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The woman's rights movement and its champions in the United States.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
We may date the Woman's Rights cause proper, from the division in the anti-slavery organization in 1840; though before that time, Frances Wright, an Englishwoman of rare gifts both as a writer and speaker, had visited this country, and addressed large audiences, demanding at that early day all that the champions of woman's rights now claim.

She was followed by Ernestine L. Rose, a native of Poland,--a woman of great beauty, refinement, and cultivation,--of generous impulses, liberal views, and oratorical power. She came to this country in 1836, addressed large audiences in Charleston, South Carolina, and in Detroit, Michigan, on “The science of government.” When it was announced in those cities, that a woman was to speak on such a theme, men made themselves merry at her presumption; but, after listening to her able exposition of the republican idea, leading men came to her, and, with marked respect, complimented her successful effort. She was among the first who agitated the property rights of married women in the State of New York. As early as 1838 she circulated petitions on that subject,, which were presented by Judge Hertell in the Legislature. She has been one of the leaders in the Woman's Rights movement [363] since that time, and spoken at all the annual conventions. The active part the women of this country had taken in the anti-slavery cause, beginning in 1830, had prepared them for this new demand.

In those early organizations woman had an equal voice with man. She did more than sew pincushions, and ask alms; she proclaimed the living truths of the gospel of freedom, in public assemblies, as well as at the hearthstone,--to grave and reverend seniors in halls of legislation, as well as to her husband at home.

Sarah and Angelina Grimke.

In 1836 Sarah and Angelina Grimke, daughters of a wealthy planter in South Carolina, emancipated their slaves, and came North to lecture on the evils of slavery. They were high-toned, noble women, well educated, of keen moral perceptions, and deeply religious natures. The one desire in their childhood and youth had been to escape the daily torture of witnessing the cruelties inflicted upon the slave; to get beyond the abominations they saw no way to end. Angelina, the younger sister, was a natural orator. Fresh from the land of bondage, there was a fervor in her speech that electrified her listeners, and drew crowds wherever she went. She was tall, delicately organized, with a sad, thoughtful face, dark hair and eyes, with great depth of expression. Her voice was rich, clear, and strong, and could easily fill any hall.

Both sisters were ready writers, and, while lecturing through the North, wrote for the press, on slavery and woman's rights. Sarah published a book reviewing the Bible arguments, which the clergy were then making in all our pulpits, to prove that the degradation of the slave and woman were [364] alike in harmony with the expressed will of God. In May, 1837, a National Woman's Anti-slavery Convention was called in New York, in which eight States were represented by seventy-one delegates. The meetings were ably sustained through two days. The different sessions were opened by prayer and reading of the Scriptures, by the women themselves, and a devout, earnest, and Christian spirit pervaded all the proceedings. The debates, resolutions, speeches, and appeals were fully equal to those in any conventions held by the men of that period.

Angelina Grimke was appointed in this convention to prepare an appeal for the slaves to the people of the free States, and a letter to John Quincy Adams, thanking him for his services in defending the right of petition for women and slaves, qualified with the regret that, by expressing himself “adverse to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia,” he did not sustain the cause of freedom and of God. What man has done as the result of war, women asked to prevent war thirty years ago. In 1838 she was married to Theodore D. Weld, and settled in New Jersey. She is the mother of one daughter and two sons. Among those who took part in the debates of that convention, we find the names of Lydia Maria Child, Mary Grew, Henrietta Sargent, Sarah Pugh, Abby Kelley, Mary S. Parker, of Boston, who was president of the convention, Anne Weston, Deborah Shaw, Martha Storrs, Mrs. A. L. Cox, Rebecca B. Spring, and Abigail Hopper Gibbons, a daughter of that noble Quaker, Isaac T. Hopper. Though early married, and the mother of several children, her life has been one of constant activity and self-denial for the public good. Those who know her best can testify to her many acts of benevolence and mercy, working alike for the unhappy slave, the unfortunate of her own sex, the children on Randall's Island, and the suffering soldiers in our late war.


Abby Kelley

Abby Kelley, a young Quakeress, made her first appearance on the anti-slavery platform. She was a tall, fine-looking girl, with a large, well-shaped head, regular features, dark hair, blue eyes, and a sweet, expressive countenance. She was a person of clear moral perceptions, and deep feeling. She spoke extemporaneously, always well, at times with great eloquence and power. As soon as the rare gifts as orators, that both she and Angelina Grimke displayed in the women's meetings, were noised abroad, the men, one by one, asked permission to come into their meetings, and thus, through man's curiosity, they soon found themselves speaking to promiscuous audiences. For a period of thirty years Abby Kelley has spoken on the subject of slavery. She has travelled up and down the length and breadth of this land,--alike in winter's cold and summer's heat, mid scorn, ridicule, violence, and mobs, suffering all kinds of persecution,--still speaking, whenever and wherever she gained audience, in the open air, in school-house, barn, depot, church, or public hall, on weekday, or Sunday, as she found opportunity.

In 1845 she married Stephen S. Foster, and soon after, they purchased a farm in Worcester, Massachusetts, where, with an only daughter, she has lived several years in retirement. Having lost her voice by constant and severe use, she gave up lecturing while still in her prime.

Mary Grew.

Mary Grew, the daughter of Rev. Henry Grew, of Philadelphia, has been for thirty years one of the ablest and most faithful workers both in the anti-slavery and woman's rights cause. She is a cousin of Wendell Phillips. Being a woman of sound judgment, and great general information, she has been [366] one of his most reliable friends and counsellors, in planning and executing his lifelong work. She is one of the most terse and finished writers of the age. Her anti-slavery reports made out annually, and published in “The Anti-slavery standard,” are concise and comprehensive statements of facts and principles governing them. She is a woman of vigorous thought, and high moral principle. Gentle, refined, unobtrusive in manner, she is still a woman of great independence, and self-reliance of character. Being one of the delegates to the World's Anti-slavery Convention, I met her for the first time in London in 1840. I remember how charmed I was to hear her laud our republican institutions, in the presence of boasting Englishmen, and, in her keen, sarcastic way, express the utmost contempt for the sham and tinsel, the pomp and ceremony of the Old World. I was especially pleased with a little incident that occurred one day, at a large dinner party, at Samuel Gurney's,--a wealthy banker who had a beautiful country-seat near London. Lord Morpeth and the Duchess of Sutherland had been invited to meet a party of Americans there, as they had expressed a wish to see the American abolitionists. As it was a warm, pleasant afternoon in June, we went out on the smooth green lawn, under the shade of some majestic old trees, to hear Lord Morpeth read the reports to the British government from Jamaica. Most of us had been formally presented to the Lord and Lady, but Mr. Grew, having come late, had not yet had the honor of an introduction. Having formed ourselves into a semicircle round his lordship during the reading, at the close Miss Grew took her father's arm, and, in a cool, self-possessed manner, walked across the intervening space, and introduced her father to the Duchess of Sutherland, then mistress of the robes, with the same air as she would have presented two plain republicans in her own country. Standing near the daughter of Sir Fowell Buxton, she said to me, “What are you American girls made [367] of? Not a girl in all England would have presumed to intro. duce a commoner, to one of such rank as her Grace.” “Ah madam,” I replied, “you forget that in our country we are all of noble blood, all heirs apparent to the throne.”

The women who devoted themselves to the anti-slavery cause in the early days, endured the double odium of being abolitionists, and “women out of their sphere;” hence the men who were engaged in the same cause little knew all the peculiar aggravations and trials of their position. The admiration such women as Angeline Grimke, Abby Kelley, and Lucretia Mott, commanded by their presence and eloquence, was well tempered by ridicule and denunciation. The press and the pulpit exhausted the English language to find adjectives to express their detestation of so horrible a revelation as “a woman out of her sphere.” A clerical appeal was issued and sent to all the clergymen in New England, calling on them to denounce in their pulpits this unwomanly and unchristian proceeding. Sermons were preached portraying in the darkest colors the fearful results to the church, the State, and the home, in thus encouraging women to enter public life. It was the opposition of the clergy to woman's speaking and voting in their meetings, that occasioned the first division in “The American Anti-slavery Society.”

