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Nor have we any more right to assume that
the women are satisfied with the representation of the men.
Where has been the assembly at which this right of
representation was conferred? Where was the compact made? It
is wholly an assumption.

"White males" are the nobility of this country; they are the
privileged order, who have legislated as unjustly for women and
negroes as have the nobles of England for their disfranchised
classes. The existence of the English House of Commons is a
strong fact to prove that one class can not legislate for
another. Perhaps it may be necessary, in this transition period
of our civilization, to create a Lower House for women and
negroes, lest the dreadful example of Massachusetts, nay, worse,
should be repeated here, and women, as well as black men, take
their places beside our Dutch nobility in the councils of the
State. If the history of England has proved that white men of
different grades can not legislate with justice for one another,
how can you, Honorable Gentlemen, legislate for women and
negroes, who, by your customs, creeds and codes, are placed under
the ban of inferiority? If you dislike this view of the case, and
claim that woman is your superior, and, therefore, you place her
above all troublesome legislation, to shield her by your
protecting care from the rough winds of life, I have simply to
say, your statute books are a sad commentary on that position.
Your laws degrade, rather than exalt woman; your customs cripple,
rather than free; your system of taxation is alike ungenerous and
unjust.

In demanding suffrage for the black man of the South, the
dominant party recognizes the fact that as a freedman he is no
longer a part of the family therefore his master is no longer his
representative, and 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, unmarried women have always had the right to property
and wages; to make contracts and do business in their own name.
And even married women, by recent legislation in this State, have
been secured in some civil rights, at least as well secured as
those classes can be who do not hold the ballot in their own
hands. Woman now holds a vast amount of property in the country,
and pays her full proportion of taxes, revenue included; on what
principle, then, do you deny her representation? If you say women
are "virtually represented" by the men of their household, I give
you Senator Sumner's denial, in his great speech on Equal Rights
in the First Session of the 39th Congress. Quoting from James
Otis, he says: "No such phrase as virtual representation was
known in law or constitution. It is altogether a subtlety and
illusion, wholly unfounded and absurd. We must not be cheated by
any such phantom or any other fiction of law or politics, or any
monkish trick of deceit or hypocrisy."

In regard to taxation without representation, Lord Coke says:
"The supreme power can not take from any man any part of his
property without his consent in person or by representation.
Taxes are not to be laid on the people" (are not women and
negroes people?) "without their consent in person or by
representation. The very act of taxing 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 without his consent?" In view of
such opinions, is it too much to ask the men of New York, either
to enfranchise women of wealth and education, or else release
them from taxation? If we can not be represented as individuals,
we should not be taxed as individuals. If the "white male" will
do all the voting, let him pay all the taxes. There is no logic
so powerful in opening the eyes of men to their real interests as
a direct appeal to their pockets. Such a release from taxation
can be supported, too, by your own Constitution. In Art. 2, Sec.
1, you say, "And no person of color shall be subject to direct
taxation, unless he shall be seized and possessed of such real
estate as aforesaid," referring to the $250 qualification. Now, a
poor widow who owns a lot worth a hundred dollars or less, is
taxed. Why this partiality to the black man? He may live in the
quiet possession of $249 worth of property, and not be taxed a
cent. Is it on the ground of color or sex, that the black man
finds greater favor in the eyes of the law than the daughters of
the State? In order fully to understand this partiality, I have
inquired into your practice with regard to women of color. I find
that in Seneca Falls there lives a highly estimable colored
woman, by the name of Abby Gomore, who owns property to the
amount of a thousand dollars, in village lots. She now pays, and
always has paid, from the time she invested her first hundred
dollars, the same taxes as any other citizen--just in proportion
to the value of her property, or as it is assessed. After
excluding women and "men of color" not worth $250, from
representation, your Constitution tells us what other persons are
excluded from the right of suffrage. Art. 2, Sec. 2.

Laws may be passed excluding from the right of suffrage all
persons who have been or may be convicted of bribery, or
larceny, or of any infamous crime, and for depriving every
person who shall make, or become directly or indirectly
interested in any bet or wager depending upon the result of
any election, from the right to vote at such election.

How humiliating! For respectable and law-abiding women and "men
of color," to be thrust outside the pale of political
consideration with those convicted of bribery, larceny, and
infamous crime; and worse than all, with those who bet on
elections--for how lost to all sense of honor must that "white
male citizen" be who publicly violates a wise law to which he has
himself given an intelligent consent. We are ashamed, Honored
Sirs, of our company. The Mohammedan forbids a "fool, a madman,
or a woman" to call the hours for prayers. If it were not for the
invidious classification, we might hope it was tenderness rather
than contempt that moved the Mohammedan to excuse woman from so
severe a duty. But for the ballot, which falls like a flake of
snow upon the sod, we can find no such excuse for New York
legislators. Art. 2, Sec. 3, should be read and considered by the
women of the State, as it gives them a glimpse of the modes of
life and surroundings of some of the privileged classes of "white
male citizens" who may go to the polls:

For the purpose of voting, no person shall be deemed to have
gained or lost a residence by reason of his presence or
absence while employed in the service of the United States;
nor while engaged in navigating the waters of the State, or
of the United States, or of the high seas; nor while a
student of any seminary of learning; nor while kept at any
alms-house or other asylum, at public expense; nor while
confined in any public prison.

What an unspeakable privilege to have that precious jewel--the
human soul--in a setting of _white manhood_, that thus it can
pass through the prison, the asylum, the alms-house, the muddy
waters of the Erie canal, and come forth undimmed to appear at
the ballot-box at the earliest opportunity, there to bury its
crimes, its poverty, its moral and physical deformities, all
beneath the rights, privileges, and immunities of a citizen of
the State. Just imagine the motley crew from the ten thousand
dens of poverty and vice in our large cities, limping, raving,
cringing, staggering up to the polls, while the loyal mothers of
a million soldiers whose bones lay bleaching on every Southern
plain, stand outside sad and silent witnesses of this wholesale
desecration of republican institutions. When you say it would
degrade woman to go to the polls, do you not make a sad
confession of your irreligious mode of observing that most sacred
right of citizenship? The ballot-box, in a republican government,
should be guarded with as much love and care as was the Ark of
the Lord among the Children of Israel. Here, where we have no
heaven-anointed kings or priests, law must be to us a holy thing;
and the ballot-box the holy of holies; for on it depends the
safety and stability of our institutions. I, for one, gentlemen,
am not willing to be thus represented. I claim to understand the
interests of the nation better than yonder pauper in your
alms-house, than the unbalanced graduate from your asylum and
prison, or the popinjay of twenty-one from your seminary of
learning, or the traveler on the tow-path of the Erie canal. No
wonder that with such voters as Art. 2, Sec. 3 welcomes to the
polls, we have these contradictory laws and constitutions. No
wonder that with such voters, sex and color should be exalted
above loyalty, virtue, wealth and education. I warn you,
legislators of the State of New York, that you need the moral
power of wise and thoughtful women in your political councils, to
outweigh the incoming tide of poverty, ignorance, and vice that
threatens our very existence as a nation.



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