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  • 1898
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grow out of the inequality of the marriage laws, that rob the wife of the right to herself and her children; that make her the slave of the man she marries. I hope, therefore, the resolutions will be allowed to go out to the public; that there may be a fair report of the ideas which have actually been presented here; that they may not be left to the mercy of the secular press, I trust the convention will not vote to forbid the publication of those resolutions with the proceedings.”

Rev. William Hoisington (the blind preacher) followed Miss Anthony, and said: “Publish all that you have done here, and let the public know it.”

The question was then put, on the motion of Mr. Phillips, and it was lost.

As Mr. Greeley, in commenting on the convention, took the same ground with Mr. Phillips, that the laws on marriage and divorce were equal for man and woman, I answered them in the following letter to the New York _Tribune_.

“_To the Editor of the New York Tribune_:

“Sir: At our recent National Woman’s Rights Convention many were surprised to hear Wendell Phillips object to the question of marriage and divorce as irrelevant to our platform. He said: ‘We had no right to discuss here any laws or customs but those where inequality existed for the sexes; that the laws on marriage and divorce rested equally on man and woman; that he suffers, as much as she possibly could, the wrongs and abuses of an ill-assorted marriage.’

“Now it must strike every careful thinker that an immense difference rests in the fact that man has made the laws cunningly and selfishly for his own purpose. From Coke down to Kent, who can cite one clause of the marriage contract where woman has the advantage? When man suffers from false legislation he has his remedy in his own hands. Shall woman be denied the right of protest against laws in which she had no voice; laws which outrage the holiest affections of her nature; laws which transcend the limits of human legislation, in a convention called for the express purpose of considering her wrongs? He might as well object to a protest against the injustice of hanging a woman, because capital punishment bears equally on man and woman.

“The contract of marriage is by no means equal. The law permits the girl to marry at twelve years of age, while it requires several years more of experience on the part of the boy. In entering this compact, the man gives up nothing that he before possessed, he is a man still; while the legal existence of the woman is suspended during marriage, and, henceforth, she is known but in and through the husband. She is nameless, purseless, childless–though a woman, an heiress, and a mother.

“Blackstone says: ‘The husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband.’ Chancellor Kent, in his ‘Commentaries’ says: ‘The legal effects of marriage are generally deducible from the principle of the common law, by which the husband and wife are regarded as one person, and her legal existence and authority lost or suspended during the continuance of the matrimonial union.’

“The wife is regarded by all legal authorities as a _feme covert_, placed wholly _sub potestate viri_. Her moral responsibility, even, is merged in her husband. The law takes it for granted that the wife lives in fear of her husband; that his command is her highest law; hence a wife is not punishable for the theft committed in the presence of her husband. An unmarried woman can make contracts, sue and be sued, enjoy the rights of property, to her inheritance–to her wages–to her person–to her children; but, in marriage, she is robbed by law of all and every natural and civil right. Kent further says: ‘The disability of the wife to contract, so as to bind herself, arises not from want of discretion, but because she has entered into an indissoluble connection by which she is placed under the power and protection of her husband.’ She is possessed of certain rights until she is married; then all are suspended, to revive, again, the moment the breath goes out of the husband’s body. (See ‘Cowen’s Treatise,’ vol. 2, p. 709.)

“If the contract be equal, whence come the terms ‘marital power,’ ‘marital rights,’ ‘obedience and restraint,’ ‘dominion and control,’ ‘power and protection,’ etc., etc.? Many cases are stated, showing the exercise of a most questionable power over the wife, sustained by the courts. (See ‘Bishop on Divorce,’ p. 489.)

“The laws on divorce are quite as unequal as those on marriage; yea, far more so. The advantages seem to be all on one side and the penalties on the other. In case of divorce, if the husband be not the guilty party, the wife goes out of the partnership penniless. (Kent, vol. 2, p. 33; ‘Bishop on Divorce,’ p. 492.)

“In New York, and some other States, the wife of the guilty husband can now sue for a divorce in her own name, and the costs come out of the husband’s estate; but, in the majority of the States, she is still compelled to sue in the name of another, as she has no means for paying costs, even though she may have brought her thousands into the partnership. ‘The allowance to the innocent wife of _ad interim_ alimony and money to sustain the suit, is not regarded as a strict right in her, but of sound discretion in the court.’ (‘Bishop on Divorce,’ p. 581.)

“‘Many jurists,’ says Kent, ‘are of opinion that the adultery of the husband ought not to be noticed or made subject to the same animadversions as that of the wife, because it is not evidence of such entire depravity nor equally injurious in its effects upon the morals, good order, and happiness of the domestic life. Montesquieu, Pothier, and Dr. Taylor all insist that the cases of husband and wife ought to be distinguished, and that the violation of the marriage vow, on the part of the wife, is the most mischievous, and the prosecution ought to be confined to the offense on her part. (“Esprit des Lois,” tom. 3, 186; “Traite du Contrat de Mariage,” No. 516; “Elements of Civil Law,” p. 254).’

“Say you, ‘These are but the opinions of men’? On what else, I ask, are the hundreds of women depending, who, this hour, demand in our courts a release from burdensome contracts? Are not these delicate matters left wholly to the discretion of courts? Are not young women from the first families dragged into our courts,–into assemblies of men exclusively,–the judges all men, the jurors all men? No true woman there to shield them, by her presence, from gross and impertinent questionings, to pity their misfortunes, or to protest against their wrongs?

“The administration of justice depends far more on the opinions of eminent jurists than on law alone, for law is powerless when at variance with public sentiment.

“Do not the above citations clearly prove inequality? Are not the very letter and spirit of the marriage contract based on the idea of the supremacy of man as the keeper of woman’s virtue–her sole protector and support? Out of marriage, woman asks nothing, at this hour, but the elective franchise. It is only in marriage that she must demand her right to person, children, property, wages, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can we discuss all the laws and conditions of marriage, without perceiving its essential essence, end, and aim? Now, whether the institution of marriage be human or divine, whether regarded as indissoluble by ecclesiastical courts or dissoluble by civil courts, woman, finding herself equally degraded in each and every phase of it, always the victim of the institution, it is her right and her duty to sift the relation and the compact through and through, until she finds out the true cause of her false position. How can we go before the legislatures of our respective States and demand new laws, or no laws, on divorce, until we have some idea of what the true relation is?

“We decide the whole question of slavery by settling the sacred rights of the individual. We assert that man cannot hold property in man, and reject the whole code of laws that conflicts with the self-evident truth of the assertion.

“Again, I ask, is it possible to discuss all the laws of a relation, and not touch the relation itself?

“Yours respectfully,

“Elizabeth Cady Stanton.”

The discussion on the question of marriage and divorce occupied one entire session of the convention, and called down on us severe criticisms from the metropolitan and State press. So alarming were the comments on what had been said that I began to feel that I had inadvertently taken out the underpinning from the social system. Enemies were unsparing in their denunciations, and friends ridiculed the whole proceeding. I was constantly called on for a definition of marriage and asked to describe home life as it would be when men changed their wives every Christmas. Letters and newspapers poured in upon me, asking all manner of absurd questions, until I often wept with vexation. So many things, that I had neither thought nor said, were attributed to me that, at times, I really doubted my own identity.

However, in the progress of events the excitement died away, the earth seemed to turn on its axis as usual, women were given in marriage, children were born, fires burned as brightly as ever at the domestic altars, and family life, to all appearances, was as stable as usual.

Public attention was again roused to this subject by the McFarland-Richardson trial, in which the former shot the latter, being jealous of his attentions to his wife. McFarland was a brutal, improvident husband, who had completely alienated his wife’s affections, while Mr. Richardson, who had long been a cherished acquaintance of the family, befriended the wife in the darkest days of her misery. She was a very refined, attractive woman, and a large circle of warm friends stood by her through the fierce ordeal of her husband’s trial.

Though McFarland did not deny that he killed Richardson, yet he was acquitted on the plea of insanity, and was, at the same time, made the legal guardian of his child, a boy, then, twelve years of age, and walked out of the court with him, hand in hand. What a travesty on justice and common sense that, while a man is declared too insane to be held responsible for taking the life of another, he might still be capable of directing the life and education of a child! And what an insult to that intelligent mother, who had devoted twelve years of her life to his care, while his worthless father had not provided for them the necessaries of life!

She married Mr. Richardson on his deathbed. The ceremony was performed by Henry Ward Beecher and Rev. O.B. Frothingham, while such men as Horace Greeley and Joshua Leavitt witnessed the solemn service. Though no shadow had ever dimmed Mrs. Richardson’s fair fame, yet she was rudely treated in the court and robbed of her child, though by far the most fitting parent to be intrusted with his care.

As the indignation among women was general and at white heat with regard to her treatment, Miss Anthony suggested to me, one day, that it would be a golden opportunity to give women a lesson on their helplessness under the law–wholly in the power of man as to their domestic relations, as well as to their civil and political rights. Accordingly we decided to hold some meetings, for women alone, to protest against the decision of this trial, the general conduct of the case, the tone of the press, and the laws that made it possible to rob a mother of her child.

Many ladies readily enlisted in the movement. I was invited to make the speech on the occasion, and Miss Anthony arranged for two great meetings, one in Apollo Hall, New York city, and one in the Academy of Music, in Brooklyn. The result was all that we could desire. Miss Anthony, with wonderful executive ability, made all the arrangements, taking on her own shoulders the whole financial responsibility.

My latest thought on this question I gave in _The Arena_ of April, 1894, from which I quote the following:

“There is a demand just now for an amendment to the United States Constitution that shall make the laws of marriage and divorce the same in all the States of the Union. As the suggestion comes uniformly from those who consider the present divorce laws too liberal, we may infer that the proposed national law is to place the whole question on a narrower basis, rendering null and void the laws that have been passed in a broader spirit, according to the needs and experiences, in certain sections, of the sovereign people. And here let us bear in mind that the widest possible law would not make divorce obligatory on anyone, while a restricted law, on the contrary, would compel many, marrying, perhaps, under more liberal laws, to remain in uncongenial relations.

“As we are still in the experimental stage on this question, we are not qualified to make a perfect law that would work satisfactorily over so vast an area as our boundaries now embrace. I see no evidence in what has been published on this question, of late, by statesmen, ecclesiastics, lawyers, and judges, that any of them have thought sufficiently on the subject to prepare a well-digested code, or a comprehensive amendment to the national Constitution. Some view it as a civil contract, though not governed by the laws of other contracts; some view it as a religious ordinance–a sacrament; some think it a relation to be regulated by the State, others by the Church, and still others think it should be left wholly to the individual. With this wide divergence of opinion among our leading minds, it is quite evident that we are not prepared for a national law.

“Moreover, as woman is the most important factor in the marriage relation, her enfranchisement is the primal step in deciding the basis of family life. Before public opinion on this question crystallizes into an amendment to the national Constitution, the wife and mother must have a voice in the governing power and must be heard, on this great problem, in the halls of legislation.

“There are many advantages in leaving all these questions, as now, to the States. Local self-government more readily permits of experiments on mooted questions, which are the outcome of the needs and convictions of the community. The smaller the area over which legislation extends, the more pliable are the laws. By leaving the States free to experiment in their local affairs, we can judge of the working of different laws under varying circumstances, and thus learn their comparative merits. The progress education has achieved in America is due to the fact that we have left our system of public instruction in the hands of local authorities. How different would be the solution of the great educational question of manual labor in the schools, if the matter had to be settled at Washington!

“The whole nation might find itself pledged to a scheme that a few years would prove wholly impracticable. Not only is the town meeting, as Emerson says, ‘the cradle of American liberties,’ but it is the nursery of Yankee experiment and wisdom. England, with its clumsy national code of education, making one inflexible standard of scholarship for the bright children of the manufacturing districts and the dull brains of the agricultural counties, should teach us a lesson as to the wisdom of keeping apart state and national government.

