertainment and hospitality. She was aided in
this by Mrs. E. A. Latta, who has come later to the work, but who
has brought her heart and conscience to it, and in her church
and out of it she remembers the rights of women; Mrs. Morse, of
Walnut Hills, and other ladies co-operated, so that as delegates
arrived they were assigned to pleasant homes. At the appointed
hour on Tuesday evening a full hall greeted the speakers. The
Cincinnati _Gazette_ said:

The first meeting of the American Woman Suffrage Association
at the Melodeon Hall last evening, was one that would do
credit to any cause. The large hall was nearly filled with
people who would rank high in intelligence and good standing
in this cultured community. And the fact that the larger
portion were women meets the objection often made to this
movement, that the women themselves are not in favor of
suffrage for themselves.

Rev. W. C. WENDTE, the first speaker of the evening, said: Woman
should not only be allowed a fair chance so far as business and
the administration of an estate is concerned; every woman ought
to have the ballot. Many will say, I believe woman ought to have
the right to equal education, wages, carry on business, and
choose any vocation she wants, but doubt after all whether it is
best to put upon her the responsibility of the ballot. We have
not a very exalted opinion of our right to vote, and this
objection is often made with a kindly, honest, and earnest fear
that she will drag herself down to the low filth of politics.
Leave out the ballot, and woman's rights is like a pyramid
without the apex, or, better still, like building a temple
without the corner stone. I have no Utopian notions concerning
the immediate effect of woman's voting. I do not think the
millennium is coming when she can vote. But if women could vote
it would not be possible for those disreputable shows on Vine
street, the foulest and filthiest that ever disgraced a Christian
city, to continue one day longer. They would be put down by the
overwhelming power of moral sentiment of the mothers, sisters,
wives, and sweethearts, expressed at the ballot-box; and the men
who are now so derelict, careless and indolent, will be wakened
up to some earnestness against those exhibitions.

I will say, in conclusion, that I most heartily welcome these
women among us, some of whom, like Mrs. Lucy Stone, have labored
long and faithfully. I would say that you may come up like Moses
of old, and see the promised land, and unlike him, unless all
signs fail, you shall enter and receive the just reward of all
your toil. The time is coming when women will have the ballot.
State after State is wheeling into the line. In Massachusetts
they have the right of the ballot for school committee. Step by
step they are climbing up, and soon the time will come when the
American people will rise up in new-found manhood and say: "My
sister, we will not ask you to receive the ballot from our hands
as a condescending privilege, but will ask you to go forward and
take it as your inalienable right."

Mrs. REBECCA N. HAZARD, of St. Louis, President of the
Association, spoke as follows: As one after another the
milestones are reached which mark the progress of our cause, we
pause to examine the ground upon which we stand. If to our
impatient vision in looking forward the journey seems long, we
have only to look back to see how much of the way has been left
behind. To those who have borne the burdens of this undertaking
the work may appear to move slowly. But this is always the case
where enduring principles are to be planted. "What the ancients
said of the avenging gods, that they are shod with wool," says
Lieber, "is true of great ideas in history. They approach softly.
Great truths always dwell a long time in small minorities."
Growing in unobserved places, they take root and become strong
before their spreading branches attract the public gaze.

To many the pursuit of an abstract principle under so many
difficulties seems an absurdity. They therefore impute motives
more or less unworthy to those who are willing to immolate
themselves for an idea. There are always at least two ways of
looking at any question, and I have sometimes placed myself in
the position of those who take an unfavorable view of woman
suffrage, and who reason in this wise: "These women are
discontented. They must have been unfortunate. They seek to
overstep the limits which nature and circumstance have placed
about them. Not content with the round of domestic duties which
has hitherto constituted the sum total of woman's life, they seek
to perform the functions which custom has allotted to man. They
desire to be independent, self-sustaining--strong, while the more
attractive ideal woman is fragile, clinging, dependent. Why
should they desire to overturn the existing order of things? The
world gets on pleasantly enough, why introduce these disquieting
questions, when by patient acquiescence we might have
tranquillity, and, perhaps, more of the pleasant things of life?"
or as I once heard it formulated by a lady: "Why should Mrs. A.
want to vote when she has such an indulgent husband." This is one
view of the subject and there are times in the life of every
woman when such reasoning has more or less weight.

But there is another side to this question, and how changed the
picture. The whole scope and meaning of this wonderful woman's
movement here dawns upon us. We find a new order of things
indeed. We behold amid the changing dynasties of the world a new
government arise--a republic based, not upon the will of the
strongest, not upon property, but upon the rights of the
individual. With a code of political ethics more perfect than any
the world has yet seen, we find it still hesitating to put these
principles to the test. As a consequence it struggles in the
waves of political disorder like a ship without ballast.
Recognizing as vital doctrines the equality of the race, and the
value of the family as the political unit, we find the woman
principle, the mother element, subdued, subjected, deprived of
any fair expression in the conduct of the government. As a result
we have corruption in high places, fraud, public distrust, and
their host of accompanying evils. We find forces at work which
threaten the security of our homes, the manhood of our sons, the
purity of our daughters; in a word, the whole social structure of
society. Reflecting on these things we begin to understand the
meaning of the ballot for woman. Scrutinizing closely, we find
that it means justice, integrity, peace, purity, temperance,
sweeter manners, wiser laws.

Lucy Stone made the next and last speech of the evening, on "The
Meaning of the Woman Suffrage Movement, the What and the How."

The session of Wednesday morning was devoted to business, the
election of officers,[205] and hearing of reports of the
auxiliary societies. At the afternoon session, Dr. Mary F.
Thomas, of Indiana, Dr. Hannah Tracy Cutler, of Illinois, Rev.
Thomas J. Vater, of Ohio, and Rev. Sarah M. Perkins, of Vermont,
made earnest and able addresses. Mrs. Perkins had come fresh from
the Women's Christian Temperance Union in Indianapolis, baptized
with its earnest spirit of work. Rev. T. J. Vater appealed to the
women to strive for solid excellence, leaving forever the tinsel
and the show which have been held as appropriate to woman. His
speech excited discussion, and added much interest to the
afternoon session. The Business Committee reported the following
resolutions:

_Resolved_, That in the death of Wm. Lloyd Garrison, who
signed the "Call" for the meeting which formed this
Association, who was an officer in it from the beginning,
and its President last year, the cause of equal rights has
suffered an irreparable loss.

_Resolved_, That suffragists everywhere owe a debt of
gratitude to the memory of Angelina Grimke Weld, lately
deceased, who as one of the first women speakers, prepared
the way and opened wide the door for all other women to be
heard in their own defense.

Dr. Mary F. Thomas and Lucy Stone spoke feelingly to these
resolutions, which were adopted by a standing vote of the
meeting. At the last evening, Mrs. Cutler read a letter from Mrs.
Frances D. Gage.

_Friends of the American Woman Suffrage Association, of my
dear native State, Ohio:_

WITH what joy and gladness I would lift my heart to the
All-good, All-true, and All-beautiful, if I could be with
you to-day, and speak my emphatic yes and amen in the behalf
of all true efforts for woman suffrage. But what word can I
speak that will not be better spoken? What argument is not
already familiar to the reading and thinking mind?



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