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It ought to ring until such
a thing shall be impossible. But when Cambridge and Yale and
Union and all the other institutions of the country, West Point
included, aided by national patronage, shut out every woman in
the land, who has anything to say? There is not a single college
instituted by the original government patronage of lands to
public schools and colleges, that allows a woman to set her foot
inside of its walls as a student. Is this no injustice? Is it no
wrong? When men stand upon the public platform and deliver
elaborate essays on women and their right of suffrage, they talk
about their weakness, their devotion to fashion and idleness.
What else have they given women to do? Almost every profession in
the land is filled by men; every college sends forth the men to
fill the highest places. When the law said that no married woman
should do business in her own name, sue or be sued, own property,
own herself or her earnings, what had she to do? That laid the
foundation for precisely the state of things you see to-day. But
I deny that, as a class, the women of America, black or white,
are idle. We are always busy. What have we done? Look over this
audience, go out upon your streets, go through the world where
you will, and every human soul you meet is the work of woman. She
has given it life; she has educated it, whether for good or evil,
because God gave her the holiest mission ever laid upon the heart
of a human soul--the mission of the mother.

We are told that home is woman's sphere. So it is, and man's
sphere, too, for I tell you that that is a poor home which has
not in it a man to feel that it is the most sacred place he
knows. If duty requires him to go out into the world and fight
its battles, who blames him, or puts a ban upon him? Men complain
that woman does not love home now; that she is not satisfied with
her mission. I answer that this discontent arises out of the one
fact, that you have attempted to mould seventeen millions of
human souls in one shape, and make them all do one thing. Take
away your restrictions, open all doors, leave women at liberty to
go where they will. The caged bird forgets how to build its nest.
The wing of the eagle is as strong to soar to the sun as that of
her mate, who never says to her, "back, feeble one, to your nest,
and there brood in dull inactivity until I give you permission to
leave!" But when her duties called her there, who ever found her
unfaithful to her trust? The foot of the wild roe is as strong
and swift in the race as that of her antlered companion. She goes
by his side, she feeds in the same pasture, drinks from the same
running brook, but is ever true also to her maternal duties and
cares. If we are a nation of imbeciles, if womanhood is weak, it
is the laws and customs of society which have made us what we
are. If you want health, strength, energy, force, temperance,
purity, honesty, deal justly with the mothers of this country:
then they will give you nobler and stronger men than higgling
politicians, or the grog-shop emissaries that buy up the votes of
your manhood. It has been charged upon woman that she does
nothing well. What have you given us to do well? What freedom
have you given us to act independently and earnestly? When I was
in San Domingo, I found a little colony of American colored
people that went over there in 1825. They retained their American
customs, and especially their little American church, outside of
the Catholic, which overspread the whole country. In an obscure
room in an old ruin they sung the old hymns, and lived the old
life of the United States. I asked how this thing was, and they
answered that among those that went over so long ago were a few
from Chester County, Pennsylvania, who were brought up among the
Quakers, and had learned to read. Wherever a mother had learned
to read, she had educated all her children so that they could
read; but wherever there was a mother that could not read, that
family had lapsed off from the old customs of the past....

A friend of mine, writing from Charleston the other day, just
after the ballot went down there, says that he was told by a
colored man, "I met my old master, and he bowed so low to me I
didn't hardly know which was the negro and which was the white
man." When we hold the ballot, we shall stand just there. Men
will forget to tell us that politics are degrading. They will bow
low, and actually respect the women to whom they now talk
platitudes, and silly flatteries; sparkling eyes, rosy cheeks,
pearly teeth, ruby lips, the soft and delicate hands of
refinement and beauty, will not be the burden of their song; but
the strength, the power, the energy, the force, the intellect,
and the nerve, which the womanhood of this country will bring to
bear, and which will infuse itself through all the ranks of
society, must make all its men and women wiser and better.
[Applause].

The Association then adjourned until Friday morning, 10-1/2 o'clock.


SECOND DAY.

FRIDAY MORNING, _May 10, 1867_.

The meeting was called to order by the President, and the Secretary
read some additional resolutions.[72]

CHARLES L. REMOND objected to the last of the resolution, and
desired that the word "colored" might be stricken out. It might
be that colored men would obtain their rights before women; but
if so, he was confident they would heartily acquiesce in
admitting women also to the right of suffrage.

The PRESIDENT (Mrs. Mott) said that woman had a right to be a
little jealous of the addition of so large a number of men to the
voting class, for the colored men would naturally throw all their
strength upon the side of those opposed to woman's
enfranchisement.

GEORGE T. DOWNING wished to know whether he had rightly
understood that Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Mott were opposed to the
enfranchisement of the colored man, unless the ballot should also
be accorded to woman at the same time.

Mrs. STANTON said: All history proves that despotisms, whether of
one man or millions, can not stand, and there is no use of
wasting centuries of men and means in trying that experiment
again. Hence I have no faith or interest in any reconstruction on
that old basis. To say that politicians always do one thing at a
time is no reason why philosophers should not enunciate the broad
principles that underlie that one thing and a dozen others. We do
not take the right step for this hour in demanding suffrage for
any class; as a matter of principle I claim it for all. But in a
narrow view of the question as a matter of feeling between
classes, when Mr. Downing puts the question to me, are you
willing to have the colored man enfranchised before the woman, I
say, no; I would not trust him with all my rights; degraded,
oppressed himself, he would be more despotic with the governing
power than even our Saxon rulers are. I desire that we go into
the kingdom together, for individual and national safety demand
that not another man be enfranchised without the woman by his
side.

STEPHEN S. FOSTER, basing the demand for the ballot upon the
natural right of the citizen, felt bound to aid in conferring it
upon any citizen deprived of it irrespective of its being granted
or denied to others. Even, therefore, if the enfranchisement of
the colored man would probably retard the enfranchisement of
woman, we had no right for that reason to deprive him of his
right. The right of each should be accorded at the earliest
possible moment, neither being denied for any supposed benefit to
the other.

CHARLES L. REMOND said that if he were to lose sight of
expediency, he must side with Mrs. Stanton, although to do so was
extremely trying; for he could not conceive of a more unhappy
position than that occupied by millions of American men bearing
the name of freedmen while the rights and privileges _free_ men
are still denied them.

Mrs. STANTON said: That is equaled only by the condition of the
women by their side. There is a depth of degradation known to the
slave women that man can never feel. To give the ballot to the
black man is no security to the woman. Saxon men have the ballot,
yet look at their women, crowded into a few half-paid
employments. Look at the starving, degraded class in our 10,000
dens of infamy and vice if you would know how wisely and
generously man legislates for woman.

Rev. SAMUEL J. MAY, in reply to Mr. Remond's objection to the
resolution, said that the word "colored" was necessary to convey
the meaning, since there is no demand now made for the
enfranchisement of men, as a class. His amendment would take all
the color out of the resolution. No man in this country had made
such sacrifices for the cause of liberty as Wendell Phillips; and
if just at this moment, when the great question for which he has
struggled thirty years seemed about to be settled, he was
unwilling that anything should be added to it which might in any
way prejudice the success about to crown his efforts, it was not
to be wondered at. He was himself of the opinion, on the
contrary, that by asking for the rights of all, we should be much
more likely to obtain the rights of the colored man, than by
making that a special question. He would rejoice at the
enfranchisement of colored men, and believed that Mrs. Stanton
would, though that were all we could get at the time.



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