“Before we can decide the just grounds for divorce, we must get a clear idea of what constitutes marriage. In a true relation the chief object is the loving companionship of man and woman, their capacity for mutual help and happiness and for the development of all that is noblest in each other. The second object is the building up a home and family, a place of rest, peace, security, in which child-life can bud and blossom like flowers in the sunshine.

“The first step toward making the ideal the real, is to educate our sons and daughters into the most exalted ideas of the sacredness of married life and the responsibilities of parenthood. I would have them give, at least, as much thought to the creation of an immortal being as the artist gives to his landscape or statue. Watch him in his hours of solitude, communing with great Nature for days and weeks in all her changing moods, and when at last his dream of beauty is realized and takes a clearly defined form, behold how patiently he works through long months and years on sky and lake, on tree and flower; and when complete, it represents to him more love and life, more hope and ambition, than the living child at his side, to whose conception and antenatal development not one soulful thought was ever given. To this impressible period of human life, few parents give any thought; yet here we must begin to cultivate virtues that can alone redeem the world.

“The contradictory views in which woman is represented are as pitiful as varied. While the Magnificat to the Virgin is chanted in all our cathedrals round the globe on each returning Sabbath day, and her motherhood extolled by her worshipers, maternity for the rest of womankind is referred to as a weakness, a disability, a curse, an evidence of woman’s divinely ordained subjection. Yet surely the real woman should have some points of resemblance in character and position with the ideal one, whom poets, novelists, and artists portray.

“It is folly to talk of the sacredness of marriage and maternity, while the wife is practically regarded as an inferior, a subject, a slave. Having decided that companionship and conscientious parenthood are the only true grounds for marriage, if the relation brings out the worst characteristics of each party, or if the home atmosphere is unwholesome for children, is not the very _raison d’etre_ of the union wanting, and the marriage practically annulled? It cannot be called a holy relation,–no, not a desirable one,–when love and mutual respect are wanting. And let us bear in mind one other important fact: the lack of sympathy and content in the parents indicates radical physical unsuitability, which results in badly organized offspring. If, then, the real object of marriage is defeated, it is for the interest of the State, as well as the individual concerned, to see that all such pernicious unions be legally dissolved. Inasmuch, then, as incompatibility of temper defeats the two great objects of marriage, it should be the primal cause for divorce.

“The true standpoint from which to view this question is individual sovereignty, individual happiness. It is often said that the interests of society are paramount, and first to be considered. This was the Roman idea, the Pagan idea, that the individual was made for the State. The central idea of barbarism has ever been the family, the tribe, the nation–never the individual. But the great doctrine of Christianity is the right of individual conscience and judgment. The reason it took such a hold on the hearts of the people was because it taught that the individual was primary; the State, the Church, society, the family, secondary. However, a comprehensive view of any question of human interest, shows that the highest good and happiness of the individual and society lie in the same direction.

“The question of divorce, like marriage, should be settled, as to its most sacred relations, by the parties themselves; neither the State nor the Church having any right to intermeddle therein. As to property and children, it must be viewed and regulated as a civil contract. Then the union should be dissolved with at least as much deliberation and publicity as it was formed. There might be some ceremony and witnesses to add to the dignity and solemnity of the occasion. Like the Quaker marriage, which the parties conduct themselves, so, in this case, without any statement of their disagreements, the parties might simply declare that, after living together for several years, they found themselves unsuited to each other, and incapable of making a happy home.

“If divorce were made respectable, and recognized by society as a duty, as well as a right, reasonable men and women could arrange all the preliminaries, often, even, the division of property and guardianship of children, quite as satisfactorily as it could be done in the courts. Where the mother is capable of training the children, a sensible father would leave them to her care rather than place them in the hands of a stranger.

“But, where divorce is not respectable, men who have no paternal feeling will often hold the child, not so much for its good or his own affection, as to punish the wife for disgracing him. The love of children is not strong in most men, and they feel but little responsibility in regard to them. See how readily they turn off young sons to shift for themselves, and, unless the law compelled them to support their illegitimate children, they would never give them a second thought. But on the mother-soul rest forever the care and responsibility of human life. Her love for the child born out of wedlock is often intensified by the infinite pity she feels through its disgrace. Even among the lower animals we find the female ever brooding over the young and helpless.

“Limiting the causes of divorce to physical defects or delinquencies; making the proceedings public; prying into all the personal affairs of unhappy men and women; regarding the step as quasi criminal; punishing the guilty party in the suit; all this will not strengthen frail human nature, will not insure happy homes, will not banish scandals and purge society of prostitution.

“No, no; the enemy of marriage, of the State, of society is not liberal divorce laws, but the unhealthy atmosphere that exists in the home itself. A legislative act cannot make a unit of a divided family.”



On April 15, 1861, the President of the United States called out seventy-five thousand militia, and summoned Congress to meet July 4, when four hundred thousand men were called for, and four hundred millions of dollars were voted to suppress the Rebellion.

These startling events roused the entire people, and turned the current of their thoughts in new directions. While the nation’s life hung in the balance, and the dread artillery of war drowned, alike, the voices of commerce, politics, religion, and reform, all hearts were filled with anxious forebodings, all hands were busy in solemn preparations for the awful tragedies to come.

At this eventful hour the patriotism of woman shone forth as fervently and spontaneously as did that of man; and her self-sacrifice and devotion were displayed in as many varied fields of action. While he buckled on his knapsack and marched forth to conquer the enemy, she planned the campaigns which brought the nation victory; fought in the ranks, when she could do so without detection; inspired the sanitary commission; gathered needed supplies for the grand army; provided nurses for the hospitals; comforted the sick; smoothed the pillows of the dying; inscribed the last messages of lave to those far away; and marked the resting places where the brave men fell. The labor women accomplished, the hardships they endured, the time and strength they sacrificed in the War that summoned three million men to arms, can never be fully appreciated.

Indeed, we may safely say that there is scarcely a loyal woman in the North who did not do something in aid of the cause; who did not contribute time, labor, and money to the comfort of our soldiers and the success of our arms. The story of the War will never be fully written if the achievements of women are left untold. They do not figure in the official reports; they are not gazetted for gallant deeds; the names of thousands are unknown beyond the neighborhood where they lived, or the hospitals where they loved to labor; yet there is no feature in our War more creditable to us as a nation, none from its positive newness so well worthy of record.

While the mass of women never philosophize on the principles that underlie national existence, there were those in our late War who understood the political significance of the struggle; the “irrepressible conflict” between freedom and slavery, between National and State rights. They saw that to provide lint, bandages, and supplies for the army, while the War was not conducted on a wise policy, was to labor in vain; and while many organizations, active, vigilant, and self-sacrificing, were multiplied to look after the material wants of the army, these few formed themselves into a National Loyal League, to teach sound principles of government and to impress on the nation’s conscience that freedom for the slaves was the only way to victory. Accustomed, as most women had been to works of charity and to the relief of outward suffering, it was difficult to rouse their enthusiasm for an idea, to persuade them to labor for a principle. They clamored for practical work, something for their hands to do; for fairs and sewing societies to raise money for soldier’s families, for tableaux, readings, theatricals–anything but conventions to discuss principles and to circulate petitions for emancipation. They could not see that the best service they could render the army was to suppress the Rebellion, and that the most effective way to accomplish that was to transform the slaves into soldiers. This Woman’s Loyal League voiced the solemn lessons of the War: Liberty to all; national protection for every citizen under our flag; universal suffrage, and universal amnesty.

After consultation with Horace Greeley, William Lloyd Garrison, Governor Andrews, and Robert Dale Owen, Miss Anthony and I decided to call a meeting of women in Cooper Institute and form a Woman’s Loyal League, to advocate the immediate emancipation and enfranchisement of the Southern slaves, as the most speedy way of ending the War, so we issued, in tract form, and extensively circulated the following call:

“In this crisis of our country’s destiny, it is the duty of every citizen to consider the peculiar blessings of a republican form of government, and decide what sacrifices of wealth and life are demanded for its defense and preservation. The policy of the War, our whole future life, depend on a clearly defined idea of the end proposed and the immense advantages to be secured to ourselves and all mankind by its accomplishment. No mere party or sectional cry, no technicalities of constitutional or military law, no mottoes of craft or policy are big enough to touch the great heart of a nation in the midst of revolution. A grand idea–such as freedom or justice–is needful to kindle and sustain the fires of a high enthusiasm.

“At this hour, the best word and work of every man and woman are imperatively demanded. To man, by common consent, are assigned the forum, camp, and field. What is woman’s legitimate work and how she may best accomplish it, is worthy our earnest counsel one with another. We have heard many complaints of the lack of enthusiasm, among Northern women; but when a mother lays her son on the altar of her country, she asks an object equal to the sacrifice. In nursing the sick and wounded, knitting socks, scraping lint, and making jellies the bravest and best may weary if the thoughts mount not in faith to something beyond and above it all. Work is worship only when a noble purpose fills the soul. Woman is equally interested and responsible with man in the final settlement of this problem of self-government; therefore let none stand idle spectators now. When every hour is big with destiny, and each delay but complicates our difficulties, it is high time for the daughters of the Revolution, in solemn council, to unseal the last will and testaments of the fathers, lay hold of their birthright of freedom, and keep it a sacred trust for all coming generations.

“To this end we ask the Loyal Women of the Nation to meet in the Church of the Puritans (Dr. Cheever’s), New York, on Thursday, the 14th of May next.

“Let the women of every State be largely represented in person or by letter.

“On behalf of the Woman’s Central Committee,

“Elizabeth Cady Stanton,

“Susan B. Anthony.”

Among other resolutions adopted at the meeting were the following:

“_Resolved_, There never can be a true peace in this Republic until the civil and political rights of all citizens of African descent and all women are practically established.

“_Resolved_, That the women of the Revolution were not wanting in heroism and self-sacrifice, and we, their daughters, are ready, in this War, to pledge our time, our means, our talents, and our lives, if need be, to secure the final and complete consecration of America to freedom.”

It was agreed that the practical work to be done to secure freedom for the slaves was to circulate petitions through all the Northern States. For months these petitions were circulated diligently everywhere, as the signatures show–some signed on fence posts, plows, the anvil, the shoemaker’s bench–by women of fashion and those in the industries, alike in the parlor and the kitchen; by statesmen, professors in colleges, editors, bishops; by sailors, and soldiers, and the hard-handed children of toil, building railroads and bridges, and digging canals, and in mines in the bowels of the earth. Petitions, signed by three hundred thousand persons, can now be seen in the national archives in the Capitol at Washington. Three of my sons spent weeks in our office in Cooper Institute, rolling up the petitions from each State separately, and inscribing on the outside the number of names of men and women contained therein. We sent appeals to the President the House of Representatives, and the Senate, from time to time, urging emancipation and the passage of the proposed Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the National Constitution. During these eventful months we received many letters from Senator Sumner, saying, “Send on the petitions as fast as received; they give me opportunities for speech.”

Robert Dale Owen, chairman of the Freedman’s Commission, was most enthusiastic in the work of the Loyal League, and came to our rooms frequently to suggest new modes of agitation and to give us an inkling of what was going on behind the scenes in Washington. Those who had been specially engaged in the Woman Suffrage movement suspended their conventions during the war, and gave their time and thought wholly to the vital issues of the hour. Seeing the political significance of the war, they urged the emancipation of the slaves as the sure, quick way of cutting the Gordian knot of the Rebellion. To this end they organized a national league, and rolled up a mammoth petition, urging Congress so to amend the Constitution as to prohibit the existence of slavery in the United States. From their headquarters in Cooper Institute, New York city, they sent out the appeals to the President, Congress, and the people at large; tracts and forms of petition, franked by members of Congress, were scattered like snowflakes from Maine to Texas. Meetings were held every week, in which the policy of the Government was freely discussed, and approved or condemned.

