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So I am for keeping the thing going while things are
stirring; because if we wait till it is still, it will take a
great while to get it going again. White women are a great deal
smarter, and know more than colored women, while colored women do
not know scarcely anything. They go out washing, which is about
as high as a colored woman gets, and their men go about idle,
strutting up and down; and when the women come home, they ask for
their money and take it all, and then scold because there is no
food. I want you to consider on that, chil'n. I call you chil'n;
you are somebody's chil'n, and I am old enough to be mother of
all that is here. I want women to have their rights. In the
courts women have no right, no voice; nobody speaks for them. I
wish woman to have her voice there among the pettifoggers. If it
is not a fit place for women, it is unfit for men to be there.

I am above eighty years old; it is about time for me to be going.
I have been forty years a slave and forty years free, and would
be here forty years more to have equal rights for all. I suppose
I am kept here because something remains for me to do; I suppose
I am yet to help to break the chain. I have done a great deal of
work; as much as a man, but did not get so much pay. I used to
work in the field and bind grain, keeping up with the cradler;
but men doing no more, got twice as much pay; so with the German
women. They work in the field and do as much work, but do not get
the pay. We do as much, we eat as much, we want as much. I
suppose I am about the only colored woman that goes about to
speak for the rights of the colored women. I want to keep the
thing stirring, now that the ice is cracked. What we want is a
little money. You men know that you get as much again as women
when you write, or for what you do. When we get our rights we
shall not have to come to you for money, for then we shall have
money enough in our own pockets; and may be you will ask us for
money. But help us now until we get it. It is a good consolation
to know that when we have got this battle once fought we shall
not be coming to you any more. You have been having our rights so
long, that you think, like a slave-holder, that you own us. I
know that it is hard for one who has held the reins for so long
to give up; it cuts like a knife. It will feel all the better
when it closes up again. I have been in Washington about three
years, seeing about these colored people. Now colored men have
the right to vote. There ought to be equal rights now more than
ever, since colored people have got their freedom. I am going to
talk several times while I am here; so now I will do a little
singing. I have not heard any singing since I came here.

Accordingly, suiting the action to the word, Sojourner sang, "We
are going home." "There, children," said she, "in heaven we shall
rest from all our labors; first do all we have to do here. There
I am determined to go, not to stop short of that beautiful place,
and I do not mean to stop till I get there, and meet you there,
too."

CHARLES C. BURLEIGH said: I consider it among the good omens with
which the Society enters upon its new year of labor, that its
workers have been so busy, as appears from the informal report of
the Secretary this morning, that really they have not had time to
let the left hand know what the right hand was doing. It shows an
earnestness, a determination, a vigor, an industry, which can not
co-exist with a cause of righteousness like the one before us
without hopeful results. There is no narrow question here. We are
not contending for Woman's Suffrage or Negro Suffrage, but for a
broad principle of right applicable to the whole race. Those in
opposition to us have really nothing to stand upon. While we may
fairly assume that the burden of proof lies upon those who urge
objections, that ours is the affirmative case, and all that we
are bound to do is to answer objections; yet in this reform, as
in others which have preceded it, its enemies not being willing
to take the burden of proof, we have undertaken to do their work
as well as our own. We are willing, therefore, for the sake of
meeting every cavil, for the sake of fighting every shadow of
objection, to take the laboring oar which the other side should
take, and to prove the objections unfounded which they have not
yet attempted to prove well-founded.

We are told sometimes that women ought not to share with men in
the rights we claim for humanity, because of the difference of
sex; that there is a sex of soul as well as of body. This is an
objection practically cutting its own throat; because if it is
true that there is a diversity of sex in soul which ought to be
recognized in political institutions as well as in social
arrangements, how can you rightly determine woman's proper place
in society by the standard of a man's intellect? How can man's
intellect determine what kind of legislation suits the condition
of woman? The very fact, then, of the diversity of the masculine
understanding and masculine spirit, proves the necessity of
assigning to woman a share in the work which is to be done
affecting woman. Manifestly one of these two things must be true:
Either there is no such essential difference worthy to be taken
into account, in which case woman has the same rights as man, and
there is no necessity for making a distinction; or there is an
essential difference, in which case man is not competent to do
the work of legislating for the whole of society without the aid
of woman. We might just as well let one effigy stand in the
tailor's shop, as the standard of measurement of every garment
the tailor is to make, and also of every garment the dressmaker
is to make as to found the legislation for all upon one standard.
If you recognize a difference, let your legislation proceed from
both elements of the body politic which your legislation is to
affect.

It is said also, that if you allow women to vote, the logic of
your argument will go further and require that women shall be
voted for and they may chance to receive votes enough for
election; and they may even go to the State Legislature or to
Congress. Suppose such a thing should happen, would a city which
is represented in the Congress of the United States by John
Morrissey and Fernando Wood, have reason to blush if by some
singular good fortune she should chance to be represented by
Elizabeth Cady Stanton? (Applause.) Would the halls of Congress
suffer any loss of dignity, or any loss of efficiency, even if
John Morrissey's place should be vacated to make room for Mrs.
Stanton, or if some Pennsylvania Democrat should be allowed to
remain at home while Lucretia Mott occupied his chair?
(Applause.) Is it so terrible that women who can utter sentiments
as noble and elevating as those to which you have listened, who
can sustain them by logic as clear, and who can expose with such
delicate wit the ridiculous absurdity of the opposite side,
should have a voice in the counsels of the nation? Somebody says
that "the child is father to the man." You know who govern the
children. Who governed you when you were children? Is it not as
safe that woman should govern in the halls of national
legislation as in the family and in the school? You will find in
hundreds of schools, governed a few years ago by men, only women
for teachers to-day. I remember that in a building which
contained some three hundred pupils, the last man employed as a
teacher was an assistant teacher under the supervision of a woman
as principal; a woman who has vindicated her right to the place
by her admirable administration, and her admirable adaptation to
the business of teaching, so that she has become, as it were, a
fixture in that schoolhouse. And that is only one case among
many. And if woman excels in government in those spheres in which
she has had an opportunity to prove her ability, it is at least
safe to try the experiment further.

We have just seen one folly, one absurdity refuted by the simple
process of trying an experiment. The time was when it was deemed
altogether unwomanly, and repugnant to female delicacy and
refinement, for a woman to ink the ends of her fingers in
handling a pen; for a woman to be what was derisively called a
"blue-stocking," or a literary woman. It was thought that nothing
but pedantry, nothing but slatternly habits and neglected
housekeeping, could come of it. But who would be willing to
banish from the literary world to-day such names as Browning,
Hemans, Stowe, and Gage? And if I were to fill out the catalogue
of names, I might close my speech at the end of it, having tired
you all with the length of the recital. So it was said that women
should not appear on the public platform. But who now would
banish the women who have delighted such vast congregations, and
who have drawn such applause from all classes and conditions of
men? Who, to-day, considers it improper for Lucy Stone, Anna
Dickinson, Mrs. Stanton, Mrs. Gage, to appear upon a public
platform? Who is willing to shut the pulpit against Mrs. Mott,
when she has filled it with such acceptance, in so many places,
and on so many occasions? Step by step, woman has advanced toward
her right position. Step by step, as she advanced, she has proved
her right, to the satisfaction of caviling skepticism itself....

She would now go a step further.



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