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* * * * *

SOJOURNER TRUTH ON THE PRESS.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE WORLD:--We have had the pleasure of entertaining
Mrs. Stowe's "Lybian Sybil" at our home for the last week, and can
bear our testimony to the marvelous wisdom and goodness of this
remarkable woman. She was a slave in this State for forty years, and
has devoted forty years of freedom to the best interests of her race.
Though eighty years of age, she is as active and clear-sighted as
ever, and "understands the whole question of reconstruction, all its
'quagmires and pitfalls,' as she says, as well as any man does."

The morning after the Equal Rights Convention, as the daily journals
one by one made their appearance, turning to the youngsters of the
household, she said: "Children, as there is no school to-day, will you
read Sojourner the reports of the Convention? I want to see whether
these young sprigs of the press do me justice. You know, children, I
don't read such small stuff as letters, I read men and nations. I can
see through a millstone, though I can't see through a spelling-book.
What a narrow idea a reading qualification is for a voter! I know and
do what is right better than many big men who read. And there's that
property qualification! just as bad. As if men and women themselves,
who made money, were not of more value than the thing they made. If I
were a delegate to the Constitutional Convention I could make
suffrage as clear as daylight; but I am afraid these Republicans will
'purty, purty' about all manner of small things week out and week in,
and never settle this foundation question after all." Sojourner then
gathered up her bag and shawl, and walked into the parlor in a stately
manner, and there, surrounded by the children, the papers were duly
read and considered. The _Express_, the _Post_, the _Commercial
Advertiser_, the _World_, the _Times_, the _Herald_, the _Tribune_,
and the _Sun_, all passed in review. The _World_ seemed to please
Sojourner more than any other journal. She said she liked the wit of
the _World's_ reporter; all the little texts running through the
speeches, such as "Sojourner on Popping Up," "No Grumbling," "Digging
Stumps," "Biz," to show what is coming, so that one can get ready to
cry or laugh, as the case may be--a kind of sign-board, a milestone,
to tell where we are going, and how fast we go. The readers then call
her attention to the solid columns of the other papers, and the
versification of the _World_. She said she did not like the dead calm.
She liked the breaking up into verses, like her songs. That is a good
thing; it gives the reporter time to take breath and sharpen his pen,
and think of some witty thing to say; for life is a hard battle
anyway, and if we can laugh and sing a little as we fight the good
fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier. "But, children, why did
you not send for some of those wicked Democratic papers that abuse all
good people and good things." "They are all here," said the readers in
chorus. "We have read you all the Republicans and the Democrats say."
"Why, children, I can't tell one from the other. The millennium must
be here, when one can't tell saints from sinners, Republicans from
Democrats. Is the _World_ Horace Greeley's paper?" "Oh, no; the
_World_ is Democratic!" "Democratic! Why, children, the _World_ does
move! But there is one thing I don't exactly see; if the Democrats are
all ready to give equal rights to all, what are the Republicans making
such a fuss about? Mr. Greeley was ready for this twenty years ago; if
he had gone on as fast as the Democrats he should have been on the
platform, at the conventions, making speeches, and writing
resolutions, long ago." "Oh," said some one of larger growth, "Mr.
Greeley is busy with tariffs and protective duties. What do you think,
Sojourner, of free trade? Do you not think if England and France have
more dry-goods than they want that they had better send them to us,
and we in turn send them our fruits and flowers and grains; our
timber, iron, fish, and ice?" "Yes, I go for everything free. Let
nature, like individuals, make the most of what God has given them,
have their neighbors to do the same, and then do all they can to serve
each other. There is no use in one man, or one nation, to try to do or
be everything. It is a good thing to be dependent on each other for
something, it makes us civil and peaceable. But," said Sojourner,
"where is Theodore Tilton's paper?" "Oh, the _Independent_ is a
weekly, it came out before the Convention." "But Theodore is not a
weekly; why did he not come to the Convention and tell us what he
thought?" "Well, here is his last paper, with a grand editorial," and
Sojourner listened to the end with interest. "That's good," said she,
"but he don't say woman." "Oh, he is talking about sectarianism, not
suffrage; the Church, not the State." "No matter, the Church wrongs
woman as much as the State. 'Wives, obey your husbands,' is as bad as
the common law. 'The husband and wife are one, and that one the
husband.' I am afraid Theodore and Horace are playing bo-peep with
their shadows. Did you tell me that Mr. Greeley is a delegate to the
Constitutional Convention?" Yes, and I hope that he will soon wake up
to the fact that the Democrats are going ahead of him, and instead of
writing articles on 'Democracy run mad,' on tariffs and mining
interests, it behooves him to be studying what genuine republicanism
is, and whether we are to realize it in the Empire State this very
year or not. "Speaking of shadows," said Sojourner, "I wish the
_World_ to know that when I go among fashionable people in the Church
of the Puritans, I do not carry 'rations' in my bag; I keep my shadow
there. I have good friends enough to give me clothes and rations. I
stand on principle, always in one place, so everybody knows where to
find Sojourner, and I don't want my shadow even to be dogging about
here and there and everywhere, so I keep it in this bag." "I think,"
said one of the group, "the press should hereafter speak of you as
Mrs. Stowe's Lybian Sybil, and not as 'old church woman.'" "Oh, child,
that's good enough. The _Herald_ used to call me 'old black nigger,'
so this sounds respectable. Have you read the _Herald_ too, children?
Is that born again? Well, we are all walking the right way together.
I'll tell you what I'm thinking. My speeches in the Convention read
well. I should like to have the substance put together, improved a
little, and published in tract form, headed 'Sojourner Truth on
Suffrage;' for if these timid men, like Greeley, knew that Sojourner
was out for 'universal suffrage,' they would not be so afraid to
handle the question. Yes, children, I am going to rouse the people on
equality. I must sojourn once to the ballot-box before I die. I hear
the ballot-box is a beautiful glass globe, so you can see all the
votes as they go in. Now, the first time I vote I'll see if a woman's
vote looks any different from the rest--if it makes any stir or
commotion. If it don't inside, it need not outside. That good speech
of Henry Ward Beecher's made my heart leap for joy; he just hit the
nail right on the head when he said you never lost anything by asking
everything; if you bait the suffrage-hook with a woman you will
certainly catch a black man. There is a great deal in that philosophy,
children. Now I must go and take a smoke!" I tell you in confidence,
Mr. Editor, Sojourner smokes!

Yours respectfully, E. C. S.

P. S.--She says she has been sent into the smoking-car so often she
smoked in self-defense--she would rather swallow her own smoke than
another's.

* * * * *

CHAPTER XIX.

THE KANSAS CAMPAIGN, 1867.

IMPARTIAL SUFFRAGE IN KANSAS--A VIGOROUS CANVASS ANTICIPATED.

ST.



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