That this League did a timely educational work is manifested by the letters received from generals, statesmen, editors, and from women in most of the Northern States, fully indorsing its action and principles. The clearness to thinking women of the cause of the War; the true policy in waging it; their steadfastness in maintaining the principles of freedom, are worthy of consideration. With this League abolitionists and Republicans heartily co-operated. A course of lectures was delivered for its benefit in Cooper Institute, by such men as Horace Greeley, George William Curtis, William D. Kelly, Wendell Phillips, E.P. Whipple, Frederick Douglass, Theodore D. Weld, Rev. Dr. Tyng, and Dr. Bellows. Many letters are on its files from Charles Sumner, approving its measures, and expressing great satisfaction at the large number of emancipation petitions being rolled into Congress. The Republican press, too, was highly complimentary. The New York Tribune said: “The women of the Loyal League have shown great practical wisdom in restricting their efforts to one subject, the most important which any society can aim at in this hour, and great courage in undertaking to do what never has been done in the world before, to obtain one million of names to a petition.”

The leading journals vied with each other in praising the patience and prudence, the executive ability, the loyalty, and the patriotism of the women of the League, and yet these were the same women who, when demanding civil and political rights, privileges, and immunities for themselves, had been uniformly denounced as “unwise,” “imprudent,” “fanatical,” and “impracticable.” During the six years they held their own claims in abeyance to those of the slaves of the South, and labored to inspire the people with enthusiasm for the great measures of the Republican party, they were highly honored as “wise, loyal, and clear-sighted.” But when the slaves were emancipated, and these women asked that they should be recognized in the reconstruction as citizens of the Republic, equal before the law, all these transcendent virtues vanished like dew before the morning sun. And thus it ever is: so long as woman labors to second man’s endeavors and exalt his sex above her own, her virtues pass unquestioned; but when she dares to demand rights and privileges for herself, her motives, manners, dress, personal appearance, and character are subjects for ridicule and detraction.

Liberty, victorious over slavery on the battlefield, had now more powerful enemies to encounter at Washington. The slaves set free, the master conquered, the South desolate; the two races standing face to face, sharing alike the sad results of war, turned with appealing looks to the general government, as if to say, “How stand we now?” “What next?” Questions our statesmen, beset with dangers, with fears for the nation’s life, of party divisions, of personal defeat, were wholly unprepared to answer. The reconstruction of the South involved the reconsideration of the fundamental principles of our Government and the natural rights of man. The nation’s heart was thrilled with prolonged debates in Congress and State legislatures, in the pulpits and public journals, and at every fireside on these vital questions, which took final shape in the three historic amendments to the Constitution.

The first point, his emancipation, settled, the political status of the negro was next in order; and to this end various propositions were submitted to Congress. But to demand his enfranchisement on the broad principle of natural rights was hedged about with difficulties, as the logical result of such action must be the enfranchisement of all ostracized classes; not only the white women of the entire country, but the slave women of the South. Though our senators and representatives had an honest aversion to any proscriptive legislation against loyal women, in view of their varied and self-sacrificing work during the War, yet the only way they could open the constitutional door just wide enough to let the black man pass in was to introduce the word “male” into the national Constitution. After the generous devotion of such women as Anna Carroll and Anna Dickinson in sustaining the policy of the Republicans, both in peace and war, they felt it would come with a bad grace from that party to place new barriers in woman’s path to freedom. But how could the amendment be written without the word “male,” was the question.

Robert Dale Owen being at Washington, and behind the scenes at the time, sent copies of the various bills to the officers of the Loyal League, in New York, and related to us some of the amusing discussions. One of the committee proposed “persons” instead of “males.” “That will never do,” said another, “it would enfranchise wenches.” “Suffrage for black men will be all the strain the Republican party can stand,” said another. Charles Sumner said, years afterward, that he wrote over nineteen pages of foolscap to get rid of the word “male” and yet keep “negro suffrage” as a party measure intact; but it could not be done.

Miss Anthony and I were the first to see the full significance of the word “male” in the Fourteenth Amendment, and we at once sounded the alarm, and sent out petitions for a constitutional amendment to “prohibit the States from disfranchising any of their citizens on the ground of sex.” Miss Anthony, who had spent the year in Kansas, started for New York the moment she saw the proposition before Congress to put the word “male” into the national Constitution, and made haste to rouse the women in the East to the fact that the time had come to begin vigorous work again for woman’s enfranchisement.

Leaving Rochester, October 11, she called on Martha Wright at Auburn; Phebe Jones and Lydia Mott at Albany; Mmes. Rose, Gibbons, Davis, at New York city; Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown Blackwell in New Jersey; Stephen and Abby Foster at Worcester; Mmes. Severance, Dall, Nowell, Dr. Harriet K. Hunt, Dr. M.E. Zackesewska, and Messrs. Phillips and Garrison in Boston, urging them to join in sending protests to Washington against the pending legislation. Mr. Phillips at once consented to devote five hundred dollars from the “Jackson Fund” to commence the work. Miss Anthony and I spent all our Christmas holidays in writing letters and addressing appeals and petitions to every part of the country, and, before the close of the session of 1865-66, petitions with ten thousand signatures were poured into Congress.

One of my letters was as follows:

“_To the Editor of the Standard_:

“Sir: Mr. Broomall of Pennsylvania, Mr. Schenck of Ohio, Mr. Jenckes of Rhode Island, and Mr. Stevens of Pennsylvania, have each a resolution before Congress to amend the Constitution.

“Article First, Section Second, reads thus: ‘Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers.’

“Mr. Broomall proposes to amend by saying, ‘male electors’; Mr. Schenck,’male citizens’; Mr. Jenckes, ‘male citizens’; Mr. Stevens, ‘male voters,’ as, in process of time, women may be made ‘legal voters’ in the several States, and would then meet that requirement of the Constitution. But those urged by the other gentlemen, neither time, effort, nor State Constitutions could enable us to meet, unless, by a liberal interpretation of the amendment, a coat of mail to be worn at the polls might be judged all-sufficient. Mr. Jenckes and Mr. Schenck, in their bills, have the grace not to say a word about taxes, remembering, perhaps, that ‘taxation without representation is tyranny.’ But Mr. Broomall, though unwilling that we should share in the honors of government, would fain secure us a place in its burdens; for, while he apportions representatives to “male electors” only, he admits “all the inhabitants” into the rights, privileges, and immunities of taxation. Magnanimous M.C.!

“I would call the attention of the women of the nation to the fact that, under the Federal Constitution, as it now exists, there is not one word that limits the right of suffrage to any privileged class. This attempt to turn the wheels of civilization backward, on the part of Republicans claiming to be the liberal party, should rouse every woman in the nation to a prompt exercise of the only right she has in the Government, the right of petition. To this end a committee in New York have sent out thousands of petitions, which should be circulated in every district and sent to its representative at Washington as soon as possible.

“Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

“New York, January 2, 1866.”



In 1867 the proposition to extend the suffrage to women and to colored men was submitted to the people of the State of Kansas, and, among other Eastern speakers, I was invited to make a campaign through the State. As the fall elections were pending, there was great excitement everywhere. Suffrage for colored men was a Republican measure, which the press and politicians of that party advocated with enthusiasm.

As woman suffrage was not a party question, we hoped that all parties would favor the measure; that we might, at last, have one green spot on earth where women could enjoy full liberty as citizens of the United States. Accordingly, in July, Miss Anthony and I started, with high hopes of a most successful trip, and, after an uneventful journey of one thousand five hundred miles, we reached the sacred soil where John Brown and his sons had helped to fight the battles that made Kansas a free State.

Lucy Stone, Mr. Blackwell, and Olympia Brown had preceded us and opened the campaign with large meetings in all the chief cities. Miss Anthony and I did the same. Then it was decided that, as we were to go to the very borders of the State, where there were no railroads, we must take carriages, and economize our forces by taking different routes. I was escorted by ex-Governor Charles Robinson. We had a low, easy carriage, drawn by two mules, in which we stored about a bushel of tracts, two valises, a pail for watering the mules, a basket of apples, crackers, and other such refreshments as we could purchase on the way. Some things were suspended underneath the carriage, some packed on behind, and some under the seat and at our feet. It required great skill to compress the necessary baggage into the allotted space. As we went to the very verge of civilization, wherever two dozen voters could be assembled, we had a taste of pioneer life. We spoke in log cabins, in depots, unfinished schoolhouses, churches, hotels, barns, and in the open air.

I spoke in a large mill one night. A solitary tallow candle shone over my head like a halo of glory; a few lanterns around the outskirts of the audience made the darkness perceptible; but all I could see of my audience was the whites of their eyes in the dim distance. People came from twenty miles around to these meetings, held either in the morning, afternoon, or evening, as was most convenient.

As the regular State election was to take place in the coming November, the interest increased from week to week, until the excitement of the people knew no bounds. There were speakers for and against every proposition before the people. This involved frequent debates on all the general principles of government, and thus a great educational work was accomplished, which is one of the advantages of our frequent elections.

The friends of woman suffrage were doomed to disappointment. Those in the East, on whom they relied for influence through the liberal newspapers, were silent, and we learned, afterward, that they used what influence they had to keep the abolitionists and Republicans of the State silent, as they feared the discussion of the woman question would jeopardize the enfranchisement of the black man. However, we worked untiringly and hopefully, not seeing through the game of the politicians until nearly the end of the canvass, when we saw that our only chance was in getting the Democratic vote. Accordingly, George Francis Train, then a most effective and popular speaker, was invited into the State to see what could be done to win the Democracy. He soon turned the tide, strengthened the weak-kneed Republicans and abolitionists, and secured a large Democratic vote.

For three months we labored diligently, day after day, enduring all manner of discomforts in traveling, eating, and sleeping. As there were no roads or guide-posts, we often lost our way. In going through canons and fording streams it was often so dark that the Governor was obliged to walk ahead to find the way, taking off his coat so that I could see his white shirt and slowly drive after him. Though seemingly calm and cool, I had a great dread of these night adventures, as I was in constant fear of being upset on some hill and rolled into the water. The Governor often complimented me on my courage, when I was fully aware of being tempest-tossed with anxiety. I am naturally very timid, but, being silent under strong emotions of either pleasure or pain, I am credited with being courageous in the hour of danger.

For days, sometimes, we could find nothing at a public table that we could eat. Then passing through a little settlement we could buy dried herring, crackers, gum arabic, and slippery elm; the latter, we were told, was very nutritious. We frequently sat down to a table with bacon floating in grease, coffee without milk, sweetened with sorghum, and bread or hot biscuit, green with soda, while vegetables and fruit were seldom seen. Our nights were miserable, owing to the general opinion among pioneers that a certain species of insect must necessarily perambulate the beds in a young civilization. One night, after traveling over prairies all day, eating nothing but what our larder provided, we saw a light in a cottage in the distance which seemed to beckon to us. Arriving, we asked the usual question,–if we could get a night’s lodging,–to which the response was inevitably a hearty, hospitable “Yes.” One survey of the premises showed me what to look for in the way of midnight companionship, so I said to the Governor, “I will resign in your favor the comforts provided for me to-night, and sleep in the carriage, as you do so often.” I persisted against all the earnest persuasions of our host, and in due time I was ensconced for the night, and all about the house was silent.