The reports of the meeting held in New York, May, 1840, are worthy the perusal of every philosophical thinker, to see how ridiculously even good common-sense men can talk and act when moved by prejudice rather than principle.

The question under debate on that occasion was, whether woman should speak and vote in all business matters in their meetings. Men opposed to this went through the audience urging every woman who agreed with them to vote against it, thus calling on them to do then and there what, with fervid eloquence, on that very occasion, they had declared a sin against nature and Scripture for them to do anywhere. It [368] was a stormy meeting held that day by the friends of the slave, and, though he still groaned in bondage, it was urged by many that woman's voice should not be heard in his behalf. Whilst with one hand they strove to loose the chains that clanked on the rice plantations in Georgia, with the other they tried to force woman back into the narrow niche where barbarism had found her. So partially does truth illumine some minds that even the colored man was found voting to exclude woman from an anti-slavery organization. History, however, records that William Lloyd Garrison, ever sound on questions of human rights, carried the resolution by one hundred majority in favor of woman's right to speak and vote in their meetings. At this crisis a World's Anti-slavery Convention was called to meet in London. Several American organizations saw fit to send women as delegates to represent them in that august assembly. But, after going three thousand miles to attend a World's Convention, it was discovered that woman formed no part of the constituent elements of the moral world.

In summoning the friends of the slave from all parts of the two hemispheres, to meet in London, John Bull never dreamed that woman, too, would answer to his call, though the idea of immediate emancipation was first published by Elizabeth Herrick, an English woman, in a well-reasoned pamphlet in 1824.

Accordingly, on the opening of the convention in London, June 12th, 1840, the delegates from the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania societies were denied their seats. The delegation consisted of Lucretia Mott, Mary Grew, Abby Kimber, Elizabeth Neale, Sarah Pugh, from Pennsylvania; Emily Winslow, Abby Southwick, and Anne Greene Phillips, from Massachusetts. This sacrifice of human rights, by men who had assembled from all quarters of the globe to proclaim universal emancipation, was offered up in the presence of such women as Lady Noel Byron, Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth [369] Fry, Mary Howitt, and Anna Jamieson. The delegates had been persuasively asked to waive their claims that the harmony of the convention might not he disturbed by a question of such minor importance. But through their champion, Wendell Phillips (who was then a young man, and brave too, I thought, to advocate so unpopular an idea almost alone in such an assembly), they maintained that as they had been delegated by large and influential organizations, they must press their claims and thus discharge their duty, not only to those whom they represented, but to the speechless victims of American slavery. Thus the debate on this question was forced upon them, and many distinguished gentlemen of France, England, and America took part in the discussion, which lasted through one entire day.

Anne Greene Phillips.

As we stood in the vestibule of Freemason's Hall that morning, talking over the coming event, I saw the wife of Wendell Phillips for the first time. Her earnest, impressive manner arrested my attention at once. She had just returned from her bridal tour on the continent, and was in the zenith of her beauty. She had a profusion of dark-brown hair, large, loving blue eyes, and regular features. She was tall, graceful, and talked with great fluency and force. Her whole soul seemed to be in the pending issue. As we were about to enter the convention she laid her hand most emphatically on her husband's shoulder and said, “Now, Wendell, don't be simmy-sammy to-day, but brave as a lion ;” and he obeyed the injunction. Most of the speeches that day were narrow and bigoted, setting forth men's prejudices without touching the principle under consideration, and, when the vote was taken, among the few who stood by principle, were Daniel O'Connell, [370] Dr. Bowring, Henry B. Stanton, George Thompson, and Wendell Phillips. William Lloyd Garrison did not reach England until the third day of the convention, having been unfortunately becalmed at sea. When he learned that Massachusetts women had been denied their rights in the convention he declined to take his seat as a member of that body. His anti-slavery principles being too broad to restrict human rights to color or sex, he took his seat in the gallery, and through all those days looked down on the convention. Thomas Clarkson was chosen president, but he being too old and feeble to endure the fatigue, Joseph Sturge, the celebrated Quaker merchant, presided over the deliberations. Sitting near Mrs. Mott in the convention, I mischievously suggested to her one day a dangerous contingency. “With a Quaker in the chair,” said I, “suppose, in spite of the vote of excommunication, the spirit should move you to speak, what could the chairman do, and which would you obey,--the spirit, or the convention?” She promptly replied, “Where the spirit of God is, there is liberty.” The general indignation felt by the advanced minds among the women of England, France, and America, and the puerile tone of the debates on this question, gave birth to what is called the Woman's Rights movement on both continents. The women of England soon after established a Woman's Rights journal, and petitioned Parliament for their rights of property. Their demands were ably maintained by Lord Brougham in the House of Peers. The French women, too, soon after established a journal, so liberal and republican in its sentiments, that they were compelled to publish it in Italy, though it was clandestinely circulated in France. At the same time Frederika Bremer, in her popular novels, was ridiculing the creeds and codes and customs of her country, and thus undermining the laws of Sweden in regard to women, which, in many particulars, were soon after essentially modified.


Lucretia Mott.

It was in London that I first met Lucretia Mott. We chanced to stop at the same house, with a party of Americans, who had come to attend the “World's Convention.” Seated by her at the dinner-table I was soon oblivious to everything but the lovely Quakeress, though a bride, with my husband by my side. She was then in her prime, small in stature, slightly built, with a large head, high, square forehead, remarkably fine face, regular features, dark hair and eyes. She was gentle and refined in her manners, and conversed with earnestness and ease. There were several clergymen at the table that day, who, in the course of conversation, rallied Mrs. Mott on her views of woman. She calmly parried all their attacks,--now by her quiet humor turning the laugh on them, and then by her earnestness and dignity silencing their ridicule and sneers. Though a stranger, I could not resist saying all the good things I thought on her side of the question, and I shall never forget the look of recognition she gave me when she saw that I already comprehended the problem of woman's rights and wrongs. She was the first liberal-minded woman I had ever met, and nothing in all Europe interested me as she did. We were soon fast friends, and were often rallied on our seeming devotion to each other. I was never weary listening to her conversation. On one occasion, with a large party, we visited the British Museum, where it is supposed all people go to see the wonders of the world. On entering, Mrs. Mott and myself sat down near the door to rest for a few moments, telling the party to go on, that we would follow. They accordingly explored all the departments of curiosities, supposing we were slowly following at a distance; but when they returned to the entrance, after an absence of three hours there we sat in the same [372] spot, having seen nothing but each other, wholly absorbed in questions of theology and social life. She had told me of the doctrines and divisions among Quakers, of the inward light, of Elias Hicks, of Channing, of a religion of life, and of Mary Wollstonecraft and her social theories. I had been reading Combe's Constitution of Man, and Moral Philosophy, and Channing's Works, and had already thought on all these questions; but I had never heard a woman talk what, as a Scotch Presbyterian, I had scarcely dared to think. On the following Sunday I went to hear Mrs. Mott preach in a Unitarian church. Though I had never heard a woman speak, yet I had long believed she had the right to do so, and had often expressed the idea in private circles; but when at last I saw a woman rise up in the pulpit and preach as earnestly and impressively as Mrs. Mott always does, it seemed to me like the realization of an oft-repeated happy dream.

The day we visited the Zoological Gardens, as we were admiring the gorgeous plumage of some beautiful birds, one of the gentlemen remarked:--

“You see, Mrs. Mott, our Heavenly Father believes in bright colors. How much it would take from our pleasure if all the birds were dressed in drab”

“Yes,” said she, “but immortal beings do not depend on their feathers for their attractions. With the infinite variety of the human face and form, of thought, feeling, and affection, we do not need gorgeous apparel to distinguish us. Moreover, if it is fitting that woman should dress in every color of the rainbow, why not man also? Clergymen with their black clothes and white cravats are quite as monotonous as the Quakers.”

