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"Is she to be taxed in South Carolina to support
the aristocracy?" Betty lives in South Carolina, it seems. "Will
you be just, or will you be partial to the end of time!"

The marriage relation was alluded to by Mrs. Gage.

And here is a most important part, to which I would direct the
attention of my brother Senators as fundamental in two
respects--fundamental in the testimony it furnishes of the
character of those you now propose to invest with the right of
suffrage, fundamental in its character as to the use which they
will make of it as to one-half of the people who are in this bill
presumed to be the objects of your especial care. The marriage
relation was alluded to by Mrs. Gage. "When the positive order
was sent to me to compel the marriage of the colored people
living together, the women came to me with tears, and said, 'We
don't want to be married in the church, because when we are
married in the church our husbands treat us just as old massa
used to, and whip us if they think we deserve it; but when we
ain't married in the church they knows if they tyrannize over us
we go and leff 'em.'"

That is the class of male, gentlemen, to whom you propose to give
suffrage. These poor women who have to be whipped if the males
think they deserve it, are the people to whom you deny it. These
are the gentlemen who are to fabricate and make your laws of
marriage, who are to fix the causes of divorce in these several
States. These are the men, in other words, who are to enact, if
it so please them, that upon the marriage the husband becomes
seized of all his wife's property, of the personalty absolute and
the realty as tenant by courtesy; or perhaps they will have no
courtesy about it--and I should not wonder if they had not--and
give it to him in fee.

"And the men"--I beg the Senate to remember that I am reading the
testimony of Mrs. Gage; unexceptionable testimony: "And the men
came to me and said: 'We want you to compel them to be married,
for we can't manage them unless you do.'"

I am not certain whether they can always be managed even after
they are married. [Laughter]. But this is worse a great deal than
before: "'They goes and earns just as much money as we does, and
then they goes and spends it, and never asks no questions. Now we
wants 'em married in the church, 'cause when they's married in
the church we makes em mind.' So in San Domingo establishing the
laws of marriage made tyranny for these redeemed slave women."

Mrs. Gage continues: "I would not say one word against marriage,
God forbid. It is the noblest institution we have in this
country. But let it be a marriage of equality. Let the man and
woman stand as equals before the law. Let the freedwoman of the
South own the money she earns by her own labor, and give her the
right of suffrage; for she knows as much as the freedman. Bring
in these elements, and you will achieve a success. But I will
stand firmly and determinedly against the oppression that puts
the newly emancipated colored woman of South Carolina under
subjection to her husband required by the marriage laws of South
Carolina. I demand equality on behalf of the freedwoman as well
as the freedman."

I might follow Mrs. Gage further; I might detain the Senate here
hour after hour reading extracts from the various speeches and
essays which have been delivered and made upon this subject
within the last few years, and I may again make the challenge
which I made yesterday. Let us have a reason why these are not
potent to influence our action. Let us be told wherein the object
of this argument is defective. Let us be shown why it is, if
these things are rights, natural or conventional, that those who
have interests are not to participate in them.

I listened to the eloquent and ingenious remarks of my honorable
friend from Maine [Mr. Morrill]--old, time-worn, belonging to the
region of paleontology, far behind the carboniferous era. I would
not undertake to go back there and answer them. All I can do with
them is to refer them to the next meeting of the Equal Rights
Society, which more than likely will meet in Albany or Boston the
next time. There they will be attended to, and there they will be
answered in such satisfactory phrase, I have no doubt, as would
pale any poor effort of mine in the attempt. I have also listened
to my honorable friend from Oregon [Mr. Williams], and still
there are the same ancient foot-prints, the same old arguments,
the same things that satisfied men thousands of years ago, and
which never did satisfy any woman that I know of, the same
traveling continually of the tracks of the lion into the cave
along with his victim, and _nulla retrorsum vestigia_, not a step
ever came back. But let me say to my friends that Mrs. Elizabeth
Cady Stanton, Mrs. Frances D. Gage, Miss Susan B. Anthony, are
upon your heels. They have their banner flung out to the winds;
they are after you; and their cry is for justice, and you can not
deny it. To deny is to deny the perpetuity of your race.

Now, Mr. President, in regard to this District and this city,
here is a fair proposition. It proposes to confer upon all
persons above the age of twenty-one years the right to
participate in the city government. Is any one afraid of it? Is
my honorable friend from Maine afraid of it? He says it shall be
confined to the males. He and my friend from Oregon have gone on
to tell you that the white males of this city are in a very bad
condition; indeed, some of them in such a terrible condition that
we are called upon to pass a bill of attainder, or a bill of
pains and penalties, and a little _ex post facto_ law in order to
reach their tergiversations and perverseness. If that be true,
why not incorporate some other element? I do not know much about
the female portion of the negroes of this District except what I
have seen, and I must confess that although there are a great
many respectable persons among the negroes, and many for whom I
have considerable regard, yet as a mass they have not impressed
me as being a very high style of human development.

When I look along the pavements and about the walks and see them
lounging, I am free to say that, without having been previously
enlightened on the subject by so much as we have heard upon it
recently, I should have had great doubts about conferring on them
the right of suffrage. And when I reflect that they have a
Freedmen's Bureau to make their contracts for them and to keep
them in order, and, it is said, to protect them against the
enmity of their white neighbors, even where they have a majority,
or nearly a majority, I am not strengthened in my partiality for
them by that. And when I reflect that just about this time last
year we had great hesitation about adjourning, for fear that the
people represented by these males who are now to be invested with
the franchise were in an actually starving condition in this
District, and that the chief authorities of the District, moved,
I have no doubt, by that humanity which ought to characterize
them everywhere, investigated the matter and reported to us, we
were obliged to appropriate $25,000 to relieve them in their
immediate wants; I do not think that speaks so well for the male
portion of the African population of this city.

I believe if it were to come to the last resort, that the female
Africans of the District of Columbia have more merit, more
industry, more of all that which is calculated to make them good
and virtuous members of society than the males have. Why should
you not throw them in? Why should you throw this batch of males
into the ballot-box without any countervailing element which
would be efficacious to qualify it and make it better?

To me it is perfectly plain. I have reconciled my mind to negro
suffrage, but while I reconcile myself to negro suffrage as
inevitable, I hold it to be my bounden duty to insist upon female
suffrage at the same time. I am happy to say that in this opinion
I am not alone; that while I favor universal suffrage limited by
the age of twenty-one years so far, there are others who have
been led to this same train of thought with myself. I beg,
therefore, to read a letter dated Jefferson, Ohio, November 14,
1866:

"MADAM:--Yours of the 9th instant is received, and I desire
to say in reply that I am now and ever have been the
advocate of equal and impartial suffrage of all citizens of
the United States who have arrived at the age of twenty-one
years, who are of sound mind, and who have not disqualified
themselves by the commission of any offence, without any
distinction on account of race, color, or sex. Every
argument that ever has been or ever can be adduced to prove
that males should have the right to vote, applies with equal
if not greater force to prove that females should possess
the same right; and were I a citizen of your State I should
labor with whatever of ability I possess to ingraft those
principles in its constitution. Yours, very respectfully,

B. F. WADE.

"_To_ SUSAN B. ANTHONY,
_Secretary American Equal Rights Association_."

Now, Mr. President, I ask whether this has not an orthodox
sanction at least. I should like to know who would question, who
would dare to question, the orthodoxy of the honorable Senator
from Ohio, and who dares tell me that this is such a novelty that
it is not to be introduced here as serious, as in earnest?



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