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Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Judas Iscariot, selling his Master for thirty pieces
of silver, is a fit type of those American citizens who sell
their votes, and thus betray the right of self-government. Talk
not of the "muddy pool of politics," as if such things must need
be. Behold, with the coming of woman into this higher sphere of
influence, the dawn of the new day, when politics, so called, are
to be lifted into the world of morals and religion; when the
polling-booth shall be a beautiful temple, surrounded by
fountains and flowers and triumphal arches, through which young
men and maidens shall go up in joyful procession to ballot for
justice and freedom; and when our election days shall be kept
like the holy feasts of the Jews at Jerusalem. Through the trials
of this second revolution shall not our nation rise up, with new
virtue and strength, to fulfill her mission in leading all the
peoples of the earth to the only solid foundation of government,
"equal rights to all." ...

Our danger lies, not in the direction of despotism, in the
one-man power, in centralization; but in the corruption of the
people....

It is in vain to look for a genuine republic in this country
until the women are baptized into the idea, until they understand
the genius of our institutions, until they study the science of
government, until they hold the ballot in their hands and have a
direct voice in our legislation. What is the reason, with the
argument in favor of the enfranchisement of women all on one
side, without an opponent worthy of consideration--while British
statesmen, even, are discussing this question--the Northern men
are so dumb and dogged, manifesting a studied indifference to
what they can neither answer nor prevent? What is the reason that
even abolitionists who have fearlessly claimed political,
religious and social equality for women for the last twenty
years, should now, with bated breath, give her but a passing word
in their public speeches and editorial comments--as if her rights
constituted but a side issue of this grave question of
reconstruction? All must see that this claim for _male_ suffrage
is but another experiment in class legislation, another violation
of the republican idea. With the black man we have no new element
in government, but with the education and elevation of women we
have a power that is to develop the Saxon race into a higher and
nobler life, and thus, by the law of attraction, to lift all
races to a more even platform than can ever be reached in the
political isolation of the sexes. Why ignore 15,000,000 women in
the reconstruction? The philosophy of this silence is plain
enough. The black man crowned with the rights of citizenship,
there are no political Ishmaelites left but the women. This is
the last stronghold of aristocracy in the country. Sydney Smith
says: "There always has been, and always will be, a class of men
in the world so small that, if women were educated, there would
be nothing left below them."

It is a consolation to the "white male," to the popinjays in all
our seminaries of learning, to the ignorant foreigner, the
boot-black and barber, the idiot--for a "white male" may vote if
he be not more than nine-tenths a fool--to look down on women of
wealth and education, who write books, make speeches, and discuss
principles with the savans of their age. It is a consolation for
these classes to be able to say, "well, if woman can do these
things, they can't vote after all." I heard some boys discoursing
thus not long since. I told them they reminded me of a story I
heard of two Irishmen the first time they saw a locomotive with a
train of cars. As the majestic fire-horse, with all its grace and
polish, moved up to a station, stopped, and snorted, as its
mighty power was curbed, then slowly gathered up its forces again
and moved swiftly on--"be jabers," says Pat, "there's muscle for
you. What are we beside that giant?" They watched it intently
till out of sight, seemingly with real envy, as if oppressed with
a feeling of weakness and poverty before this unknown power; but
rallying at last, one says to the other: "No matter, Pat; let it
snort and dash on--it can't vote, after all."

Poor human nature wants something to look down on. No privileged
order ever did see the wrongs of its own victims, and why expect
the "white male citizen" to enfranchise woman without a
struggle--by a scratch of the pen to place themselves on a dead
level with their lowest order? And what a fall would that be, my
countrymen. In none of the nations of modern Europe is there a
class of women so degraded politically as are the women of these
Northern States. In the Old World, where the government is the
aristocracy, where it is considered a mark of nobility to share
its offices and powers--there women of rank have certain
hereditary rights which raise them above a majority of the men,
certain honors and privileges not granted to serfs or peasants.
In England woman may be Queen, hold office, and vote on some
questions. In the Southern States even the women were not
degraded below their working population, they were not humiliated
in seeing their coachmen, gardeners, and waiters go to the polls
to legislate on their interests; hence there was a pride and
dignity in their bearing not found in the women of the North, and
pluck in the chivalry before which Northern doughfaceism has ever
cowered. But here, where the ruling class, the aristocracy, is
"male," no matter whether washed or unwashed, lettered or
unlettered, rich or poor, black or white, here in this boasted
northern civilization, under the shadow of Bunker Hill and
Faneuil Hall, which Mr. Phillips proposes to cram down the throat
of South Carolina--here women of wealth and education, who pay
taxes and are amenable to law, who may be hung, even though not
permitted to choose the judge, the juror, or the sheriff who does
the dismal deed, women who are your peers in art, science, and
literature--already close upon your heels in the whole world of
thought--are thrust outside the pale of political consideration
with traitors, idiots, minors, with those guilty of bribery,
larceny, and infamous crime. What a category is this in which to
place your mothers, wives, and daughters. I ask you, men of the
Empire State, where on the footstool do you find such a class of
citizens politically so degraded? Now, we ask you, in the coming
Constitutional Convention, to so amend the Second Article of our
State Constitution as to wipe out this record of our disgrace.

"But," say you, "women themselves do not make the demand." Mr.
Phillips said on this platform, a year ago, that "the singularity
of this cause is, that it has to be carried on against the wishes
and purposes of its victims," and he has been echoed by nearly
every man who has spoken, on this subject during the past year.
Suppose the assertion true, is it a peculiarity of this
reform?... Ignorant classes always resist innovations. Women
looked on the sewing-machine as a rival for a long time. Years
ago the laboring classes of England asked bread; but the Cobdens,
the Brights, the Gladstones, the Mills have taught them there is
a power behind bread, and to-day they ask the ballot. But they
were taught its power first, and so must woman be. Again, do not
those far-seeing philosophers who comprehend the wisdom, the
beneficence, the morality of free trade urge this law of nations
against the will and wishes of the victims of tariffs and
protective duties? If you can prove to us that women do not wish
to vote, that is no argument against our demand. There are many
duties in life that ignorant, selfish, unthinking women do not
desire to do, and this may be one of them.

"But," says Rev. O. B. Frothingham, in a recent sermon on this
subject, "they who first assume political responsibilities must
necessarily lose something of the feminine element." In the
education and elevation of woman we are yet to learn the true
manhood and womanhood, the true masculine and feminine elements.
Dio Lewis is rapidly changing our ideas of feminine beauty. In
the large waists and strong arms of the girls under his training,
some dilettante gentleman may mourn a loss of feminine delicacy.
So in the wise, virtuous, self-supporting, common-sense women we
propose as the mothers of the future republic, the reverend
gentleman may see a lack of what he considers the feminine
element. In the development of sufficient moral force to entrench
herself on principle, need a woman necessarily lose any grace,
dignity, or perfection of character? Are not those who have
advocated the rights of women in this country for the last twenty
years as delicate and refined, as moral, high-toned, educated,
just, and generous as any women in the land? I have seen women in
many countries and classes, in public and private; but have found
none more pure and noble than those I meet on this platform. I
have seen our venerable President in converse with the highest of
English nobility, and even the Duchess of Sutherland did not
eclipse her in grace, dignity, and conversational power. Where
are there any women, as wives and mothers, more beautiful in
their home life than Lucretia Mott and Lucy Stone, or Antoinette
Brown Blackwell? Let the freedmen of the South Sea Islands
testify to the faithfulness, the devotion, the patience, and
tender mercy of Frances D.



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