Owing to her liberal views, Mrs. Mott was shunned by the Orthodox Quakers of England, though courted by the literati and nobility. I have seen her by the side of the Duchess of Sutherland, conversing on the political questions [373] of the time with a grace and eloquence that proved her in manners the peer of the first woman in England, though educated in Quaker austerity, under our plain republican institutions. From the following extracts from Mrs. Mott's memoranda, the reader will get an insight into the moving and governing principles of her calm, consistent, and beautiful life.

Extracts from memoranda

Lucretia Mott.
A native of the Island of Nantucket,--of the Coffins and Macys on the father's side, and of the Folgers on the mother's; through them related to Dr. Franklin.

Born in 1793. During childhood was made actively useful to my mother, who, in the absence of my father, on a long voyage, was engaged in mercantile business, often going to Boston and purchasing goods in exchange for oil and candles, the staple of the island. The exercise of women's talents in this line, as well as the general care which devolved upon them in the absence of their husbands, tended to develop their intellectual powers and strengthen them mentally and physically.

In 1804 my father's family removed to Boston, and in the public and private schools of that city I mingled with all classes without distinction. My parents were of the religious society of Friends, and endeavored to preserve in their children the peculiarities of that sect, as well as to instil its more important principles. My father had a desire to make his daughters useful. At fourteen years of age I was placed with a younger sister, at the Friends' Boarding-School, in Dutchess County, State of New York, and continued there for more than two years without returning home. At fifteen, one of the teachers leaving the school, I was chosen as an alsistlat, in her place. Pleased with the promotion, I strove [374] hard to give satisfaction, and was gratified, on leaving the school, to have an offer of a situation as teacher, if I was disposed to remain, and informed that my services should entitle another sister to her education without charge. My father was, at that time, in successful business in Boston; but with his views of the importance of training a woman to usefulness, he and my mother gave their consent to another year being devoted to that institution. In the spring of 1809, I joined our family in Philadelphia, after their removal there. At the early age of eighteen, I married James Mott, of New York,--an attachment formed while at the boarding-school. He came to Philadelphia and entered into business with my father. The fluctuation in the commercial world for several years following our marriage, owing to the embargo, and the war of 1812, the death of my father, and the support of a family of five children devolving on my mother, surrounded us with difficulties. We resorted to various modes of obtaining a comfortable living; at one time engaged in the retail dry goods business, then resumed the charge of a school, and for another year was engaged in teaching. These trials, in early life, were not without their good effect in disciplining the mind, and leading it to set a just estimate on worldly pleasures. I, however, always loved the good, in childhood desired to do the right, and had no faith in the generally received idea of human depravity. My sympathy was early enlisted for the poor slave, by the class-books read in our schools, and the pictures of the slave-ship, as published by Clarkson. The ministry of Elias Hicks and others, on the subject of the unrequited labor of slaves, and their example in refusing the products of slave labor, all had their effect in awakening a strong feeling in their behalf. The unequal condition of woman in society also early impressed my mind. Learning, while at school, that the charge for the education of girls was [375] the same as that for boys, and that when they became teachers, women received but half as much as men for their services, the injustice of this was so apparent, that I early resolved to claim for my sex all that an impartial Creator *had bestowed. At twenty-five years of age, surrounded with a little family and many cares, I felt called to a more public life of devotion to duty, and engaged in the ministry in our Society, receiving every encouragement from those in authority, until a separation among us, in 1827, when my convictions led me to adhere to the sufficiency of the light within us, resting on truth as authority, rather than “taking authority for truth.” The popular doctrine of human depravity never commended itself to my reason or conscience. I “searched the Scriptures daily,” finding a construction of the text wholly different from that which was pressed upon our acceptance. The highest evidence of a sound faith being the practical life of the Christian, I have felt a far greater interest in the moral movements of our age than in any theological discussion.

The temperance reform early engaged my attention, and for more than twenty years I have practised total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks. The cause of peace has had a share of my efforts, leading to the ultra non-resistance ground,--that no Christian can consistently uphold, and actively engage in and support a government based on the sword, or relying on that as an ultimate resort. The oppression of the working-classes by existing monopolies, and the lowness of wages, often engaged my attention; and I have held many meetings with them, and heard their appeals with compassion, and a great desire for a radical change in the system which makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. The various associations and communities tending to greater equality of condition have had from me a hearty God-speed. But the millions of down-trodden slaves [376] in our land being the greatest sufferers, the most oppressed class, I have felt bound to plead their cause, in season and out of season, to endeavor to put my soul in their souls' stead, and to aid, all in my power, in every right effort for their immediate emancipation. This duty was impressed upon me at the time I consecrated myself to that gospel which anoints “to preach deliverance to the captive,” “to set at liberty them that are bruised.” From that time the duty of abstinence as far as practicable from slave-grown products was so clear, that I resolved to make the effort “to provide things honest” in this respect. Since then our family has been supplied with free-labor groceries, and, to some extent, with cotton goods unstained by slavery. The labors of the devoted Benjamin Lundy, and his “Genius of universal emancipation” published in Baltimore, added to the untiring exertions of Clarkson, Wilberforce, and others in England, including Elizabeth Heyrick, whose work on slavery aroused them to a change in their mode of action, and of William Lloyd Garrison, in Boston, prepared the way for a convention in Philadelphia, in 1833, to take the ground of immediate, not gradual, emancipation, and to impress the duty of unconditional liberty, without expatriation. In 1834 the Philadelphia Female A. S. Society was formed, and, being actively associated in the efforts for the slaves' redemption, I have travelled thousands of miles in this country, holding meetings in some of the slave States, have been in the midst of mobs and violence, and have shared abundantly in the odium attached to the name of an uncompromising modern abolitionist, as well as partaken richly of the sweet return of peace attendant on those who would “undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke.”

In 1840, a World's Anti-slavery Convention was called in London. Women from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, [377] were delegates to that convention. I was one of the number; but, on our arrival in England, our credentials were not accepted because we were women. We were, however, treated with great courtesy and attention, as strangers, and as women, were admitted to chosen seats as spectators and listeners, while our right of membership was denied,--we were voted out. This brought the Woman question more into view, and an increase of interest in the subject has been the result. In this work, too, I have engaged heart and hand, as my labors, travels, and public discourses evince. The misrepresentation, ridicule, and abuse heaped upon this, as well as other reforms, do not, in the least, deter me from my duty. To those, whose name is cast out as evil for the truth's sake, it is a small thing to be judged of man's judgment.

This imperfect sketch may give some idea of the mode of life of one who has found it “good to be always zealously affected in a good thing.”

My life, in the domestic sphere, has passed much as that of other wives and mothers in this country. I have had six children. Not accustomed to resigning them to the care of g nurse, I was much confined to them during their infancy and childhood. Being fond of reading, I omitted much unnecessary stitching and ornamental work, in the sewing for my family, so that I might have more time for this indulgence, and for the improvement of the mind. For novels and light reading I never had much taste. The “Ladies department,” in the periodicals of the day, had no attraction for me.

