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Reading and writing are of
inestimable value, but the ballot teaches what these can not
teach.

Plutarch records that the wise men of Athens charmed the
people by saying that _Equality causes no war_, and "both
the rich and the poor repeated it."

The ballot is like charity, which never faileth, and without
which man is only as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
The ballot is the one thing needful, without which rights of
testimony and all other rights will be no better than
cobwebs, which the master will break through with impunity.
To him who has the ballot all other things shall be
given--protection, opportunity, education, a homestead. The
ballot is like the Horn of Abundance, out of which overflow
rights of every kind, with corn, cotton, rice, and all the
fruits of the earth. Or, better still, it is like the hand
of the body, without which man, who is now only a little
lower than the angels, must have continued only a little
above the brutes. They are fearfully and wonderfully made;
but as is the hand in the work of civilization, so is the
ballot in the work of government. "Give me the ballot, and I
can move the world."

Do you wish to see harmony truly prevail, so that industry,
society, government, civilization, may all prosper, and the
Republic may wear a crown of true greatness? Then do not
neglect the ballot.

Lamartine said, "Universal Suffrage is the first truth and
only basis of every national republic."

In regard to "Taxation without representation," Mr. Sumner quotes
from Lord Coke:

The Supreme Power cannot take from any man any part of his
property _without consent in person, or by representation_.

Taxes are not to be laid on the people, but by their consent
in person, or by representation.

I can see no reason to doubt but that the imposition of
taxes, whether on trade, or on land, or houses, or ships, or
real or personal, fixed or floating, property in the
colonies, is absolutely irreconcilable with the rights of
the colonies, as British subjects, _and as men_. I say men,
for in a state of nature no man can take any property from
me without my consent. _If he does, he deprives me of my
liberty and makes me a slave._ The very act of taxing,
exercised over those who are not represented, appears to me
to deprive them of one of their most essential rights as
freemen, and if continued seems to be in effect an entire
disfranchisement of every civil right. For what one civil
right is worth a rush, after a man's property is subject to
be taken from him at pleasure without his consent?

In demanding suffrage for the black man you recognize the fact
that as a freedman he is no longer a "part of the family," and
that, therefore, his master is no longer his representative;
hence, as he will now be liable to taxation, he must also have
representation. Woman, on the contrary, has never been such a
"part of the family" as to escape taxation. Although there has
been no formal proclamation giving her an individual existence,
she has always had the right to property and wages, the right to
make contracts and do business in her own name. And even married
women, by recent legislation, have been secured in these civil
rights. Woman now holds a vast amount of the property in the
country, and pays her full proportion of taxes, revenue included.
On what principle, then, do you deny her representation? By what
process of reasoning Charles Sumner was able to stand up in the
Senate, a few days after these sublime utterances, and rebuke
15,000,000 disfranchised tax-payers for the exercise of their
right of petition merely, is past understanding. If he felt that
this was not the time for woman to even mention her right to
representation, why did he not take breath in some of his
splendid periods, and propose to release the poor shirtmakers,
milliners and dressmakers, and all women of property, from the
tyranny of taxation?

We propose no new theories. We simply ask that you secure to ALL
the practical application of the immutable principles of our
government, without distinction of race, color or sex. And we
urge our demand _now_, because you have the opportunity and the
power to take this onward step in legislation. The nations of the
earth stand watching and waiting to see if our Revolutionary
idea, "all men are created equal," can be realized in government.
Crush not, we pray you, the million hopes that hang on our
success. Peril not another bloody war. Men and parties must pass
away, but justice is eternal. And they only who work in harmony
with its laws are immortal. All who have carefully noted the
proceedings of this Congress, and contrasted your speeches with
those made under the old _régime_ of slavery, must have seen the
added power and eloquence that greater freedom gives. But still
you propose no action on your grand ideas. Your Joint
Resolutions, your Reconstruction Reports, do not reflect your
highest thought. The constitution, in basing representation on
"respective numbers," covers a broader ground than any you have
yet proposed. Is not the only amendment needed to Article 1st,
Section 3d, to strike out the exceptions which follow "respective
numbers?" And is it not your duty, by securing a republican form
of government to every State, to see that these "respective
numbers" are made up of enfranchised citizens? Thus bringing your
legislation up to the Constitution--not the Constitution down to
your party possibilities!! The only tenable ground of
representation is UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE, as it is only through
Universal Suffrage that the principle of "Equal Rights to All"
can be realized. All prohibitions based on race, color, sex,
property, or education, are violations of the republican idea;
and the various qualifications now proposed are but so many
plausible pretexts to debar new classes from the ballot-box. The
limitations of property and intelligence, though unfair, can be
met; as with freedom must come the repeal of statute-laws that
deny schools and wages to the negro. So time makes him a voter.
But color and sex! Neither time nor statutes can make black
white, or woman man! You assume to be the representatives of
15,000,000 women--American citizens--who already possess every
_attainable_ qualification for the ballot. Women read and write,
hold many offices under government, pay taxes, and the penalties
of crime, and yet are allowed to exercise but the one right of
petition.

For twenty years we have labored to bring the statute laws of the
several States into harmony with the broad principles of the
Constitution, and have been so far successful that in many,
little remains to be done but to secure the right of suffrage.
Hence, our prompt protest against the propositions before
Congress to introduce the word "male" into the Federal
Constitution, which, if successful, would block all State action
in giving the ballot to woman. As the only way disfranchised
citizens can appear before you, we availed ourselves of the
sacred right of petition. And, as our representatives, it was
your duty to give those petitions a respectful reading and a
serious consideration. How well a Republican Senate performed
that duty, is already inscribed on the page of history. Some tell
us it is not judicious to press the claims of women _now_; that
this is not the time. Time? When you propose legislation so fatal
to the best interests of woman and the nation, shall we be silent
till the deed is done? No! As we love republican ideas, we must
resist tyranny. As we honor the position of American Senator, we
must appeal from the politician to the man.

With man, woman shared the dangers of the Mayflower on a stormy
sea, the dreary landing on Plymouth Rock, the rigors of a New
England winter, and the privations of a seven years' war. With
him she bravely threw off the British yoke, felt every pulsation
of his heart for freedom, and inspired the glowing eloquence that
maintained it through the century. With you, we have just passed
through the agony and death, the resurrection and triumph, of
another revolution, doing all in our power to mitigate its
horrors and gild its glories. And now, think you we have no souls
to fire, no brains to weigh your arguments; that, after
education such as this, we can stand silent witnesses while you
sell our birthright of liberty, to save from a timely death an
effete political organization? No, as we respect womanhood, we
must protest against this desecration of the magna charta of
American liberties; and with an importunity not to be repelled,
our demand must ever be: "No compromise of human rights"--"No
admission in the Constitution of inequality of rights, or
disfranchisement on account of color or sex."

In the oft-repeated experiments of class and caste, who can
number the nations that have risen but to fall? Do not imagine
you come one line nearer the demand of justice by enfranchising
but another shade of _man_hood; for, in denying representation to
woman you still cling to the same principle on which all the
governments of the past have been wrecked. The right way, the
safe way, is so clear, the path of duty is so straight and
simple, that we who are equally interested with yourselves in the
result, conjure you to act not for the passing hour, not with
reference to transient benefits, but to do now the one grand deed
that shall mark the progress of the century--proclaim EQUAL
RIGHTS TO ALL.



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