I had just fallen into a gentle slumber, when a chorus of pronounced grunts and a spasmodic shaking of the carriage revealed to me the fact that I was surrounded by those long-nosed black pigs, so celebrated for their courage and pertinacity. They had discovered that the iron steps of the carriage made most satisfactory scratching posts, and each one was struggling for his turn. This scratching suggested fleas. Alas! thought I, before morning I shall be devoured. I was mortally tired and sleepy, but I reached for the whip and plied it lazily from side to side; but I soon found nothing but a constant and most vigorous application of the whip could hold them at bay one moment. I had heard that this type of pig was very combative when thwarted in its desires, and they seemed in such sore need of relief that I thought there was danger of their jumping into the carriage and attacking me. This thought was more terrifying than that of the fleas, so I decided to go to sleep and let them alone to scratch at their pleasure. I had a sad night of it, and never tried the carriage again, though I had many equally miserable experiences within four walls.

After one of these border meetings we stopped another night with a family of two bachelor brothers and two spinster sisters. The home consisted of one large room, not yet lathed and plastered. The furniture included a cooking stove, two double beds in remote corners, a table, a bureau, a washstand, and six wooden chairs. As it was late, there was no fire in the stove and no suggestion of supper, so the Governor and I ate apples and chewed slippery elm before retiring to dream of comfortable beds and well-spread tables in the near future.

The brothers resigned their bed to me just as it was. I had noticed that there was no ceremonious changing of bed linen under such circumstances, so I had learned to nip all fastidious notions of individual cleanliness in the bud, and to accept the inevitable. When the time arrived for retiring, the Governor and the brothers went out to make astronomical observations or smoke, as the case might be, while the sisters and I made our evening toilet, and disposed ourselves in the allotted corners. That done, the stalwart sons of Adam made their beds with skins and blankets on the floor. When all was still and darkness reigned, I reviewed the situation with a heavy heart, seeing that I was bound to remain a prisoner in the corner all night, come what might. I had just congratulated myself on my power of adaptability to circumstances, when I suddenly started with an emphatic “What is that?” A voice from the corner asked, “Is your bed comfortable?” “Oh, yes,” I replied, “but I thought I felt a mouse run over my head.” “Well,” said the voice from the corner, “I should not wonder. I have heard such squeaking from that corner during the past week that I told sister there must be a mouse nest in that bed.” A confession she probably would not have made unless half asleep. This announcement was greeted with suppressed laughter from the floor. But it was no laughing matter to me. Alas! what a prospect–to have mice running over one all night. But there was no escape. The sisters did not offer to make any explorations, and, in my fatigue costume, I could not light a candle and make any on my own account. The house did not afford an armchair in which I could sit up. I could not lie on the floor, and the other bed was occupied. Fortunately, I was very tired and soon fell asleep. What the mice did the remainder of the night I never knew, so deep were my slumbers. But, as my features were intact, and my facial expression as benign as usual next morning, I inferred that their gambols had been most innocently and decorously conducted. These are samples of many similar experiences which we encountered during the three months of those eventful travels.

Heretofore my idea had been that pioneer life was a period of romantic freedom. When the long, white-covered wagons, bound for the far West, passed by, I thought of the novelty of a six-months’ journey through the bright spring and summer days in a house on wheels, meals under shady trees and beside babbling brooks, sleeping in the open air, and finding a home, at last, where land was cheap, the soil rich and deep, and where the grains, vegetables, fruit, and flowers grew bountifully with but little toil. But a few months of pioneer life permanently darkened my rosy ideal of the white-covered wagon, the charming picnics by the way, and the paradise at last. I found many of these adventurers in unfinished houses and racked with malaria; in one case I saw a family of eight, all ill with chills and fever. The house was half a mile from the spring water on which they depended and from which those best able, from day to day, carried the needed elixir to others suffering with the usual thirst. Their narrations of all the trials of the long journey were indeed heartrending.

In one case a family of twelve left their comfortable farm in Illinois, much against the earnest protests of the mother; she having ten children, the youngest a baby then in her arms. All their earthly possessions were stored in three wagons, and the farm which the mother owned was sold before they commenced their long and perilous journey. There was no reason for going except that the husband had the Western fever. They were doing well in Illinois, on a large farm within two miles of a village, but he had visions of a bonanza near the setting sun. Accordingly they started. At the end of one month the baby died. A piece of wood from the cradle was all they had to mark its lonely resting place. With sad hearts they went on, and, in a few weeks, with grief for her child, her old home, her kindred and friends, the mother also died. She, too, was left alone on the far-off prairies, and the sad pageant moved on. Another child soon shared the same fate, and then a span of horses died, and one wagon, with all the things they could most easily spare, was abandoned. Arrived at their destination none of the golden dreams was realized. The expensive journey, the struggles in starting under new circumstances, and the loss of the mother’s thrift and management, made the father so discouraged and reckless that much of his property was wasted, and his earthly career was soon ended. Through the heroic energy and good management of the eldest daughter, the little patrimony, in time, was doubled, and the children well brought up and educated in the rudiments of learning, so that all became respectable members of society. Her advice to all young people is, if you are comfortably established in the East, stay there. There is no royal road to wealth and ease, even in the Western States!

In spite of the discomforts we suffered in the Kansas campaign, I was glad of the experience. It gave me added self-respect to know that I could endure such hardships and fatigue with a great degree of cheerfulness. The Governor and I often laughed heartily, as we patiently chewed our gum arabic and slippery elm, to think on what a gentle stimulus we were accomplishing such wonderful feats as orators and travelers. It was fortunate our intense enthusiasm for the subject gave us all the necessary inspiration, as the supplies we gathered by the way were by no means sufficiently invigorating for prolonged propagandism.

I enjoyed these daily drives over the vast prairies, listening to the Governor’s descriptions of the early days when the “bushwhackers and jayhawkers” made their raids on the inhabitants of the young free State. The courage and endurance of the women, surrounded by dangers and discomforts, surpassed all description. I count it a great privilege to have made the acquaintance of so many noble women and men who had passed through such scenes and conquered such difficulties. They seemed to live in an atmosphere altogether beyond their surroundings. Many educated families from New England, disappointed in not finding the much talked of bonanzas, were living in log cabins, in solitary places, miles from any neighbors. But I found Emerson, Parker, Holmes, Hawthorne, Whittier, and Lowell on their bookshelves to gladden their leisure hours.

Miss Anthony and I often comforted ourselves mid adverse winds with memories of the short time we spent under Mother Bickerdyke’s hospitable roof at Salina. There we had clean, comfortable beds, delicious viands, and everything was exquisitely neat. She entertained us with her reminiscences of the War. With great self-denial she had served her country in camp and hospital, and was with Sherman’s army in that wonderful march to the sea, and here we found her on the outpost of civilization, determined to start what Kansas most needed–a good hotel. But alas! it was too good for that latitude and proved a financial failure. It was, to us, an oasis in the desert, where we would gladly have lingered if the opposition would have come to us for conversion. But, as we had to carry the gospel of woman’s equality into the highways and hedges, we left dear Mother Bickerdyke with profound regret. The seed sown in Kansas in 1867 is now bearing its legitimate fruits. There was not a county in the State where meetings were not held or tracts scattered with a generous hand. If the friends of our cause in the East had been true and had done for woman what they did for the colored man, I believe both propositions would have been carried; but with a narrow policy, playing off one against the other, both were defeated. A policy of injustice always bears its own legitimate fruit in failure.

However, women learned one important lesson–namely, that it is impossible for the best of men to understand women’s feelings or the humiliation of their position. When they asked us to be silent on our question during the War, and labor for the emancipation of the slave, we did so, and gave five years to his emancipation and enfranchisement. To this proposition my friend, Susan B. Anthony, never consented, but was compelled to yield because no one stood with her. I was convinced, at the time, that it was the true policy. I am now equally sure that it was a blunder, and, ever since, I have taken my beloved Susan’s judgment against the world. I have always found that, when we see eye to eye, we are sure to be right, and when we pull together we are strong. After we discuss any point together and fully agree, our faith in our united judgment is immovable and no amount of ridicule and opposition has the slightest influence, come from what quarter it may.

Together we withstood the Republicans and abolitionists, when, a second time, they made us the most solemn promises of earnest labor for our enfranchisement, when the slaves were safe beyond a peradventure. They never redeemed their promise made during the War, hence, when they urged us to silence in the Kansas campaign, we would not for a moment entertain the proposition. The women generally awoke to their duty to themselves. They had been deceived once and could not be again. If the leaders in the Republican and abolition camps could deceive us, whom could we trust?

Again we were urged to be silent on our rights, when the proposition to take the word “white” out of the New York Constitution was submitted to a vote of the people of the State, or, rather, to one-half the people, as women had no voice in the matter. Again we said “No, no, gentlemen! if the ‘white’ comes out of the Constitution, let the ‘male’ come out also. Women have stood with the negro, thus far, on equal ground as ostracized classes, outside the political paradise; and now, when the door is open, it is but fair that we both should enter and enjoy all the fruits of citizenship. Heretofore ranked with idiots, lunatics, and criminals in the Constitution, the negro has been the only respectable compeer we had; so pray do not separate us now for another twenty years, ere the constitutional door will again be opened.”

We were persistently urged to give all our efforts to get the word “white” out, and thus secure the enfranchisement of the colored man, as that, they said, would prepare the way for us to follow. Several editors threatened that, unless we did so, their papers should henceforth do their best to defeat every measure we proposed. But we were deaf alike to persuasions and threats, thinking it wiser to labor for women, constituting, as they did, half the people of the State, rather than for a small number of colored men; who, viewing all things from the same standpoint as white men, would be an added power against us.

The question settled in Kansas, we returned, with George Francis Train, to New York. He offered to pay all the expenses of the journey and meetings in all the chief cities on the way, and see that we were fully and well reported in their respective journals. After prolonged consultation Miss Anthony and I thought best to accept the offer and we did so. Most of our friends thought it a grave blunder, but the result proved otherwise. Mr. Train was then in his prime–a large, fine-looking man, a gentleman in dress and manner, neither smoking, chewing, drinking, nor gormandizing. He was an effective speaker and actor, as one of his speeches, which he illustrated, imitating the poor wife at the washtub and the drunken husband reeling in, fully showed. He gave his audience charcoal sketches of everyday life rather than argument. He always pleased popular audiences, and even the most fastidious were amused with his caricatures. As the newspapers gave several columns to our meetings at every point through all the States, the agitation was widespread and of great value. To be sure our friends, on all sides, fell off, and those especially who wished us to be silent on the question of woman’s rights, declared “the cause too sacred to be advocated by such a charlatan as George Francis Train.” We thought otherwise, as the accession of Mr. Train increased the agitation twofold. If these fastidious ladies and gentlemen had come out to Kansas and occupied the ground and provided “the sinews of war,” there would have been no field for Mr. Train’s labors, and we should have accepted their services. But, as the ground was unoccupied, he had, at least, the right of a reform “squatter” to cultivate the cardinal virtues and reap a moral harvest wherever he could.

Reaching New York, Mr. Train made it possible for us to establish a newspaper, which gave another impetus to our movement. The _Revolution_, published by Susan B. Anthony and edited by Parker Pillsbury and myself, lived two years and a half and was then consolidated with the New York _Christian Enquirer_, edited by the Rev. Henry Bellows, D.D. I regard the brief period in which I edited the _Revolution_ as one of the happiest of my life, and I may add the most useful. In looking over the editorials I find but one that I sincerely regret, and that was a retort on Mr. Garrison, written under great provocation, but not by me, which circumstances, at the time, forbade me to disown. Considering the pressure brought to bear on Miss Anthony and myself, I feel now that our patience and forbearance with our enemies in their malignant attacks on our good, name, which we never answered, were indeed marvelous.