While walking in the streets of London, Mrs. Mott and I resolved on a Woman's Convention, as soon as we returned to America. Accordingly, in the summer of 1848, while she was on a visit to her sister, Martha Wright, of Auburn, I proposed to her, to call a Woman's Rights Convention, at [378] Seneca Falls, where I then lived. She consented, and the call was immediately issued in the county papers, and we at once prepared resolutions, speeches, and a declaration of sentiments. After much consultation over the declaration, finding that our fathers had similar grievances to our own, and the same number, we decided to adopt the immortal declaration of 1876 as our model. James Mott--one of nature's noblemen, both in character and appearance, the husband of Lucretia — presided at this first convention. Among those who took part in the discussions were Frederick Douglass, Thomas and Mary Ann McClintock, and their two daughters, Ansel Bascom, Catharine Stebbins, Amy Post, and Martha Wright. It continued through two days, was well attended, and extensively reported. The declaration was published in nearly every paper in the country, and the nation was convulsed with laughter, from Maine to Louisiana, though our demands for suffrage, the right to property, work, and wages were the same that wise men accept to-day, the same that Henry Ward Beecher preaches in his pulpit, and John Stuart Mill presses on the consideration of the British Parliament. Martha Wright, the sister of Lucretia, took an active part in this convention, and has presided over nearly every convention that has been held in later days. She is a woman of fine presence, much general information, and rare common sense. Though not a public speaker, she has been a most efficient worker in our cause. In a recent letter to me, speaking of her sister, soon after the death of Mr. Mott, she says, “The striking traits of Lucretia's character are remarkable energy, that defies even time, unswerving conscientiousness, and all those characteristics that are summed up in the few words, love to man, and love to God.” “Though much broken by the heavy affliction, that has come to her so unexpectedly, for, frail as she is, she never thought she should survive her strong and vigorous husband, she has borne it [379] better than we anticipated.” Our next convention was held in Rochester, a few weeks later. Mrs. Amy Post and Miss. Abigail Bush made the arrangements, and Mrs. Bush presided on the occasion. Mrs. Mott and I were opposed to a woman as president,--this was a step we were not quite prepared for, to have a woman call a promiscuous assembly to order. However, we were out-voted, and we were compelled to admit, at the close, that Mrs. Bush did us all great credit. The meetings were held in the Unitarian church, and created much interest in the city. One very interesting incident occurred during the morning session. A newly married couple, soon after the convention opened, walked slowly up the aisle to the altar, when the groom stepped forward, and asked the president, in a low tone, if the lady with him might have the opportunity to speak. “Passing through the city,” he said, “they heard of the convention, and having but an hour before leaving town, she would like to add her voice in favor of woman's rights.” She was accordingly introduced at once, and made a most eloquent and finished speech of twenty minutes. Whilst she was speaking, the groom remained standing near the altar, hat and cane in hand, reverently gazing on his beautiful bride. When she finished, a profound silence reigned, and they disappeared as quietly and suddenly as they came. Who they were, whence they came, or whither going, we never knew.

Caroline M. Severance

In 1850 and 1851 several State Conventions were held in Indiana and Ohio. At the convention held at Indianapolis, the moving spirits were Frances D. Gage, and Caroline M. Severance. In a brief sketch of Caroline M. Severance I cannot do better, than to give the reader, what, in her easy, playful way, she writes in a letter to me of herself. I wrote [380] to her asking for facts of her life, telling her there was no escape, that nolens volens she was to be sketched, and it rested with her, whether it should be based wholly on such an objective view, as one could take hundreds of miles away, or on a subjective view, such as I could get in being en rapport with herself. She chose the latter, as the least of two evils, and frankly tells me what she knows of herself.

Dear Friend,
Isn't this an interesting dilemma to find one's self in?--to be exhibited whether we will or no! One who has arrived at years of discretion, surely, in our free land, to have no chance of a choice, whether to remain incog., or be set on high for all the daws to peck at! “But to this it seems we have come at last,” and, in my extremity, if I may choose nothing else, I surely shall snatch at the chance to say by whom this most undesirable service shall be performed, and I gladly submit to you.

I have done so little to justify my years, that I might shrink from such a sketch as you propose, with better reason than could influence many of our sex. But lest you should think my humility affectation, I frankly avow that I was born in Canandaigua, N. Y., in January, 1820, if you consider date and birthplace important to the sketch, of neither “poor or pious parents,” although cultivated, conscientious persons. My father's name was Orson Seymour, a banker, my mother's name was Caroline M. Clark. I was married in 1840, at Auburn, New York, to T. C. Severance, a banker of Cleveland, Ohio. Neither the world nor my historian would have any particular interest in what I said, or did, after that remarkable event of January 20th, and the good sense of choosing so beautiful a portion of the earth's surface for a birthplace, until the mother of five children, with little experience in life, and less in society, having devoted myself to home and books, I was chosen, in 1853, to read before [381] the Mercantile Library Association, the first lecture ever delivered by a woman, in Cleveland, Ohio, where I had resided since marriage. I had been already identified with the Woman's Rights movement, having attended conventions in Indiana, Ohio, and New York; and this accounts for my invitation on this occasion. I cannot tell you how long I hesitated to accept this invitation; the more I plead my unfitness, the more I was pressed with a sense of my duty, and at last I wrote the most exhaustive essay I could on the subject, to make sure, for once, that my city should have all that could be said on the subject. An immense audience listened, through an hour and three quarters, with becoming silence and respect. This lecture I repeated several times, in different parts of the State. After that, the Woman's Rights Association asked me to prepare a tract for their circulation. Later I was appointed to present a memorial to the Legislature, asking suffrage, and such amendments to the State laws of Ohio as should place woman on a civil equality with man. In 1855 we came to Massachusetts, the home of my heart always, and here I have done nothing, deserving the punishment of public exposure, that I now remember against myself, until, as one of the lecture committee of the Fraternity Association, it became my duty to assist in securing lecturers for the course. We invited Mrs. Stanton, but, she failing us at the last moment, I was not able to resist the entreaties of the committee, and the obligation I felt myself under, to make good her place, so far as in me lay. That was, I believe, the first lecture ever delivered in Boston before a Lyceum Association by a woman. I will not tell you how prosy and dull I fear it was, but I know it was earnest, and well considered, and dear Mrs. Follen's, and Miss Peabody's beaming eyes, kept me in heart all through, as they glowed with interest before me from below the platform of Tremont Temple Hall. Since then, from want of health and voice, I have not spoken much [382] in public, though I have given soul service, in many directions, standing as corresponding secretary for the Anti-slavery Society, one of the Board of Managers to the New England Female Medical College, and reading a course of private lectures on practical ethics, before Dio Lewis' school of girls. These lectures cover the relations of the young woman to the school, the State, the home, and her own complete development. As a mother, I am happy to say that my sons. and daughters have never disgraced, and I see no reason to believe, ever will disgrace, my name, or bring in question, my influence over them, or my fidelity to them. Pure in heart, noble in all their tastes and tendencies, they are my joy in the present, my hope in the future, and my best legacy to it. Here you have me, my good friend, in a nutshell. Not multum in parvo, it must be confessed.

Yours, sincerely, C. M. S.

Mrs. Severance now resides in West Newton, Massachusetts, where she is living a quiet life, in a beautiful home. She is using her pen in a way she hopes will some day prove a means of broader influence. In manners and appearance, Mrs. Severance is very attractive. She has a handsome face and figure, dignified carriage, and fine conversational powers. She is an amiable, affectionate, conscientious woman, faithful alike in her private and public duties.

Frances D. Gage.

Born October 12th, 1808, in Marietta, Washington County, on the banks of the Muskingum, Ohio. Her father, Joseph Barker, was a native of New Hampshire, and an early pioneer to the western wilds. Through her mother, Elizabeth Dana, she was allied to the distinguished Massachusetts families of Dana and Bancroft. A log cabin in the woods, was the seminary where Frances Barker acquired the rudiments of [383] education. And, though she had few early advantages, she became a sound thinker, a good writer of both prose and verse, and one of the most effective speakers in the country. She was born with a sound mind in a sound body. Her large, well-balanced head, and strong physical development made learning and hardships alike easy for her to surmount. Her father was a farmer and cooper, and the duties of a farmer's daughter, in a new country, were all cheerfully and easily disposed of by her. She assisted her father in making barrels, and I have heard her often tell that, as she would roll out a well-made barrel, her father would pat her on the head, and say, “Ah, Fanny, you should have been a boy!” Fanny had a kind and loving nature, and early felt the most intense sympathy for the fugitives from slavery. Her tenderness and charity for these despised people often subjected her to the ridicule of her young companions. She became familiarized with their sufferings and wants, in her frequent visits to her grandmother, Mrs. Mary Bancroft Dana, whose home was on the Ohio River, opposite Blennerhasset's Island.

