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In England it is not so. It was one
of the things to be learned there that the unvoting population on
any question in which they are interested and united are more
powerful than all the voting population or legislation. The
English Parliament, if they believed to-day that every working
man in Great Britain staked his life on the issues of universal
suffrage, would not dare a month to deny it. For when a nation's
foundations are on a class of men that do not vote, and its
throne stands on forces that are coiled up and liable at any time
to break forth to its overthrow, it is a question whether it is
safe to provoke the exertion of those forces or not. With us,
where all men vote, government is safe; because, if a thing is
once settled by a fair vote, we will go to war rather than give
it up. As when Lincoln was elected, if an election is valid, it
must stand. In such a nation as this, an election is equivalent
to a divine decree, and irreversible. But in Great Britain an
election means, not the will of the people, but the will of
rulers and a favored class, and there is always under them a
great wronged class, that, if they get stirred up by the thought
that they are wronged, will burst out with an explosion that not
the throne, nor parliament, nor the army, nor the exchequer can
withstand the shock. And they wisely give way to the popular will
when they can no longer resist it without running too great a
risk. They oppose it as far as it is safe to do so, and then jump
on and ride it. And you will see them astride of the vote, if the
common people want it. But in America it is not so. The vote with
us is so general that there is no danger of insurrection, and
there is no danger that the government will be ruined by a
wronged class that lies coiled up beneath it. When we speak of
the vote here, it is not the representative of a class, as it is
in England, worn like a star, or garter, saying, "I have the
king's favor or the government's promise of honor." Voting with
us is like breathing. It belongs to us as a common blessing. He
that does not vote is not a citizen, with us.

It is not the vote that I am arguing, except that that is the
outlet. What I am arguing, when I urge that woman should vote, is
that she should do all things back of that which the vote means
and enforces. She should be a nursing mother to human society. It
is a plea that I make, that woman should feel herself called to
be interested not alone in the household, not alone in the
church, not alone in just that neighborhood in which she resides,
but in the sum total of that society to which she belongs; and
that she should feel that her duties are not discharged until
they are commensurate with the definition which our Saviour gave
in the parable of the good Samaritan. I argue, not a woman's
right to vote: I argue woman's _duty to discharge citizenship_.
(Applause.) I say that more and more the great interests of human
society in America are such as need the peculiar genius that God
has given to woman. The questions that are to fill up our days
are not forever to be mere money questions. Those will always
constitute a large part of politics; but not so large a portion
as hitherto. We are coming to a period when it is not merely to
be a scramble of fierce and belluine passions in the strife for
power and ambition. Human society is yet to discuss questions of
work and the workman. Down below privilege lie the masses of men.
More men, a thousand times, feel every night the ground, which is
their mother, than feel the stars and the moon far up in the
atmosphere of favor. As when Christ came the great mass carpeted
the earth, instead of lifting themselves up like trees of
Lebanon, so now and here the great mass of men are men that have
nothing but their hands, their heads, and their good stalwart
hearts, as their capital. The millions that come from abroad come
that they may have light and power, and lift their children up
out of ignorance, to where they themselves could not reach with
the tips of their fingers. And the great question of to-day is,
How shall work find leisure, and in leisure knowledge and
refinement? And this question is knocking at the door of
legislation. And is there a man who does not know, that when
questions of justice and humanity are blended, woman's instinct
is better than man's judgment? From the moment a woman takes the
child into her arms, God makes her the love-magistrate of the
family; and her instincts and moral nature fit her to adjudicate
questions of weakness and want. And when society is on the eve of
adjudicating such questions as these, it is a monstrous fatuity
to exclude from them the very ones that, by nature, and training,
and instinct, are best fitted to legislate and to judge.

For the sake, then, of such questions as these, that have come to
their birth, I feel it to be woman's _duty_ to act in public
affairs. I do not stand here to plead for your _rights_. Rights
compared with duties, are insignificant--are mere baubles--are as
the bow on your bonnet. It seems to me that the voice of God's
providence to you to-day is, "Oh messenger of mine, where are the
words that I sent you to speak? Whose dull, dead ear has been
raised to life by that vocalization of heaven, that was given to
you more than to any other one?" Man is sub-base. A thirty-two
feet six-inch pipe is he. But what is an organ played with the
feet, if all the upper part is left unused? The flute, the
hautboy, the finer trumpet stops, all those stops that minister
to the intellect, the imagination, and the higher feelings--these
must be drawn, and the whole organ played from top to bottom!
(Applause.)

More than that, there are now coming up for adjudication public
questions of education. And who, by common consent, is the
educator of the world? Who has been? Schools are to be of more
importance than railroads--not to undervalue railroads. Books and
newspapers are to be more vital and powerful than exchequers and
banks--not to undervalue exchequers and banks. In other words, as
society ripens, it has to ripen in its three departments, in the
following order: First, in the animal; second, in the social; and
third, in the spiritual and moral. We are entering the last
period, in which the questions of politics are to be more and
more moral questions. And I invoke those whom God made to be
peculiarly conservators of things moral and spiritual to come
forward and help us in that work, in which we shall falter and
fail without woman. We shall never perfect human society without
her offices and her ministration. We shall never round out the
government, or public administration, or public policies, or
politics itself, until you have mixed the elements that God gave
to us in society--namely, the powers of both men and women.
(Applause.) I, therefore, charge my countrywomen with this _duty_
of taking part in public affairs in the era in which justice, and
humanity, and education, and taste, and virtue are to be more and
more a part and parcel of public procedure. * * * *

In such a state of society, then, as the present, I stand, as I
have said, on far higher ground in arguing this question than the
right of woman. That I believe in; but that is down in the
justice's court. I go to the supreme bench and argue it, and
argue it on the ground that the nation needs woman, and that
woman needs the nation, and that woman can never become what she
should be, and the nation can never become what it should be,
until there is no distinction made between the sexes as regards
the rights and duties of citizenship--until we come to the 28th
verse of the third chapter of Galatians. What is it? [turning to
Mr. Tilton, who said, "I don't know!"] Don't know? If it was Lucy
Rushton, you would! (Great laughter).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor
free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one
in Christ Jesus.

And when that day comes; when the heavenly kingdom is ushered in
with its myriad blessed influences; when the sun of righteousness
shall fill the world with its beams, as the natural sun coming
from the far South fills the earth with glorious colors and
beauty, then it will come to pass that there shall be no
nationality, no difference of classes, and no difference of
sexes. Then all shall be one in Christ Jesus. Hold that a minute,
please [handing Mr. Tilton a pocket Testament from which he had
read the foregoing passage of Scripture]. Theodore was a most
excellent young man when he used to go to my church; but he has
escaped from my care lately, and now I don't know what he does.
(Laughter).

I urge, then, that woman should perform the duty of a citizen in
voting. You may, perhaps, ask me, before I go any further, "What
is the use of preaching to us that we _ought_ to do it, when we
are not permitted to do it?" That day in which the intelligent,
cultivated women of America say, "We have a right to the ballot"
will be the day in which they will have it. (Voices--"Yes." "That
is so"). There is no power on earth that can keep it from them.
[Applause]. The reason you have not voted is because you have not
wanted to. [Applause]. It is because you have not felt that it
was your duty to vote. You have felt yourselves to be secure and
happy enough in your privileges and prerogatives, and have left
the great mass of your sisters, that shed tears and bore burdens,
to shirk for themselves.



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