It has helped them, and it is beginning to help the community.
What do we toil for?
Why, my friends, I do not care much whether a woman actually goes to the ballot-box and votes — that is a slight matter; and I shall not wait, either, to know whether every woman in this audience wants to vote.
Some of you were saying to-day, in these very seats,--coming here out of mere curiosity, to see what certain fanatics could find to say,--“Why, I don't want any more rights; I have rights enough.”
Many a lady whose husband is what he ought to be, feeling no want unsupplied, is ready to say, “I have all the rights I want.”
So the daughter of Louis XVI., in the troublous times of 1791, when somebody told her that the people were starving in the streets of Paris
, exclaimed, “What fools I would eat bread first” Thus, wealth, comfort, and ease say, “I have rights enough.”
Nobody doubted it, Madam
But the question is not of you; the question is of some houseless wife of a drunkard; the question is of some ground-down daughter of toil, whose earnings are filched from her by the rumdebts of a selfishness which the law makes to have a right over her, in the person of a husband.
The question is not of you, it is of some friendless woman of twenty, standing at the door of the world, educated, capable, desirous of serving her time and her race, and saying, “Where shall I use these talents?
How shall I earn bread?”
And Orthodox society, cabined and cribbed in Saint Paul
, cries out, “Go sew, jade!
We have no other channel for you. Go to the needle, or wear yourself to death as a school-mistress.”
We come here to endeavor to convince you, and so to shape our institutions that public opinion, following in the wake, shall be willing to open channels for the agreeable and profit, able occupation of women as much as for men,