At the age of twenty-one she married James L. Gage, a lawyer of McConnellsville, Ohio,--a man of great humanity and moral integrity. With a family of eight children, and all the hardships of that Western life, Mrs. Gage still found time, through all those years, to read, and write for leading journals, and often to speak, too, on temperance, slavery, and woman's rights. As she stood almost alone on these questions, she was often subject to ridicule and persecution. Those who have never advocated an unpopular idea — who have — not made principle, rather than policy, their guiding star---cannot appreciate the peculiar trials of those who are true in word and action to their enlightened conscientious opinions.

In 1851, Mrs. Gage attended a “Woman's Rights Convention,” in Akron, Ohio, and was chosen president of the [384] meeting. Her opening speech, on that occasion, is remarkable for its common sense, and a pathos peculiarly her own. In 1853 she moved to St. Louis. Those who fought the anti-slavery battle in Massachusetts cannot realize the danger of such a warfare in a slave-holding State. With her usual frank utterances of opinions, she was soon branded as an abolitionist, her articles excluded from the journals, and she from “good society,” with daily threats of violence to her person and the destruction of her property. Three disastrous fires-the work of incendiaries, no doubt — greatly reduced the resources of the family. Owing to her husband's ill health, and failure in business, she took the post of assistant editor of an agricultural paper in Columbus, Ohio; but as the breaking out of the war soon destroyed the circulation of the paper, and four of her sons had gone into the army, her thoughts turned to the scenes of conflict in the Southern States. The “suffering freedmen” and the “boys in blue” appealed alike to her loving heart for kindness and help; and, without appointment or salary, she went to Port Royal in 1862. She remained in Beaufort, Paris, and Fernandina thirteen months, ministering alike to the soldiers and freedmen, as opportunity offered. Pages might be written on the heroism of Mrs. Gage and her daughter Mary during this period. Oppressed with the magnitude of the work to be accomplished there, she returned North, to give her experiences acquired among the freedmen, hoping to rouse others, younger and stronger than herself, to go down and teach those neglected people the A B C of learning and social life.

During this year she travelled through many of the northern States, speaking nearly every evening to Soldiers' Aid Societies. She worked without pay, only asking enough to defray her expenses. When the summer days made lecturing impossible, she went as an unsalaried agent of the Sanitary [385] Commission down the Mississippi, to Memphis, Vicksburg, and Natchez. In the month of September she was overturned in a carriage at Galesburg, Illinois, which crippled her for that year. As soon as she recovered she was employed and well paid by various temperance organizations to lecture for that cause; and she was thus occupied, when her plans for future activity and usefulness were suddenly terminated by a stroke of paralysis, in August, 1867. She has since been confined to her room, though able to walk about, read, and write. A visit to her sick-room is always pleasant and profitable, and everything from her pen breathes a sweet spirit of love to man and trust in God. In appearance, Mrs. Gage is large and vigorous, has a good, benevolent face, easy manners, and a varied fund of conversation. She is capable, as her life shows, of great self-denial and heroism. She is an extemporaneous speaker,--a talker rather than an orator,--and never fails to interest and hold an audience. There is no woman in the country who can speak so readily, without preparation, on so many different subjects, as Mrs. Gage. She has taken a prominent part in most of the National Woman's Rights Conventions, and, but for her illness, would have spoken all through Kansas in the last campaign.

In reply to my letter, asking her for some facts relating to our Woman's Rights movement, she writes me from her sick-room:--

459 Sixth Avenue, New York.
Dear Mrs. S.,--Your letter is before me. .... I have little to say; yet I remember the first convention. I was travelling East, with my husband, and was at Buffalo that very day, and longed to be with you. The next conventions were held in Indiana and in Ohio in 1850. I remember, too, emanating from the Salem Convention was a [386] memorial, drawn up by Mary Ann Johnson, asking that the words “white male” should be omitted from the constitution, which was that year to be given to the State. I also drew up a memorial, asking for the equal rights of woman before the law, and that the words “white male” should be stricken from the constitution. I did not know Mrs. Johnson, and we had no communication with each other. Those memorials were presented by the member from my district; the subject was vehemently discussed, and voted upon. Nine votes were given for striking out the word “male” and eleven for striking out “white.” I think this was the first memorial ever presented in any State asking suffrage for woman. From 1849 to 1855 I lectured on this subject in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York, and wrote volumes for the press. Many of the most earnest spirits in Kansas were from Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois, and helped to form the public opinion that gave woman, in that State, a right to vote on temperance and education, and laid the foundation for its present advanced position. Excuse my palsied hand and brain. I am still very feeble, and write with difficulty.

Under the nomme de plume of “Aunt Fanny,” Mrs. Gage has written many beautiful stories for children, stanzas, and sketches of social life. She was an early contributor to the “Saturday visitor,” edited by Jane G. Swisshelm, and has lately written for the New York Independent. A volume of poems, and a temperance tale, “Elsie Magoon,” are the last of her published works. By her own efforts, Mrs. Gage has accumulated enough to secure to herself and her children a pleasant home for her old age. [387]

In April, 1850, a convention was held. in Salem, Ohio. J. Elizabeth Jones, Mary Ann Johnson, and Josephine Griffing were the leading spirits,--all women of high moral character and intellectual cultivation. Mary Ann Johnson had lectured to large audiences throughout the country on physiology. Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Griffing were both able writers and speakers. These women circulated petitions in that State, and addressed the Legislature demanding woman's right to her property, wages, children, and the elective franchise. In the reports of this convention we find mention made of Maria L. Giddings, daughter of Joshua R. Giddings, who presented an able report on the laws; of Sojourner Truth, Mrs. Stowe's Lybian Sybil, for forty years a slave in New York, and of the Hutchinson family, who enlivened the occasion with their songs.

Abby Hutchinson.

Among the representative women of the nineteenth century, Abby Hutchinson deserves a passing notice. She was born in Milford, New Hampshire, one of a large family of children. Early in the anti-slavery cause, she, with four brothers, began to sing in the conventions. In all those stormy days of mob violence the Hutchinson family was the one harmonizing element. Like oil on the troubled waters, their sweet songs would soothe to silence those savages whom neither appeal nor defiance could awe. Abby made her first appearance in public at an early age. Anti-slavery, woman's rights, temperance, peace, and democracy have been her themes,--singing alike in the Old World and the New. To farmers on. New England's granite hills, to pioneers on the far-off prairies, to merchant princes in crowded cities, and to kings, queens, and nobles, in palaces and courts, have those girlish lips sung the republican anthem, “All men are created equal.” She was a girl of strong character and a nice [388] sense of propriety in all things. Although until her marriage her life was wholly a public one, yet she never lost the modesty, delicacy, and refinement so peculiarly her own. She was slightly formed, graceful, with a bright, happy face, and most pleasing manners. She had a fair complexion, dark eyes and hair, teeth like rows of pearls, and in fact might be called beautiful. Her voice, though not of great compass and variety, was full, rich, deep, and well modulated.

All admit that “the Hutchinson family” have acted well their part in the cause of reform, and a second generation is singing still. When Abby retired from the stage her mantle fell on her niece Viola, who, having just married, will probably share the fate of her aunt, being according to Blackstone, wholly absorbed in another, and we shall hear from her no more.

