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That was not the question at the last election.
That was not the question that was argued in another part of this
Capitol. That was not embraced in the bill now before us for
consideration. Questions of a different character engross our
attention; and, sir, we have but one straightforward course to
pursue in this matter. While I may and do indorse, I believe,
substantially all that my honorable friend from Ohio has said,
and while I can not state perhaps a good reason why under our
form of government all persona, male and female, should not
exercise the right of suffrage, yet we have another matter on
hand now. We have fought the fight, and our banners blaze
victoriously in the sky. The honorable Senator from Pennsylvania
stands humbled and overcome at his defeat, and he might just as
well bow his head before the wheels of that Juggernaut of which
he spoke, which has crushed him to the earth, and say, let the
_vox populi_, which is the _vox Dei_, be the rule of this land.

I believe that this issue will come, and if the gentleman
proposes to make it in the next elections, I shall be with him
perhaps on the question of universal suffrage; for, sir, I am for
universal suffrage. I am not for qualified suffrage; I am not for
property suffrage; T am not for intelligent suffrage, as it is
termed; but I am for universal suffrage. That is my doctrine.
But, sir, when it is proposed to crush out the will of the
American people by an issue which certainly is not made in
sincerity and truth, then I have no difficulty whatever. While I
do not commit myself against the progress of human civilization,
because I believe that time is coming, in voting "no" on this
amendment I only vote to maintain the position for which I have
fought, and for which my State has fought. My notions are
peculiar on this subject. I confess that I am for universal
suffrage, and when the time comes I am for suffrage by females as
well as males; but that is not the point before us.

Mr. WILSON: The Senator from Pennsylvania demands that I shall
express my concurrence in or my opposition to his amendment. I
tell him, without the least hesitation, I shall vote against it.
I am opposed to connecting together these two questions,
enfranchisement of black men and the enfranchisement of women,
and therefore shall vote against his amendment.

These ladies in the conventions recently held seem to have made a
great impression upon the Senator from Pennsylvania. While I
heard him reading their speeches, I could not but regret that the
Senator had not read the speeches of some of those ladies and the
speeches of some of those gentlemen who attended those recent
meetings, before he came into the Senate. If he had read the
speeches of the ladies and gentlemen who have attended these
conventions during the past few years, their speeches might have
made as great an impression on him at an earlier day as they seem
to have done at this; and if they had done so, the Senator might
have made a record for liberty, justice, and humanity he would
have been proud of after he leaves the Senate. I have, sir, quite
the advantage of the honorable Senator. I have been accustomed to
attend the meetings of some of these ladies and gentlemen for
many years, and read their speeches too. I read these speeches
for the freedom of all, and for the enfranchisement of all, woman
included. Before I came to the Senate of the United States, I
entertained the conviction that it would be better for this
country, that our legislation would be more humane, more for
liberty, more for a high civilization, if the women of the
country were permitted to vote, and every year of my life has
confirmed that conviction. I have been more than ever convinced
of it since I have read the opinions of one of the foremost men
of this or any other age--John Stuart Mill.

But I say to the Senator from Pennsylvania that while these are
my opinions, while I will vote now or at any time for woman
suffrage, if he or any other Senator will offer it as a distinct,
separate measure, I am unalterably opposed to connecting that
question with the pending question of negro suffrage. The
question of negro suffrage is now an imperative necessity; a
necessity that the negro should possess it for his own
protection; a necessity that he should possess it that the nation
may preserve its power, its strength, and its unity. We have
fought that battle, as has been stated by the Senator from
Illinois; we have won negro suffrage for the District of
Columbia, and I say I believe we have won for all the States; and
before the 4th of March, 1869, before this Administration shall
close, I hope that the negro in all the loyal States will be
clothed with the right of suffrage. That they will be in the ten
rebel States I can not doubt, for patriotism, liberty, justice,
and humanity demand it.

This bill, embodying pure manhood suffrage, is destined to become
the law in spite of all opposition and all lamentations. I am
opposed, therefore, to associating with this achieved measure the
question of suffrage for women. That question has been discussed
for many years by ladies of high intelligence and of stainless
character--ladies who have given years of their lives to the
cause of liberty, to the cause of the bondman, to the cause of
justice and humanity, to the improvement of all and the elevation
of all. No one could have heard them or have read their speeches
years ago, without feeling that they were in earnest. They have
made progress; these women have instructed the country; women,
and men too, have been instructed; progress is making in that
direction; but the public judgment is not so pronounced in any
one State to-day in favor of woman suffrage, as to create any
large and general movement for it. Time is required to instruct
the public mind and to carry forward and to concentrate the
public judgment in favor of woman suffrage. All public men are
not in its favor as is the Senator from Ohio, as has already been
proved in this debate. I am, therefore, sir, for keeping these
questions apart. I am for securing the needed suffrage for the
colored race. I am for enfranchising the black man, and then if
this other question shall come up in due time, and I have a vote
to give, I shall be ready to give my vote for it. But to vote for
it now is to couple it with the great measure now pressing upon
us, to weaken that measure and to endanger its immediate triumph,
and therefore I shall vote against the amendment proposed by the
Senator from Pennsylvania, made, it is too apparent, not for the
enfranchisement of woman, but against the enfranchisement of the
black man.

Mr. JOHNSON: The immediate question before the Senate, I
understand, is upon the amendment offered by the honorable member
from Pennsylvania, which, if I am correctly informed, is to
strike out the word "male," so as to give to all persons,
independent of sex, the right of voting. It is, therefore, a
proposition to admit to the right of suffrage all the females in
the District of Columbia who may have the required residence and
are of the required age. I am not aware that the right is given
to that class anywhere in the United States. I believe for a very
short time--my friend from New Jersey will inform me if I am
correct--it was more or less extended to the women of New Jersey;
but, if that be an exception, it is, as far as I am informed, the
only exception; and there are a variety of reasons why, as I
suppose, the right has never been extended as now proposed.

Ladies have duties peculiar to themselves which can not be
discharged by anybody else; the nurture and education of their
children, the demands upon them consequent upon the preservation
of their household; and they are supposed to be more or less in
their proper vocation when they are attending to those particular
duties. But independent of that, I think if it was submitted to
the ladies--I mean the ladies in the true acceptation of the
term--of the United States, the privilege would not only not be
asked for, but would be rejected. I do not think the ladies of
the United States would agree to enter into a canvass, and to
undergo what is often the degradation of seeking to vote,
particularly in the cities, getting up to the polls, crowded out
and crowded in. I rather think they would feel it, instead of a
privilege, a dishonor. There is another reason why the right
should not be extended to them, unless it is the purpose of the
honorable member and of the Senate to go a step further. The
reason why the males are accorded the privilege, and why it was
almost universal in the United States with reference to those of
a certain age, is that they may be called upon to defend the
country in time of war or in time of insurrection. I do not
suppose it is pretended that the ladies should be included in the
militia organization or be compelled to take up arms to defend
the country. That must be done by the male sex, I hope.

But I rose not so much for the purpose of expressing my own
opinion, or reasoning rather upon the opinion, as to refer to a
sentence or two in a letter written many years ago, by the elder
Adams, to a correspondent in Massachusetts. It was proposed at
that time in Massachusetts to alter the suffrage. It was then
limited in that State. That limitation, it was suggested, should
be taken away in whole or in part, and the correspondent to whom
this letter was addressed seems to have been in favor of that
change.



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