We said at all times and on all other subjects just what we thought, and advertised nothing that we did not believe in. No advertisements of quack remedies appeared in our columns. One of our clerks once published a bread powder advertisement, which I did not see until the paper appeared; so, in the next number, I said, editorially, what I thought of it. I was alone in the office, one day, when a man blustered in. “Who,” said he, “runs this concern?” “You will find the names of the editors and publishers,” I replied, “on the editorial page.” “Are you one of them?” “I am,” I replied. “Well, do you know that I agreed to pay twenty dollars to have that bread powder advertised for one month, and then you condemn it editorially?” “I have nothing to do with the advertising; Miss Anthony pays me to say what I think.” “Have you any more thoughts to publish on that bread powder?” “Oh, yes,” I replied, “I have not exhausted the subject yet.” “Then,” said he, “I will have the advertisement taken out. What is there to pay for the one insertion?” “Oh, nothing,” I replied, “as the editorial probably did you more injury than the advertisement did you good.” On leaving, with prophetic vision, he said, “I prophesy a short life for this paper; the business world is based on quackery, and you cannot live without it.” With melancholy certainty, I replied, “I fear you are right.”



The Lyceum Bureau was, at one time, a great feature in American life. The three leading bureaus were in Boston, New York, and Chicago. The managers, map in hand, would lay out trips, more or less extensive according to the capacity or will of the speakers, and then, with a dozen or more victims in hand, make arrangements with the committees in various towns and cities to set them all in motion. As the managers of the bureaus had ten per cent. of what the speakers made, it was to their interest to keep the time well filled. Hence the engagements were made without the slightest reference to the comfort of the travelers. With our immense distances, it was often necessary to travel night and day, sometimes changing cars at midnight, and perhaps arriving at the destination half an hour or less before going on the platform, and starting again on the journey immediately upon leaving it. The route was always carefully written out, giving the time the trains started from and arrived at various points; but as cross trains often failed to connect, one traveled, guidebook in hand, in a constant fever of anxiety. As, in the early days, the fees were from one to two hundred dollars a night, the speakers themselves were desirous of accomplishing as much as possible.

In 1869 I gave my name, for the first time, to the New York Bureau, and on November 14 began the long, weary pilgrimages, from Maine to Texas, that lasted twelve years; speaking steadily for eight months–from October to June–every season. That was the heyday of the lecturing period, when a long list of bright men and women were constantly on the wing. Anna Dickinson, Olive Logan, Kate Field,–later, Mrs. Livermore and Mrs. Howe, Alcott, Phillips, Douglass, Tilton, Curtis, Beecher, and, several years later, General Kilpatrick, with Henry Vincent, Bradlaugh, and Matthew Arnold from England; these and many others were stars of the lecture platform.

Some of us occasionally managed to spend Sunday together, at a good hotel in some city, to rest and feast and talk over our joys and sorrows, the long journeys, the hard fare in the country hotels, the rainy nights when committees felt blue and tried to cut down our fees; the being compelled by inconsiderate people to talk on the train; the overheated, badly ventilated cars; the halls, sometimes too warm, sometimes too cold; babies crying in our audiences; the rain pattering on the roof overhead or leaking on the platform–these were common experiences. In the West, women with babies uniformly occupied the front seats so that the little ones, not understanding what you said, might be amused with your gestures and changing facial expression. All these things, so trying, at the time, to concentrated and enthusiastic speaking, afterward served as subjects of amusing conversation. We unanimously complained of the tea and coffee. Mrs. Livermore had the wisdom to carry a spirit lamp with her own tea and coffee, and thus supplied herself with the needed stimulants for her oratorical efforts. The hardships of these lyceum trips can never be appreciated except by those who have endured them. With accidents to cars and bridges, with floods and snow blockades, the pitfalls in one of these campaigns were without number.

[Illustration: ELIZABETH SMITH MILLER.] [Illustration]

On one occasion, when engaged to speak at Maquoketa, Iowa, I arrived at Lyons about noon, to find the road was blocked with snow, and no chance of the cars running for days. “Well,” said I to the landlord, “I must be at Maquoketa at eight o’clock to-night; have you a sleigh, a span of fleet horses, and a skillful driver? If so, I will go across the country.” “Oh, yes, madam!” he replied, “I have all you ask; but you could not stand a six-hours’ drive in this piercing wind.” Having lived in a region of snow, with the thermometer down to twenty degrees below zero, I had no fears of winds and drifts, so I said, “Get the sleigh ready and I will try it.” Accordingly I telegraphed the committee that I would be there, and started. I was well bundled up in a fur cloak and hood, a hot oak plank at my feet, and a thick veil over my head and face. As the landlord gave the finishing touch, by throwing a large buffalo robe over all and tying the two tails together at the back of my head and thus effectually preventing me putting my hand to my nose, he said, “There, if you can only sit perfectly still, you will come out all right at Maquoketa; that is, if you get there, which I very much doubt.” It was a long, hard drive against the wind and through drifts, but I scarcely moved a finger, and, as the clock struck eight, we drove into the town. The hall was warm, and the church bell having announced my arrival, a large audience was assembled. As I learned that all the roads in Northern Iowa were blocked, I made the entire circuit, from point to point, in a sleigh, traveling forty and fifty miles a day.

At the Sherman House, in Chicago, three weeks later, I met Mr. Bradlaugh and General Kilpatrick, who were advertised on the same route ahead of me. “Well,” said I, “where have you gentlemen been?” “Waiting here for the roads to be opened. We have lost three weeks’ engagements,” they replied. As the General was lecturing on his experiences in Sherman’s march to the sea, I chaffed him on not being able, in an emergency, to march across the State of Iowa. They were much astonished and somewhat ashamed, when I told them of my long, solitary drives over the prairies from day to day. It was the testimony of all the bureaus that the women could endure more fatigue and were more conscientious than the men in filling their appointments.

The pleasant feature of these trips was the great educational work accomplished for the people through their listening to lectures on all the vital questions of the hour. Wherever any of us chanced to be on Sunday, we preached in some church; and wherever I had a spare afternoon, I talked to women alone, on marriage, maternity, and the laws of life and health. We made many most charming acquaintances, too, scattered all over our Western World, and saw how comfortable and happy sensible people could be, living in most straitened circumstances, with none of the luxuries of life. If most housekeepers could get rid of one-half their clothes and furniture and put their bric-a-brac in the town museum, life would be simplified and they would begin to know what leisure means. When I see so many of our American women struggling to be artists, who cannot make a good loaf of bread nor a palatable cup of coffee, I think of what Theodore Parker said when art was a craze in Boston. “The fine arts do not interest me so much as the coarse arts which feed, clothe, house, and comfort a people. I would rather be a great man like Franklin than a Michael Angelo–nay, if I had a son, I should rather see him a mechanic, like the late George Stephenson, in England, than a great painter like Rubens, who only copied beauty.”

One day I found at the office of the _Revolution_ an invitation to meet Mrs. Moulton in the Academy of Music, where she was to try her voice for the coming concert for the benefit of the Woman’s Medical College. And what a voice for power, pathos, pliability! I never heard the like. Seated beside her mother, Mrs. W.H. Greenough, I enjoyed alike the mother’s anxious pride and the daughter’s triumph. I felt, as I listened, the truth of what Vieuxtemps said the first time he heard her, “That is the traditional voice for which the ages have waited and longed.” When, on one occasion, Mrs. Moulton sang a song of Mozart’s to Auber’s accompaniment, someone present asked, “What could be added to make this more complete?” Auber looked up to heaven, and, with a sweet smile, said, “Nothing but that Mozart should have been here to listen.” Looking and listening, “Here,” thought I, “is another jewel in the crown of womanhood, to radiate and glorify the lives of all.” I have such an intense pride of sex that the triumphs of woman in art, literature, oratory, science, or song rouse my enthusiasm as nothing else can.

Hungering, that day, for gifted women, I called on Alice and Phebe Cary and Mary Clemmer Ames, and together we gave the proud white male such a serving up as did our souls good and could not hurt him, intrenched, as he is, behind creeds, codes, customs, and constitutions, with vizor and breastplate of self-complacency and conceit. In criticising Jessie Boucherett’s essay on “Superfluous Women,” in which she advises men in England to emigrate in order to leave room and occupation for women, the _Tribune_ said: “The idea of a home without a man in it!” In visiting the Carys one always felt that there was a home–a very charming one, too–without a man in it.

Once when Harriet Beecher Stowe was at Dr. Taylor’s, I had the opportunity to make her acquaintance. In her sanctum, surrounded by books and papers, she was just finishing her second paper on the Byron family, and her sister Catherine was preparing papers on her educational work, preparatory to a coming meeting of the ladies of the school board. The women of the Beecher family, though most of them wives and mothers, all had a definite life-work outside the family circle, and other objects of intense interest beside husbands, babies, cook stoves, and social conversations. Catherine said she was opposed to woman suffrage, and if she thought there was the least danger of our getting it, she would write and talk against it vehemently. But, as the nation was safe against such a calamity, she was willing to let the talk go on, because the agitation helped her work. “It is rather paradoxical,” I said to her, “that the pressing of a false principle can help a true one; but when you get the women all thoroughly educated, they will step off to the polls and vote in spite of you.”

One night on the train from New York to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, I found abundant time to think over the personal peculiarities of the many noble women who adorn this nineteenth century, and, as I recalled them, one by one, in America, England, France, and Germany, and all that they are doing and saying, I wandered that any man could be so blind as not to see that woman has already taken her place as the peer of man. While the lords of creation have been debating her sphere and drawing their chalk marks here and there, woman has quietly stepped outside the barren fields where she was compelled to graze for centuries, and is now in green pastures and beside still waters, a power in the world of thought.

These pleasant cogitations were cut short by my learning that I had taken the wrong train, and must change at Harrisburg at two o’clock in the morning. How soon the reflection that I must leave my comfortable berth at such an unchristian hour changed the whole hue of glorious womanhood and every other earthly blessing! However, I lived through the trial and arrived at Williamsport as the day dawned. I had a good audience at the opera house that evening, and was introduced to many agreeable people, who declared themselves converted to woman suffrage by my ministrations. Among the many new jewels in my crown, I added, that night, Judge Bently.

In November, 1869, I passed one night in Philadelphia, with Miss Anthony, at Anna Dickinson’s home–a neat, three-story brick house in Locust Street. This haven of rest, where the world-famous little woman came, ever and anon, to recruit her overtaxed energies, was very tastefully furnished, adorned with engravings, books, and statuary. Her mother, sister, and brother made up the household–a pleasing, cultivated trio. The brother was a handsome youth of good judgment, and given to sage remarks; the sister, witty, intuitive, and incisive in speech; the mother, dressed in rich Quaker costume, and though nearly seventy, still possessed of great personal beauty. She was intelligent, dignified, refined, and, in manner and appearance, reminded one of Angelina Grimke as she looked in her younger days. Everything about the house and its appointments indicated that it was the abode of genius and cultivation, and, although Anna was absent, the hospitalities were gracefully dispensed by her family. Napoleon and Shakespeare seemed to be Anna’s patron saints, looking down, on all sides, from the wall. The mother amused us with the sore trials her little orator had inflicted on the members of the household by her vagaries in the world of fame.