The first national convention was held in Brinley Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, October 23d, and 24th, 1850. This was the first thoroughly organized, and ably sustained convention, for which extensive preparations were made, as the women of the country had learned by that time what was necessary to make a convention a success. Above three hundred persons, men and women, enrolled their names as members. Among them we find William H. Channing, E. D. Draper, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Earle, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Parker Pillsbury, Charles Burleigh, Hannah Darlington, Sarah Tyndall, Sarah R. May, S. C. Sargent, C. M. Shaw, Ellen and Marion Blackwell, Mary Adams, and Sojourner Truth. The proceedings of this convention were remarkable for their earnestness and ability. The reports, published both in England and America, in all the leading journals, first drew the attention of Mrs. John Stuart Mill to this subject, and prompted her able article in the “Westminster review” on “The enfranchisement of women.”

Paulina Wright Davis was chosen president of the convention. [389] Her opening address, an hour in length, was a very concise, and able presentation of the work to be done, and the manner of doing it.

In this convention every phase of the question was discussed,--work, wages, property, education, and suffrage,by the ablest men and women in the country. After this, National Women's Rights Conventions were held annually in the different States of New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Ohio, and as the result the laws in these States were essentially though slowly modified. This simultaneous movement in every State, the unanimity of thought and feeling among the ablest women in the country, the striking similarity in the appeals, petitions, resolutions, and speeches, all prove this claim for woman to be one of those great ideas that mark an era in human progress, and not the idiosyncrasy of a few unbalanced minds.

Antoinette Brown

Antoinette Brown was born in Henrietta, Monroe County, New York, May 20th, 1825. At the age of nine years she joined the Congregational church, and sometimes spoke and prayed in the meetings. In childhood she often expressed the wish that she might become a preacher. At the age 9f sixteen, she taught school during the summer, and attended the academy in Henrietta during the winter. In 1844 she went to Oberlin performing alone her first journey by canal and stage, to begin the experience of college life. While there she taught several branches in the seminary, in order to pay the expenses of her collegiate course. In 1846 she taught in the academy in Rochester. There her first lecture was delivered, in accordance with the custom of the male teachers, to address the pupils and visitors at the close of the terms. Her vacations at Oberlin had been passed in extra study of [390] Greek: and Hebrew. It was here she and Lucy Stone had first met, and formed a friendship that has strengthened with their years. Here they fought together the battles of woman's rights with the students and professors, and sustained each other under all the peculiar hardships of their position. As they afterwards married brothers, and purchased homes in New Jersey, their lives have moved on harmoniously together.

In 1846 she returned to Oberlin to go through a three years course in theology. For some time the Bible argument on the ministrations of woman had been with her a subject of serious and prayerful consideration. It was customary for the students to receive a license to preach, and before finishing their course they would often speak in the pulpits of the neighborhood.

When Miss Brown asked this license, the professors were grievously exercised. But after much thought and consultation they decided “that she was a resident graduate, pursuing the theological course, but not a member of the theological department, and, consequently, she needed no license from the institution, but must preach or be silent on her own responsibility.”

Like General Jackson, she took the responsibility, and preached often in different parts of Ohio, while pursuing her theological course of studies.

After quitting Oberlin she spent four years in private reading and study, preaching and lecturing on various reforms. In 1850 she attended the convention in Worcester, Massachusetts, and made a speech on the enfranchisement of woman.

She preached whenever and wherever opportunity offered, without regard to sect,--alike in the church at Andover,

Music Hall, in Boston, or public halls in Worcester, Cincinnati, and No w York. In 1853 she was ordained pastor of a Congregational church in South Butler, Wayne County, New

York. The Rev. Luther Lee, Wesleyan minister of Syracuse, [391] preached the ordination sermon. Gerrit Smith and Samuel J. May took part in the ceremonies.

“Then,” says Mrs. Blackwell, in a note to me recently, “Dr. Cheever openly branded me and my South Butler Church as infidels; and the New York Independent sustained him, and would only publish a crumb of my reply.”

We are happy to say that our noble young friend, Theodore Tilton, was not then editor of that journal.

Miss Brown remained in South Butler but one year, owing to ill health from excessive labor, and painful doubts concerning theological doctrines. As soon as she was reestablished in health of body and mind she lectured on reformatory subjects in Cincinnati and elsewhere, and investigated the character and causes of vice in New York, with especial reference to its bearing on woman. The year 1855 was spent in this interesting though painful work, and she published in the New York Tribune a number of sketches from life, under the title “Shadows of our social system.”

In 1854 she was a delegate from the Wayne County Society to the World's Temperance Convention, at which Neal Dow presided, in New York. But she was denied her seat, simply because she was a woman. Wendell Phillips and William H. Channing made eloquent speeches in favor of her admission, and she took the platform herself and essayed to speak, but such was the noise and confusion with tongues and canes, and the swaying of the audience to and fro, that all attempts on her part were unavailable.

From the liberal state of public sentiment to-day one can hardly believe it possible that, thirteen years ago, men claiming to be Christian ministers could have so rudely treated a beautiful, highly-educated young girl, a member of the same church with themselves, because she asked that her name might be enrolled with theirs in a World's Temperance Convention,--that [392] she, too, might raise her voice in the metropolis of the nation against the vice of drunkenness.

In January, 1856, Miss Brown married Samuel Blackwell. Though she occasionally speaks, still most of her time is passed at home in the care of a family of daughters. It is said she is writing on theological questions for future publication. Mrs. Blackwell is a close, untiring student. She writes and speaks with ease, has a logical and well-stored mind, and is a woman of pleasing manners and address.

Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone was the first speaker who really stirred the nation's heart on the subject of.woman's wrongs. Young, magnetic, eloquent, her soul filled with the new idea, she drew immense audiences, and was eulogized everywhere by the press. She spoke extemporaneously, having no special talent as a writer. Her style of speaking was earnest, fluent, impassioned appeal rather than argument. She excelled in telling touching incidents and amusing anecdotes. I well remember my pleasure the first time I heard her. It was at a Temperance Convention in Rochester, in 1853. A resolution was before the convention, asking of the Legislature a law granting divorce for drunkenness. Lucy took the affirmative; and, although the question was ably debated in the negative by Mrs. C. H. I. Nichols and Antoinette Brown, yet Lucy carried the audience with her.

She was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. Her parents were rigid Presbyterians, and trained up their children in an austere manner. She, however, early queried with herself as to the wisdom of existing laws, customs, and opinions. She could riot see the justice of her brother's being sent to college to enjoy all the advantages of education, while [393] she and her sisters remained at home to work on the farm. The yoke on her own neck galled her to action. She decided that she, too, would go to college and have a liberal education. The question was thoroughly pondered and debated, and at last decided. She borrowed the money and went to Oberlin, where, with great economy, management, self-denial, and untiring application to her studies, she graduated with high honors. Having discovered her talent for oratory in the debating society at Oberlin, she decided to fit herself for a public speaker.

On her return to New England she became an agent of the American Anti-slavery Society, lecturing alternately for the slave and woman. She travelled through the Western and some of the Southern States, speaking in all the large cities.

In 1855 she was married to Henry B. Blackwell. Thomas W. Higginson performed the ceremony. She accepted the usual marriage under protest,--her husband renouncing all those rights of authority and ownership which were his in law, and she retaining her own name. Although this has been to her a source of great annoyance and persecution, from friends as well as enemies, yet, feeling that the principle of woman's individualism was involved in a lifelong name, she has steadily adhered to her decision. I honor her for her steadfast principle.

The first thing the slave does in freedom is to take to himself a name. Having been Cuffy Lee, or Cuffy Davis, just whose Cuffy he might chance to be, as soon as he is his own master he takes a new name that is henceforth to represent his individual existence. Why wonder that a woman, believing in her own individual existence, who had distinguished her name the world over, should refuse to be so entirely swallowed up in another as to lose even the name to which she had answered for thirty years? I remember I had the same feelings when I was married, though young and unknown, and, [394] although I took my husband's name, I retained my own also.