On the way to Kennett Square, a young gentleman pointed out to us the home of Benjamin West, who distinguished himself, to the disgust of broadbrims generally, as a landscape painter. In commencing his career, it is said he made use of the tail of a cat in lieu of a brush. Of course Benjamin’s first attempts were on the sly, and he could not ask paterfamilias for money to buy a brush without encountering the good man’s scorn. Whether, in the hour of his need and fresh enthusiasm, poor puss was led to the sacrificial altar, or whether he found her reposing by the roadside, having paid the debt of Nature, our informant could not say; enough that, in time, he owned a brush and immortalized himself by his skill in its use. Such erratic ones as Whittier, West, and Anna Dickinson go to prove that even the prim, proper, perfect Quakers are subject to like infirmities with the rest of the human family.

I had long heard of the “Progressive Friends” in the region round Longwood; had read the many bulls they issued from their “yearly meetings” on every question, on war, capital punishment, temperance, slavery, woman’s rights; had learned that they were turning the cold shoulder on the dress, habits, and opinions of their Fathers; listening to the ministrations of such worldlings as William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Tilton, and Oliver Johnson, in a new meeting house, all painted and varnished, with cushions, easy seats, carpets, stoves, a musical instrument–shade of George Fox, forgive–and three brackets with vases on the “high seat,” and, more than all that, men and women were indiscriminately seated throughout the house.

All this Miss Anthony and I beheld with our own eyes, and, in company with Sarah Pugh and Chandler Darlington, did sit together in the high seat and talk in the congregation of the people. There, too, we met Hannah Darlington and Dinah Mendenhall,–names long known in every good work,–and, for the space of one day, did enjoy the blissful serenity of that earthly paradise. The women of Kennett Square were celebrated not only for their model housekeeping but also for their rare cultivation on all subjects of general interest.

In November I again started on one of my Western trips, but, alas! on the very day the trains were changed, and so I could not make connections to meet my engagements at Saginaw and Marshall, and just saved myself at Toledo by going directly from the cars before the audience, with the dust of twenty-four hours’ travel on my garments. Not being able to reach Saginaw, I went straight to Ann Arbor, and spent three days most pleasantly in visiting old friends, making new ones, and surveying the town, with its grand University. I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Mr. Seaman, a highly cultivated Democratic editor, author of “Progress of Nations.” A choice number of guests gathered round his hospitable board on that occasion, over which his wife presided with dignity and grace. Woman suffrage was the target for the combined wit and satire of the company, and, after four hours of uninterrupted sharpshooting, pyrotechnics, and laughter, we dispersed to our several abodes, fairly exhausted with the excess of enjoyment.

One gentleman had the moral hardihood to assert that men had more endurance than women, whereupon a lady remarked that she would like to see the thirteen hundred young men in the University laced up in steel-ribbed corsets, with hoops, heavy skirts, trains, high heels, panniers, chignons, and dozens of hairpins sticking in their scalps, cooped up in the house year after year, with no exhilarating exercise, no hopes, aims, nor ambitions in life, and know if they could stand it as well as the girls. “Nothing,” said she, “but the fact that women, like cats, have nine lives, enables them to survive the present _regime_ to which custom dooms the sex.”

While in Ann Arbor I gave my lecture on “Our Girls” in the new Methodist church–a large building, well lighted, and filled with a brilliant audience. The students, in large numbers, were there, and strengthened the threads of my discourse with frequent and generous applause; especially when I urged on the Regents of the University the duty of opening its doors to the daughters of the State. There were several splendid girls in Michigan, at that time, preparing themselves for admission to the law department. As Judge Cooley, one of the professors, was a very liberal man, as well as a sound lawyer, and strongly in favor of opening the college to girls, I had no doubt the women of Michigan would soon distinguish themselves at the bar. Some said the chief difficulty in the way of the girls of that day being admitted to the University was the want of room. That could have been easily obviated by telling the young men from abroad to betake themselves to the colleges in their respective States, that Michigan might educate her daughters. As the women owned a good share of the property of the State, and had been heavily taxed to build and endow that institution, it was but fair that they should share in its advantages.

The Michigan University, with its extensive grounds, commodious buildings, medical and law schools, professors’ residences, and the finest laboratory in the country, was an institution of which the State was justly proud, and, as the tuition was free, it was worth the trouble of a long, hard siege by the girls of Michigan to gain admittance there. I advised them to organize their forces at once, get their minute guns, battering rams, monitors, projectiles, bombshells, cannon, torpedoes, and crackers ready, and keep up a brisk cannonading until the grave and reverend seigniors opened the door, and shouted, “Hold, enough!”

The ladies of Ann Arbor had a fine library of their own, where their clubs met once a week. They had just formed a suffrage association. My visit ended with a pleasant reception, at which I was introduced to the chaplain, several professors, and many ladies and gentlemen ready to accept the situation. Judge Cooley gave me a glowing account of the laws of Michigan–how easy it was for wives to get possession of all the property, and then sunder the marriage tie and leave the poor husband to the charity of the cold world, with their helpless children about him. I heard of a rich lady, there, who made a will, giving her husband a handsome annuity as long as he remained her widower. It was evident that the poor “white male,” sooner or later, was doomed to try for himself the virtue of the laws he had made for women. I hope, for the sake of the race, he will not bear oppression with the stupid fortitude we have for six thousand years.

At Flint I was entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Jenny. Mr. Jenny was a Democratic editor who believed in progress, and in making smooth paths for women in this great wilderness of life. His wife was a remarkable woman. She inaugurated the Ladies’ Libraries in Michigan. In Flint they had a fine brick building and nearly two thousand volumes of choice books, owned by the association, and money always in the treasury. Here, too, I had a fine audience and gave my lecture entitled “Open the Door.”

At Coldwater, in spite of its name, I found a warm, appreciative audience. The president of the lyceum was a sensible young man who, after graduating at Ann Arbor, decided, instead of starving at the law, to work with his hands and brains at the same time. When all men go to their legitimate business of creating wealth, developing the resources of the country, and leave its mere exchange to the weaker sex, we shall not have so many superfluous women in the world with nothing to do. It is evident the time has come to hunt man into his appropriate sphere. Coming from Chicago, I met Governor Fairchild and Senator Williams of Wisconsin. It was delightful to find them thoroughly grounded in the faith of woman suffrage. They had been devout readers of the _Revolution_ ever since Miss Anthony induced them to subscribe, the winter before, at Madison. Of course a new glow of intelligence irradiated their fine faces (for they were remarkably handsome men) and there was a new point to all their words. Senator Williams, like myself, was on a lecturing tour. “Man” was his theme, for which I was devoutly thankful; for, if there are any of God’s creatures that need lecturing, it is this one that is forever advising us. I thought of all men, from Father Gregory down to Horace Bushnell, who had wearied their brains to describe woman’s sphere, and how signally they had failed.

Throughout my lyceum journeys I was of great use to the traveling public, in keeping the ventilators in the cars open, and the dampers in fiery stoves shut up, especially in sleeping cars at night. How many times a day I thought what the sainted Horace Mann tried to impress on his stupid countrymen, that, inasmuch as the air is forty miles deep around the globe, it is a useless piece of economy to breathe any number of cubic feet over more than seven times! The babies, too, need to be thankful that I was in a position to witness their wrongs. Many, through my intercessions, received their first drink of water, and were emancipated from woolen hoods, veils, tight strings under their chins, and endless swaddling bands. It is a startling assertion, but true, that I have met few women who know how to take care of a baby. And this fact led me, on one trip, to lecture to my fair countrywomen on “Marriage and Maternity,” hoping to aid in the inauguration of a new era of happy, healthy babies.

After twenty-four hours in the express I found myself in a pleasant room in the International Hotel at La Crosse, looking out on the Great Mother of Waters, on whose cold bosom the ice and the steamers were struggling for mastery. Beyond stretched the snow-clad bluffs, sternly looking down on the Mississippi, as if to say, “‘Thus far shalt thou come and no farther’–though sluggish, you are aggressive, ever pushing where you should not; but all attempts in this direction are alike vain; since creation’s dawn, we have defied you, and here we stand, to-day, calm, majestic, immovable. Coquette as you will in other latitudes, with flowery banks and youthful piers in the busy marts of trade, and undermine them, one and all, with your deceitful wooings, but bow in reverence as you gaze on us. We have no eyes for your beauty; no ears for your endless song; our heads are in the clouds, our hearts commune with gods; you have no part in the eternal problems of the ages that fill our thoughts, yours the humble duty to wash our feet, and then pass on, remembering to keep in your appropriate sphere, within the barks that wise geographers have seen fit to mark.”

As I listened to these complacent hills and watched the poor Mississippi weeping as she swept along, to lose her sorrows in ocean’s depths, I thought how like the attitude of man to woman. Let these proud hills remember that they, too, slumbered for centuries in deep valleys down, down, when, perchance, the sparkling Mississippi rolled above their heads, and but for some generous outburst, some upheaval of old Mother Earth, wishing that her rock-ribbed sons, as well as graceful daughters, might enjoy the light, the sunshine and the shower–but for this soul of love in matter as well as mind–these bluffs and the sons of Adam, too, might not boast the altitude they glory in to-day. Those who have ears to hear discern low, rumbling noises that foretell convulsions in our social world that may, perchance, in the next upheaval, bring woman to the surface; up, up, from gloomy ocean depths, dark caverns, and damper valleys. The struggling daughters of earth are soon to walk in the sunlight of a higher civilization.

Escorted by Mr. Woodward, a member of the bar, I devoted a day to the lions of La Crosse. First we explored the courthouse, a large, new brick building, from whose dome we had a grand view of the surrounding country. The courtroom where justice is administered was large, clean, airy–the bench carpeted and adorned with a large, green, stuffed chair, in which I sat down, and, in imagination, summoned up advocates, jurors, prisoners, and people, and wondered how I should feel pronouncing sentence of death on a fellow-being, or, like Portia, wisely checkmating the Shylocks of our times. Here I met Judge Hugh Cameron, formerly of Johnstown. He invited us into his sanctum, where we had a pleasant chat about our native hills, Scotch affiliations, the bench and bar of New York, and the Wisconsin laws for women. The Judge, having maintained a happy bachelor state, looked placidly on the aggressive movements of the sex, as his domestic felicity would be no way affected, whether woman was voted up or down.

We next surveyed the Pomeroy building, which contained a large, tastefully finished hall and printing establishment, where the La Crosse _Democrat_ was formerly published. As I saw the perfection, order, and good taste, in all arrangements throughout, and listened to Mr. Huron’s description of the life and leading characteristics of its chief, it seemed impossible to reconcile the tone of the _Democrat_ with the moral status of its editor. I never saw a more complete business establishment, and the editorial sanctum looked as if it might be the abiding place of the Muses. Mirrors, pictures, statuary, books, music, rare curiosities, and fine specimens of birds and minerals were everywhere. Over the editor’s table was a beautiful painting of his youthful daughter, whose flaxen hair, blue eyes, and angelic face should have inspired a father to nobler, purer, utterances than he was wont, at that time, to give to the world.

But Pomeroy’s good deeds will live long after his profane words are forgotten. Throughout the establishment cards, set up in conspicuous places, said, “Smoking here is positively forbidden.” Drinking, too, was forbidden to all his employes. The moment a man was discovered using intoxicating drinks, he was dismissed. In the upper story of the building was a large, pleasant room, handsomely carpeted and furnished, where the employes, in their leisure hours, could talk, write, read, or amuse themselves in any rational way.

Mr. Pomeroy was humane and generous with his employes, honorable in his business relations, and boundless in his charities to the poor. His charity, business honor, and public spirit were highly spoken of by those who knew him best. That a journal does not always reflect the editor is as much the fault of society as of the man. So long as the public will pay for gross personalities, obscenity, and slang, decent journals will be outbidden in the market. The fact that the La Crosse _Democrat_ found a ready sale in all parts of the country showed that Mr. Pomeroy fairly reflected the popular taste. While multitudes turned up the whites of their eyes and denounced him in public, they bought his paper and read it in private.

I left La Crosse in a steamer, just as the rising sun lighted the hilltops and gilded the Mississippi. It was a lovely morning, and, in company with a young girl of sixteen, who had traveled alone from some remote part of Canada, bound for a northern village in Wisconsin, I promenaded the deck most of the way to Winona, a pleased listener to the incidents of my young companion’s experiences. She said that, when crossing Lake Huron, she was the only woman on board, but the men were so kind and civil that she soon forgot she was alone. I found many girls, traveling long distances, who had never been five miles from home before, with a self-reliance that was remarkable. They all spoke in the most flattering manner of the civility of our American men in looking after their baggage and advising them as to the best routes.

As you approach St. Paul, at Fort Snelling, where the Mississippi and Minnesota join forces, the country grows bold and beautiful. The town itself, then boasting about thirty thousand inhabitants, is finely situated, with substantial stone residences. It was in one of these charming homes I found a harbor of rest during my stay in the city. Mrs. Stuart, whose hospitalities I enjoyed, was a woman of rare common sense and sound health. Her husband, Dr. Jacob H. Stuart, was one of the very first surgeons to volunteer in the late war. In the panic at Bull Run, instead of running, as everybody else did, he stayed with the wounded, and was taken prisoner while taking a bullet from the head of a rebel. When exchanged, Beauregard gave him his sword for his devotion to the dying and wounded.

I had the pleasure of seeing several of the leading gentlemen and ladies of St. Paul at the Orphans’ Fair, where we all adjourned, after my lecture, to discuss woman’s rights, over a bounteous supper. Here I met William L. Banning, the originator of the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad. He besieged Congress and capitalists for a dozen years to build this road, but was laughed at and put off with sneers and contempt, until, at last, Jay Cooke became so weary of his continual coming that he said: “I will build the road to get rid of you.”

Whittier seems to have had a prophetic vision of the peopling of this region. When speaking of the Yankee, he says:

“He’s whittling by St. Mary’s Falls, Upon his loaded wain;
He’s measuring o’er the Pictured Rocks, With eager eyes of gain.

“I hear the mattock in the mine,
The ax-stroke in the dell,
The clamor from the Indian lodge, The Jesuits’ chapel bell!

“I hear the tread of pioneers
Of nations yet to be;
The first low wash of waves, where soon Shall roll a human sea.”

The opening of these new outlets and mines of wealth was wholly due to the forecast and perseverance of Mr. Banning. The first engine that went over a part of the road had been christened at St. Paul, with becoming ceremonies; the officiating priestess being a beautiful maiden. A cask of water from the Pacific was sent by Mr. Banning’s brother from California, and a small keg was brought from Lake Superior for the occasion. A glass was placed in the hands of Miss Ella B. Banning, daughter of the president, who then christened the engine, saying: “With the waters of the Pacific Ocean in my right hand, and the waters of Lake Superior in my left, invoking the Genius of Progress to bring together, with iron band, two great commercial systems of the globe, I dedicate this engine to the use of the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad, and name it William L. Banning.”

From St. Paul to Dubuque, as the boats had ceased running, a circuitous route and a night of discomfort were inevitable. Leaving the main road to Chicago at Clinton Junction, I had the pleasure of waiting at a small country inn until midnight for a freight train. This was indeed dreary, but, having Mrs. Child’s sketches of Mmes. De Stael and Roland at hand, I read of Napoleon’s persecutions of the one and Robespierre’s of the other, until, by comparison, my condition was tolerable, and the little meagerly furnished room, with its dull fire and dim lamp, seemed a paradise compared with years of exile from one’s native land or the prison cell and guillotine. How small our ordinary, petty trials seem in contrast with the mountains of sorrow that have been piled up on the great souls of the past! Absorbed in communion with them twelve o’clock soon came, and with it the train.

A burly son of Adam escorted me to the passenger car filled with German immigrants, with tin cups, babies, bags, and bundles innumerable. The ventilators were all closed, the stoves hot, and the air was like that of the Black Hole of Calcutta. So, after depositing my cloak and bag in an empty seat, I quietly propped both doors open with a stick of wood, shut up the stoves, and opened all the ventilators with the poker. But the celestial breeze, so grateful to me, had the most unhappy effect on the slumbering exiles. Paterfamilias swore outright; the companion of his earthly pilgrimage said, “We must be going north,” and, as the heavy veil of carbonic acid gas was lifted from infant faces, and the pure oxygen filled their lungs and roused them to new life, they set up one simultaneous shout of joy and gratitude, which their parents mistook for agony. Altogether there was a general stir. As I had quietly slipped into my seat and laid my head down to sleep, I remained unobserved–the innocent cause of the general purification and vexation.

We reached Freeport at three o’clock in the morning. As the depot for Dubuque was nearly half a mile on the other side of the town, I said to a solitary old man who stood shivering there to receive us, “How can I get to the other station?” “Walk, madam.” “But I do not know the way.” “There is no one to go with you.” “How is my trunk going?” said I. “I have a donkey and cart to take that.” “Then,” said I, “you, the donkey, the trunk, and I will go together.” So I stepped into the cart, sat down on the trunk, and the old man laughed heartily as we jogged along through the mud of that solitary town in the pale morning starlight. Just as the day was dawning, Dubuque, with its rough hills and bold scenery, loomed up. Soon, under the roof of Myron Beach, one of the distinguished lawyers of the West, with a good breakfast and sound nap, my night’s sorrows were forgotten.

I was sorry to find that Mrs. Beach, though a native of New York, and born on the very spot where the first woman’s rights convention was held in this country, was not sound on the question of woman suffrage. She seemed to have an idea that voting and housekeeping could not be compounded; but I suggested that, if the nation could only enjoy a little of the admirable system with which she and other women administered their domestic affairs, Uncle Sam’s interests would be better secured. This is just what the nation needs to-day, and women must wake up to the consideration that they, too, have duties as well as rights in the State. A splendid audience greeted me in the Opera House, and I gave “Our Girls,” bringing many male sinners to repentance, and stirring up some lethargic _femmes coverts_ to a state of rebellion against the existing order of things.

From Dubuque I went to Dixon, a large town, where I met a number of pleasant people, but I have one cause of complaint against the telegraph operator, whose negligence to send a dispatch to Mt. Vernon, written and paid for, came near causing me a solitary night on the prairie, unsheltered and unknown. Hearing that the express train went out Sunday afternoon, I decided to go, so as to have all day at Mt. Vernon before speaking; but on getting my trunk checked, the baggageman said the train did not stop there. “Well,” said I, “check the trunk to the nearest point at which it does stop,” resolving that I would persuade the conductor to stop one minute, anyway. Accordingly, when the conductor came round, I presented my case as persuasively and eloquently as possible, telling him that I had telegraphed friends to meet me, etc., etc. He kindly consented to do so and had my trunk re-checked. On arriving, as there was no light, no sound, and the depot was half a mile from the town, the conductor urged me to go to Cedar Rapids and come back the next morning, as it was Sunday night and the depot might not be opened, and I might be compelled to stay there on the platform all night in the cold.

But, as I had telegraphed, I told him I thought someone would be there, and I would take the risk. So off went the train, leaving me solitary and alone. I could see the lights in the distant town and the dark outlines of two great mills near by, which suggested dams and races. I heard, too, the distant barking of dogs, and I thought there might be wolves, too; but no human sound. The platform was high and I could see no way down, and I should not have dared to go down if I had. So I walked all round the house, knocked at every door and window, called “John!” “James!” “Patrick!” but no response. Dressed in all their best, they had, no doubt, gone to visit Sally, and I knew they would stay late. The night wind was cold. What could I do? The prospect of spending the night there filled me with dismay. At last I thought I would try my vocal powers; so I hallooed as loud as I could, in every note of the gamut, until I was hoarse. At last I heard a distant sound, a loud halloo, which I returned, and so we kept it up until the voice grew near, and, when I heard a man’s heavy footsteps close at hand, I was relieved. He proved to be the telegraph operator, who had been a brave soldier in the late war. He said that no message had come from Dixon. He escorted me to the hotel, where some members of the Lyceum Committee came in and had a hearty laugh at my adventure, especially that, in my distress, I should have called on James and John and Patrick, instead of Jane, Ann, and Bridget. They seemed to argue that that was an admission, on my part, of man’s superiority, but I suggested that, as my sex had not yet been exalted to the dignity of presiding in depots and baggage rooms, there would have been no propriety in calling Jane and Ann.

Mt. Vernon was distinguished for a very flourishing Methodist college, open to boys and girls alike. The president and his wife were liberal and progressive people. I dined with them in their home near the college, and met some young ladies from Massachusetts, who were teachers in the institution. All who gathered round the social board on that occasion were of one mind on the woman question. Even the venerable mother of the president seemed to light up with the discussion of the theme. I gave “Our Girls” in the Methodist church, and took the opportunity to compliment them for taking the word “obey” out of their marriage ceremony. I heard the most encouraging reports of the experiment of educating the sexes together. It was the rule in all the Methodist institutions in Iowa, and I found that the young gentlemen fully approved of it.

At Mt. Vernon I also met Mr. Wright, former Secretary of State, who gave me several interesting facts in regard to the women of Iowa. The State could boast one woman who was an able lawyer, Mrs. Mansfield. Mrs. Berry and Mrs. Stebbins were notaries public. Miss Addington was superintendent of schools in Mitchell County. She was nominated by a convention in opposition to a Mr. Brown. When the vote was taken, lo! there was a tie. Mr. Brown offered to yield through courtesy, but she declined; so they drew lots and Miss Addington was the victor. She once made an abstract of titles of all the lands in the county where she lived, and had received an appointment to office from the Governor of the State, who requested the paper to be made out “L.” instead of Laura Addington. He said it was enough for Iowa to appoint women to such offices, without having it known the world over. I was sorry to tell the Governor’s secrets,–which I did everywhere,–but the cause of womanhood made it necessary.



In the month of June, 1871, Miss Anthony and I went to California, holding suffrage meetings in many of the chief cities from New York to San Francisco, where we arrived about the middle of July, in time to experience the dry, dusty season.

We tarried, on the way, one week in Salt Lake City. It was at the time of the Godby secession, when several hundred Mormons abjured that portion of the faith of their fathers which authorized polygamy. A decision had just been rendered by the United States Supreme Court declaring the first wife and her children the only legal heirs. Whether this decision hastened the secession I do not know; however, it gave us the advantage of hearing all the arguments for and against the system. Those who were opposed to it said it made slaves of men. To support four wives and twenty children was a severe strain on any husband. The women who believed in polygamy had much to say in its favor, especially in regard to the sacredness of motherhood during the period of pregnancy and lactation; a lesson of respect for that period being religiously taught all Mormons.

We were very thankful for the privilege granted us of speaking to the women alone in the smaller Tabernacle. Our meeting opened at two o’clock and lasted until seven, giving us five hours of uninterrupted conversation. Judge McKeon had informed me of the recent decisions and the legal aspects of the questions, which he urged me to present to them fully and frankly, as no one had had such an opportunity before to speak to Mormon women alone. So I made the most of my privilege. I gave a brief history of the marriage institution in all times and countries, of the matriarchate, when the mother was the head of the family and owned the property and children; of the patriarchate, when man reigned supreme and woman was enslaved; of polyandry, polygamy, monogamy, and prostitution. We had a full and free discussion of every phase of the question, and we all agreed that we were still far from having reached the ideal position for woman in marriage, however satisfied man might be with his various experiments. Though the Mormon women, like all others, stoutly defend their own religion, yet they are no more satisfied than any other sect. All women are dissatisfied with their position as inferiors, and their dissatisfaction increases in exact ratio with their intelligence and development.