The name of Lucy Stone is prominent in all the early National Conventions, as she was Secretary of the Woman's Rights organization for many years. Mrs. Stone is small, with dark-brown hair, gray eyes, fine teeth, florid complexion, and has a sparkling, intellectual face. Her voice is soft, clear, and musical; her manner in speaking is quiet, making but few gestures, and usually standing in one place. Gerrit Smith told me once, with great glee, that sitting on the platform when Lucy was speaking, he saw her several times gently stamp her foot!

Mrs. Stone has one daughter, and since her marriage her life has been spent in retirement, until the news that Kansas was to submit the proposition to strike the words “white male” from her Constitution to a vote of the people, roused her again to public duty. She spent two months in the spring of 1867 travelling through that State, speaking to large audiences. She attended the Topeka Convention, at the formation of the “Kansas impartial suffrage Association,” and has lectured during the past winter on suffrage for woman in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

Mrs. Caroline H. Dall.

Mrs. Caroline H. Dall, born in Beacon Street, Boston, she is more distinguished as a writer than speaker, though she has lectured on various subjects in many parts of the country. Her addresses are uniformly well written, and show great research, and untiring industry. Mrs. Dall is a highly educated woman, a close student, an encyclopedia of historical facts and statistics. Her reports, read in the annual Woman's Rights Conventions, of the progress of the movement, are most valuable and interesting papers. She has published several books under the [395] title, “Woman under the law,” “Woman's right to labor,” “The court, the College, and the market.” All her productions have been extensively reviewed and complimented by the press. In speaking of her last work, “The New York evening post” says:--

Mrs. Caroline H. Dall's well-known book, “The College, the market, and the court,” has been issued in a new edition, which contains important additions, some corrections, an index, and some notes on the unfortunate Dr. Todd, who was lately so shockingly mangled by Miss Gail Hamilton. Mrs. Dall's book has been very well spoken of abroad, as indeed it deserves,--for it is the most eloquent and forcible statement of the Woman's Question which has been made.

Many persons, now writing and speaking on this subject, glean their facts from her books, and without always giving credit where it is due. Mrs. Dall has been an active member in the Social Science Association, and read many valuable papers in their public meetings, both in Boston and New York. She was associated with Paulina Wright Davis, in “The Una,” --a woman's rights paper, published at Boston in 1854,--and has taken a prominent part in some of the Massachusetts Conventions. She married a Unitarian clergyman, who has been a missionary for many years in Calcutta. Mrs. Dall's department of thought is in the region of facts. Not capable of generalization, her mind does not deal in principles, hence the conclusions she draws from her facts are sometimes neither legitimate nor philosophical.

Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols.

In Kansas, I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Nichols in 1867. She is a native of Vermont, but went to the West [396] several years ago. She has been in Kansas through all the troubles in that State, and to her influence, in a measure, is due its liberal laws for woman. She was in the first constitutional convention, and pressed woman's claims on its consideration. Mrs. Nichols is an able writer and speaker, and is as thoroughly conversant with the laws of her State as any judge or lawyer in it. She has taken a prominent part in all reforms for the last twenty years. She is a noble woman, and has borne the hardships of her pioneer life with a heroism that commands admiration. For many years, Mrs. Nichols ably edited the “Windham County Democrat,” --a whig paper, published at Brattleboroa, Vermont. Though her articles were widely copied, it was not then known that they were written by a woman.

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was born at the foot of the Green Mountains, South Adams, Massachusetts, February 15th, 1820. Her father, Daniel Anthony, was a stern Quaker, her mother, Lucy Read, a Baptist; but being liberal and progressive in their tendencies, they were soon one in their religion.

Her father was a cotton manufacturer, and the first dollar she ever earned was in his factory. Though a man of wealth, the idea of self-support was early impressed on all the daughters of the family. In 1826 they moved into Washington County, New York, and in 1846 to Rochester. She was educated in a small select school, in her father's house, until the age of seventeen, when she went to a boarding-school in Philadelphia. Fifteen years of her life were passed in teaching school in different parts of the State of New York.

Although superintendents gave her credit for the best-disciplined school, and the most thoroughly taught scholars in [397] the county, yet they paid her but eight dollars a month, while men received from twenty-four to thirty dollars. After fifteen years of faithful labor, and the closest economy, she had saved but three hundred dollars.

This experience taught her the lesson of woman's rights, and when she read the reports of the first conventions, her whole soul responded to the new demand. Her earliest public work was in the temperance movement, where I first met her in 1851, although she had lectured on that subject, and formed temperance societies as early as 1848, while teaching in Canajoharie, N. Y. In the winter of this year, she called a State Temperance Convention in Albany. Mrs. Lydia Fowler, Mrs. Mary Vaughan, and Mrs. Amelia Bloomer all spoke on that occasion. In May following, she called a Woman's Temperance Convention in Rochester. Corinthian Hall was packed during the proceedings. A State society was formed, and three delegates — Miss Anthony, Mrs. Bloomer, and Mrs. Mary Hallowell--were appointed to attend the Men's State Temperance Convention at Syracuse, in June. But these delegates were denied a right in the convention. The very idea of a woman's society, or a woman delegate, quite upset the gentlemen of the convention. The clergy, as usual, were especially denunciatory.

William H. Burleigh, corresponding secretary, in making out his annual report, hailed the formation of a woman's society as a powerful auxiliary to the temperance movement, and he accordingly advocated the recognition of the delegates; but he was scouted, voted down, and that part of his report blotted out. Rev. Mr. Lee, of the Wesleyan Church, invited the ladies to speak in his house in the evening. The consequence was, while they had an immense audience, the men's convention was almost deserted. Similar attempts were made by women all over the country, in the temperance associations ; but they were uniformly thrust aside, and the result is. [398] those old organizations have died out, giving place to the orders of Good Templars, Rechabites, etc., etc., that gladly affiliate with woman, in carrying on this important reform. At this time, Miss Anthony's life and mine became nearly one. From my retreat, which I seldom left, being surrounded with a large family of young children, she and I surveyed, year after year, the State and the nation.

Wherever we saw a work to be done, we would together forge our thunderbolts, in the form of resolutions, petitions, appeals, and speeches, on every subject,--temperance, antislavery, woman's rights, agriculture, education, and religion,uniformly accepting every invitation to go everywhere, and do everything. Through all those years, Miss Anthony was the connecting link between me and the outer world,--the reform scout, who went to see what was going on in the enemy's camp, and returning with maps and observations to plan the mode of attack. Wherever we annual convention of men, quietly meeting year after year, filled with brotherly love, we bethought ourselves how we could throw a bombshell into their midst, in the form of a resolution, to open their doors to the sisters outside, who had an equal interest with themselves in the subjects under consideration. In this way, we assailed, in turn, the temperance, educational, and church conventions, agricultural fairs, and halls of legislation. We persecuted the educational convention for a whole decade of years, to the infinite chagrin of Professors Davies, Buckley, and Hazeltine, whose feathers always ruffled the moment Miss Anthony, with her staid Quaker face and firm step, walked up the aisle, always taking a conspicuous seat, as if to say, Gentlemen, here I am again, to demand that you recognize as your equals, the hundreds of women before you,--teachers, who sit in these conventions, without a voice or vote in your proceedings. With the aid of such chivalrous men as Superintendents Randall and Rice, we at [399] last triumphed; women were permitted to speak and vote in the conventions, appointed on committees, and to make reports on various subjects. Miss Anthony herself was invited to prepare a report on educating the sexes together, which she read to an immense audience in Troy, in 1858. At the close of her able report, Mr. Hazeltine came to her and said, “While I must admit the talent and power of your report, I would rather see a daughter of mine buried beneath the sod, than that she should stand before a promiscuous audience and utter such sentiments.”