After this convocation the doors of the Tabernacle were closed to our ministrations, as we thought they would be, but we had crowded an immense amount of science, philosophy, history, and general reflections into the five hours of such free talk as those women had never heard before. As the seceders had just built a new hall, we held meetings there every day, discussing all the vital issues of the hour; the Mormon men and women taking an active part.

We attended the Fourth of July celebration, and saw the immense Tabernacle filled to its utmost capacity. The various States of the Union were represented by young girls, gayly dressed, carrying beautiful flags and banners. When that immense multitude joined in our national songs, and the deep-toned organ filled the vast dome the music was very impressive, and the spirit of patriotism manifested throughout was deep and sincere.

As I stood among these simple people, so earnest in making their experiment in religion and social life, and remembered all the persecutions they had suffered and all they had accomplished in that desolate, far-off region, where they had, indeed, made “the wilderness blossom like the rose,” I appreciated, as never before, the danger of intermeddling with the religious ideas of any people. Their faith finds abundant authority in the Bible, in the example of God’s chosen people. When learned ecclesiastics teach the people that they can safely take that book as the guide of their lives, they must expect them to follow the letter and the specific teachings that lie on the surface. The ordinary mind does not generalize nor see that the same principles of conduct will not do for all periods and latitudes. When women understand that governments and religions are human inventions; that Bibles, prayerbooks, catechisms, and encyclical letters are all emanations from the brain of man, they will no longer be oppressed by the injunctions that come to them with the divine authority of “Thus saith the Lord.”

That thoroughly democratic gathering in the Tabernacle impressed me more than any other Fourth of July celebration I ever attended. As most of the Mormon families keep no servants, mothers must take their children wherever they go–to churches, theatres, concerts, and military reviews–everywhere and anywhere. Hence the low, pensive wail of the individual baby, combining in large numbers, becomes a deep monotone, like the waves of the sea, a sort of violoncello accompaniment to all their holiday performances. It was rather trying to me at first to have my glowing periods punctuated with a rhythmic wail from all sides of the hall; but as soon as I saw that it did not distract my hearers, I simply raised my voice, and, with a little added vehemence, fairly rivaled the babies. Commenting on this trial, to one of the theatrical performers, he replied: “It is bad enough for you, but alas! imagine me in a tender death scene, when the most profound stillness is indispensable, having my last gasp, my farewell message to loved ones, accentuated with the joyful crowings or impatient complainings of fifty babies.” I noticed in the Tabernacle that the miseries of the infantile host were in a measure mitigated by constant draughts of cold water, borne around in buckets by four old men.

The question of the most profound interest to us at that time, in the Mormon experiment, was the exercise of the suffrage by women. Emeline B. Wells, wife of the Mayor of the city, writing to a Washington convention, in 1894, said of the many complications growing out of various bills before Congress to rob women of this right:

“Women have voted in Utah fourteen years, but, because of the little word ‘male’ that still stands upon the statutes, no woman is eligible to any office of emolument or trust. In three successive legislatures, bills have been passed, providing that the word ‘male’ be erased; but, each time, the Governor of the Territory, who has absolute veto power, has refused his signature. Yet women attend primary meetings in the various precincts and are chosen as delegates. They are also members of county and territorial central committees, and are thus gaining practical political experience, and preparing themselves for positions of trust.

“In 1882 a convention was held to frame a constitution to be submitted to the people and presented to the Congress of the United States. Women were delegates to this convention, and took part in all its deliberations, and were appointed to act on committees with equal privileges. It is the first instance on record, I think, where women have been members and taken an active part in a constitutional convention.

“Much has been said and written, and justly, too, of suffrage for women in Wyoming; but, in my humble opinion, had Utah stood on the same ground as Wyoming, and women been eligible to office, as they are in that Territory, they would, ere this, have been elected to the legislative Assembly of Utah.

“It is currently reported that Mormon women vote as they are told by their husbands. I most emphatically deny the assertion. All Mormon women vote who are privileged to register. Every girl born here, as soon as she is twenty-one years old, registers, and considers it as much a duty as to say her prayers. Our women vote with the same freedom that characterizes any class of people in the most conscientious acts of their lives.”

These various questions were happily solved in 1895, when Utah became a State. Its Constitution gives women the right to vote on all questions, and makes them eligible to any office.

The journey over the Rocky Mountains was more interesting and wonderful than I had imagined. A heavy shower the morning we reached the alkali plains made the trip through that region, where travelers suffer so much, quite endurable. Although we reached California in its hot, dry season, we found the atmosphere in San Francisco delightful, fanned with the gentle breezes of the Pacific, cooled with the waters of its magnificent harbor. The Golden Gate does indeed open to the eye of the traveler one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.

Friends had engaged for us a suite of apartments at the Grand Hotel, then just opened. Our rooms were constantly decked with fresh flowers, which our “suffrage children,” as they called themselves, brought us from day to day. So many brought tokens of their good will–in fact, all our visitors came with offerings of fruits and flowers–that not only our apartments, but the public tables were crowded with rare and beautiful specimens of all varieties. We spoke every night, to crowded houses, on all phases of the woman question, and had a succession of visitors during the day. In fact, for one week, we had a perfect ovation. As Senator Stanford and his wife were at the same hotel, we had many pleasant interviews with them.

While in San Francisco we had many delightful sails in the harbor and drives to the seashore and for miles along the beach. We spent several hours at the little Ocean House, watching the gambols of the celebrated seals. These, like the big trees, were named after distinguished statesmen. One very black fellow was named Charles Sumner, in honor of his love of the black race; another, with a little squint in his eye, was called Ben Butler; a stout, rotund specimen that seemed to take life philosophically, was named Senator Davis of Illinois; a very belligerent one, who appeared determined to crowd his confreres into the sea, was called Secretary Stanton. Grant and Lincoln, on a higher ledge of the rocks, were complacently observing the gambols of the rest.

California was on the eve of an important election, and John A. Bingham of Ohio and Senator Cole were stumping the State for the Republican party. At several points we had the use of their great tents for our audiences, and of such of their able arguments as applied to woman. As Mr. Bingham’s great speech was on the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, every principle he laid down literally enfranchised the women of the nation. I met the Ohio statesman one morning at breakfast, after hearing him the night before. I told him his logic must compel him to advocate woman suffrage. With a most cynical smile he said “he was not the puppet of logic, but the slave of practical politics.”

We met most of our suffrage coadjutors in different parts of California. I spent a few days with Mrs. Elizabeth B. Schenck, one of the earliest pioneers in the suffrage movement. She was a cultivated, noble woman, and her little cottage was a gem of beauty and comfort, surrounded with beautiful gardens and a hedge of fish-geraniums over ten feet high, covered with scarlet flowers. It seemed altogether more like a fairy bower than a human habitation. The windmills all over California, for pumping water, make a very pretty feature in the landscape, as well as an important one, as people are obliged to irrigate their gardens during the dry season. In August the hills are as brown as ours in December.

Here, too, I first met Senator Sargent’s family, and visited them in Sacramento City, where we had a suffrage meeting in the evening and one for women alone next day. At a similar meeting in San Francisco six hundred women were present in Platt’s Hall. We discussed marriage, maternity, and social life in general. Supposing none but women were present, as all were dressed in feminine costume, the audience were quite free in their questions, and I equally so in my answers. To our astonishment, the next morning, a verbatim report of all that was said appeared in one of the leading papers, with most respectful comments. As I always wrote and read carefully what I had to say on such delicate subjects, the language was well chosen and the presentation of facts and philosophy quite unobjectionable; hence, the information being as important for men as for women, I did not regret the publication. During the day a committee of three gentlemen called to know if I would give a lecture to men alone. As I had no lecture prepared, I declined, with the promise to do so the next time I visited California. The idea was novel, but I think women could do much good in that way.

My readers may be sure that such enterprising travelers as Miss Anthony and myself visited all the wonders, saw the geysers, big trees, the Yosemite Valley, and the immense mountain ranges, piled one above another, until they seemed to make a giant pathway from earth to heaven. We drove down the mountain sides with Fox, the celebrated whip; sixteen people in an open carriage drawn by six horses, down, down, down, as fast as we could go. I expected to be dashed to pieces, but we safely descended in one hour, heights we had taken three to climb. Fox held a steady rein, and seemed as calm as if we were trotting on a level, though any accident, such as a hot axle, a stumbling horse, or a break in the harness would have sent us down the mountain side, two thousand feet, to inevitable destruction. He had many amusing anecdotes to tell of Horace Greeley’s trip to the Geysers. The distinguished journalist was wholly unprepared for the race down the mountains and begged Fox to hold up. Sitting in front he made several efforts to seize the lines. But Fox assured him that was the only possible way they could descend in safety, as the horses could guide the stage, but they could not hold it.

At Stockton we met a party of friends just returning from the Yosemite, who gave us much valuable information for the journey. Among other things, I was advised to write to Mr. Hutchins, the chief authority there, to have a good, strong horse in readiness to take me down the steep and narrow path into the valley. We took the same driver and carriage which our friends had found trustworthy, and started early in the morning. The dust and heat made the day’s journey very wearisome, but the prospect of seeing the wonderful valley made all hardships of little consequence. Quite a large party were waiting to mount their donkeys and mules when we arrived. One of the attendants, a man about as thin as a stair rod, asked me if I was the lady who had ordered a strong horse; I being the stoutest of the party, he readily arrived at that conclusion, so my steed was promptly produced. But I knew enough of horses and riding to see at a glance that he was a failure, with his low withers and high haunches, for descending steep mountains. In addition to his forward pitch, his back was immensely broad. Miss Anthony and I decided to ride astride and had suits made for that purpose; but alas! my steed was so broad that I could not reach the stirrups, and the moment we began to descend, I felt as if I were going over his head. So I fell behind, and, when the party had all gone forward, I dismounted, though my slender guide assured me there was no danger, he “had been up and down a thousand times.” But, as I had never been at all, his repeated experiences did not inspire me with courage. I decided to walk. That, the guide said, was impossible. “Well,” said I, by way of compromise, “I will walk as far as I can, and when I reach the impossible, I will try that ill-constructed beast. I cannot see what you men were thinking of when you selected such an animal for this journey.” And so we went slowly down, arguing the point whether it were better to ride or walk; to trust one’s own legs, or, by chance, be precipitated thousands of feet down the mountain side.

It was a hot August day; the sun, in the zenith, shining with full power. My blood was at boiling heat with exercise and vexation. Alternately sliding and walking, catching hold of rocks and twigs, drinking at every rivulet, covered with dust, dripping with perspiration, skirts, gloves, and shoes in tatters, for four long hours I struggled down to the end, when I laid myself out on the grass, and fell asleep, perfectly exhausted, having sent the guide to tell Mr. Hutchins that I had reached the valley, and, as I could neither ride nor walk, to send a wheelbarrow, or four men with a blanket to transport me to the hotel. That very day the Mariposa Company had brought the first carriage into the valley, which, in due time, was sent to my relief. Miss Anthony, who, with a nice little Mexican pony and narrow saddle, had made her descent with grace and dignity, welcomed me on the steps of the hotel, and laughed immoderately at my helpless plight.

As hour after hour had passed, she said, there had been a general wonderment as to what had become of me; “but did you ever see such magnificent scenery?” “Alas!” I replied, “I have been in no mood for scenery. I have been constantly watching my hands and feet lest I should come to grief.” The next day I was too stiff and sore to move a finger. However, in due time I awoke to the glory and grandeur of that wonderful valley, of which no descriptions nor paintings can give the least idea. With Sunset Cox, the leading Democratic statesman, and his wife, we had many pleasant excursions through the valley, and chats, during the