Superintendent Randall, standing by, replied, “And I should be proud if I had a daughter able to do it.” In October of the same year Miss Anthony delivered the annual address at the Yates County Agricultural Fair, held at Dundee. She was to have spoken in the church, but the crowd was so great, that, with a lumber-wagon for her rostrum, she spoke an hour and a half in the open air. Hers is the one voice among our speakers that never fails to fill the ears of her audience. Her address was pronounced the ablest that had ever been delivered in that county. Miss Anthony's style of speaking is rapid, vehement, concise, and in her best moods she is sometimes eloquent. In late years she speaks extemporaneously, retaining enough of the Quaker to make a failure, except when strongly moved by the spirit. But the spirit is always sure to move when she sees the rights of any human being outraged. From 1852 she has been one of the leading spirits in every Woman's Rights Convention, and has been the acting secretary and general agent through all these years; and when in 1866 we reorganized under the name of “The American equal Rights Association,” she was reappointed to both these offices. From 1857 to 1866, Miss Anthony was also an agent and faithful worker in the anti-slavery cause until the emancipation edict proclaimed freedom throughout the land. She has been untiring in her labors in securing the liberal legislation [400] we now have for women in the State of New York. The property rights of married women were secured by the bills of 1848 and 1849. From that time to the present scarce a year has passed without petitions, appeals, and addresses before our legislature. In the winter of 1854 and 1855 Miss Anthony held fifty-four conventions in different counties of the State, with two petitions in hand,--one demanding equal property rights, the other the ballot,--and rolled up ten thousand names. She performed these fatiguing journeys mostly in stage-coaches in the depth of the winter. Miss Anthony, though not beautiful, has a fine figure and alarge, well-shaped head. The world calls her sharp, angular, cross-grained. She has, indeed, her faults and angles, but they are all outside. She has a broad and generous nature, and a depth of tenderness that few women possess. She does not faint, or weep, or sentimentalize; but she has genuine feeling, a tender love for all true men and women, a reverence for noble acts and words, and an active pity for those who come to her in the hour of sorrow and trial. She is earnest, unselfish, and true to principle as the needle to the pole. In an intimate friendship of eighteen years, I can truly say, I have never known her to do or say a mean or narrow thing. She is. above that petty envy and jealousy that mar the character of so many otherwise good women. She is always full of the work before her, and does it, going through and over whatever stands in her way. She never sees lions in her path, but does what she is convinced is right, whether it seems feasible to others or not. Hence she is impatient and imperious with those who, not seeing the goal she does, stand in her way. The legislators of this State can testify to her pertinacity and perseverance. Those who have complained of Miss Anthony's impatience, in pushing our cause to a speedy success, must remember that without the cares of husband, children, and home, all her time, thought, force, and affection have centred in this work for nearly [401] twenty years. She has raised and spent thousands of dollars, in printing and postage, having scattered documents without number all over this country and England. No one knows, as I do, the untiring labors of this noble woman in our cause.

What people call cross-grained in her is her quickness in seeing the right, and her promptness in maintaining it, no matter who her opposers may be. An anecdote will serve to illustrate the strong principle, independence, and self-reliance of her character. A lady of superior education, the wife and sister of distinguished men, was placed in an insane asylum to be quietly disposed of, that some domestic difficulties might not be made known. After a two years incarceration she was released; but, insisting on separation, and the possession of her children, she was again threatened, when she appealed to Miss Anthony for protection. She promptly gave her the necessary assistance, and found a safe retreat for her and her daughter. No threats or persecutions could move her to reveal the hiding-place of her clients. Anti-slavery friends on all sides wrote to her, begging her to have nothing to do with the matter,--that it would injure the reforms she advocated. Leading men in the State wrote to her that she was legally liable for abducting a child from its father, and that she would be arrested some day on the platform in the midst of a speech. Telegrams and letters of threats and persuasion were poured on her thick and fast; among others, Mr. Garrison and Mr. Phillips wrote to her saying, “Do you not know that you are guilty of a violation of law?” “Yes!” she replied; “and I know when I feed and shelter a panting fugitive from slavery I violate law; and yet you would uphold me for violating the law in one case; why not the other? Is a refined, educated, noble woman, flying from the contamination of an unfaithful husband, less worthy of my protection than a black man flying from the tyranny of his master?” Of the threats of arrest fram the presiding officer of the Massachusetts Legislature, [402] and an honorable senator of New York, she had no fears, knowing that, in thus doing, they would make public exactly what they desired to conceal.

In the autumn of 1867 Miss Anthony went to Kansas, where she remained during the campaign, which closed so triumphantly, giving nine thousand votes for woman's suffrage. in Kansas she met for the first time George Francis Train, who had been invited to go there, and stump the State for woman's suffrage, by the “Woman's suffrage Association” of St. Louis. She travelled with him in Kansas, addressing large audiences, until the day of election, when I joined her at her brother's house, Mayor D. R. Anthony, of Leavenworth. We then went to Omaha, to meet Mr. Train, where we held two meetings, and from that point we came to New York, speaking in all the large cities of nine States. Through the influence of this new and noble champion of woman's rights with Wall Street brokers, she was able to establish “The Revolution,” --the first woman's rights paper in this country, with a name representing the magnitude of the work,--on a financial basis that ensures success.

Some odium has been cast on Miss Anthony for this affiliation with these Liberal Democrats; but time will prove her judgment as sound in this matter as it has been in so many other points where she has differed from her friends.

Olympia Brown.

Chief among the women who labored in Kansas in 1867, are Olympia Brown and Viola Hutchinson,--the one speaking and preaching, the other singing her sweet songs of freedom, in churches, school-houses, depots, barns, and tile open air. Olympia Brown was born in Ohio; she was a graduate of Antioch college, and went through a theological course at [403] Canton, New York. She is the most promising young woman now speaking in this cause. She is small, delicately organized, and has a most pleasing personnel. She is a graceful, fluent speaker, with wonderful powers of continuity and concentration, and is oblivious to everything but the idea she wishes to utter. While, in Kansas she spoke every day for four months, twice and three times, Sundays not excepted.

She is a close, clear reasoner and able debater. The Kansas politicians all feared to meet her. One prominent judge in the State encountered her in debate, on one occasion, to the utter discomfiture of himself and his compeers. By some mistake their appointments were in the same place. She, through courtesy, yielded to him the first hour. He made an argument to show the importance of suffrage for the negro, with an occasional slur on woman. She followed him, using his own words, illustrations, and arguments, to show the importance of suffrage for woman, much to his chagrin, and the amusement of the audience, who cheered her from beginning to end. At the close of the meeting a rising vote was taken, of those in favor of woman's suffrage. All the audience arose, except the judge, and he looked as if he would have given anything if consistence would have permitted him to rise also.

Miss Brown is now an ordained pastor of a Universalist church in Weymouth, Massachusetts, where she receives a liberal salary, and is honored and beloved by her people.

The space assigned me in this volume is too small for more than a brief sketch of this cause and its leaders. As much odium has been cast on these noble women, I cannot close without saying, what I feel to be just and true, of all alike. It is no exaggeration to state, that the women identified with this question are distinguished for intellectual power, moral probity, and religious earnestness. Most of them are able speakers and writers, as their published [404] speeches, letters, novels, and poems fully show; those who have seen them in social life can testify that they are good house-keepers, true mothers, and faithful wives. I have known women in many countries and classes of society, and I know none more noble, delicate, and refined, in word and action, than those I have met on the woman's rights platform. True, they do not possess the voluptuous grace and soft manners of the petted children of luxury; they are not clothed in purple and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day,--for most of them are self-made women, who, through hardships and sacrifice, have smoothed the rugged paths for multitudes about them, and earned a virtuous independence for themselves. All praise to those, who, through ridicule and scorn, have changed the barbarous laws for woman in many of the States, and brought them into harmony with the higher civilization in which we live.

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