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  • 1898
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While attending a meeting in Birmingham I stayed with a relative of Joseph Sturge, whose home I had visited forty years before. The meeting was called to discuss the degradation of women under the Contagious Diseases Act. Led by Josephine Butler, the women of England were deeply stirred on the question of its repeal and have since secured it. I heard Mrs. Butler speak in many of her society meetings as well as on other occasions. Her style was not unlike that one hears in Methodist camp meetings from the best cultivated of that sect; her power lies in her deeply religious enthusiasm. In London we met Emily Faithful, who had just returned from a lecturing tour in the United States, and were much amused with her experiences. Having taken prolonged trips over the whole country, from Maine to Texas, for many successive years, Miss Anthony and I could easily add the superlative to all her narrations.

It was a pleasant surprise to meet the large number of Americans usually at the receptions of Mrs. Peter Taylor. Graceful and beautiful, in full dress, standing beside her husband, who evidently idolized her, Mrs. Taylor appeared quite as refined in her drawing room as if she had never been exposed to the public gaze while presiding over a suffrage convention. Mrs. Taylor is called the mother of the suffrage movement. The reform has not been carried on in all respects to her taste, nor on what she considers the basis of high principle. Neither she nor Mrs. Jacob Bright has ever been satisfied with the bill asking the rights of suffrage for “widows and spinsters” only. To have asked this right “for all women duly qualified,” as but few married women are qualified through possessing property in their own right, would have been substantially the same, without making any invidious distinctions. Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Bright felt that, as married women were the greatest sufferers under the law, they should be the first rather than the last to be enfranchised. The others, led by Miss Becker, claimed that it was good policy to make the demand for “spinsters and widows,” and thus exclude the “family unit” and “man’s headship” from the discussion; and yet these were the very points on which the objections were invariably based. They claimed that, if “spinsters and widows” were enfranchised, they would be an added power to secure to married women their rights. But the history of the past gives us no such assurance. It is not certain that women would be more just than men, and a small privileged class of aristocrats have long governed their fellow-countrymen. The fact that the spinsters in the movement advocated such a bill, shows that they were not to be trusted in extending it. John Stuart Mill, too, was always opposed to the exclusion of married women in the demand for suffrage.

My sense of justice was severely tried by all I heard of the persecutions of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Bradlaugh for their publications on the right and duty of parents to limit population. Who can contemplate the sad condition of multitudes of young children in the Old World whose fate is to be brought up in ignorance and vice–a swarming, seething mass which nobody owns–without seeing the need of free discussion of the philosophical principles that underlie these tangled social problems? The trials of Foote and Ramsey, too, for blasphemy, seemed unworthy a great nation in the nineteenth century. Think of well-educated men of good moral standing thrown into prison in solitary confinement, for speaking lightly of the Hebrew idea of Jehovah and the New Testament account of the birth of Jesus! Our Protestant clergy never hesitate to make the dogmas and superstitions of the Catholic Church seem as absurd as possible, and why should not those who imagine they have outgrown Protestant superstitions make them equally ridiculous? Whatever is true can stand investigation and ridicule.

In the last of April, when the wildflowers were in their glory, Mrs. Mellen and her lovely daughter, Daisy, came down to our home at Basingstoke to enjoy its beauty. As Mrs. Mellen had known Charles Kingsley and entertained him at her residence in Colorado, she felt a desire to see his former home. Accordingly, one bright morning, Mr. Blatch drove us to Eversley, through Strathfieldsaye, the park of the Duke of Wellington. This magnificent place was given to him by the English government after the battle of Waterloo. A lofty statue of the duke, that can be seen for miles around, stands at one entrance. A drive of a few miles further brought us to the parish church of Canon Kingsley, where he preached many years, and where all that is mortal of him now lies buried. We wandered through the old church, among the moss-covered tombstones, and into the once happy home, now silent and deserted–his loved ones being scattered in different quarters of the globe. Standing near the last resting place of the author of “Hypatia,” his warning words for women, in a letter to John Stuart Mill, seemed like a voice from heaven saying, with new inspiration and power, “This will never be a good world for women until the last remnant of the canon law is civilized off the face of the earth.”

We heard Mr. Fawcett speak to his Hackney constituents at one of his campaign meetings. In the course of his remarks he mentioned with evident favor, as one of the coming measures, the disestablishment of the Church, and was greeted with loud applause. Soon after he spoke of woman suffrage as another question demanding consideration, but this was received with laughter and jeers, although the platform was crowded with advocates of the measure, among whom were the wife of the speaker and her sister, Dr. Garrett Anderson. The audience were evidently in favor of releasing themselves from being taxed to support the Church, forgetting that women were taxed not only to support a Church but also a State in the management of neither of which they had a voice. Mr. Fawcett was not an orator, but a simple, straightforward speaker. He made one gesture, striking his right clenched fist into the palm of his left hand at the close of all his strongest assertions, and, although more liberal than his party, he was a great favorite with his constituents.

One pleasant trip I made in England was to Bristol, to visit the Misses Priestman and Mrs. Tanner, sisters-in-law of John Bright. I had stayed at their father’s house forty years before, so we felt like old friends. I found them all liberal women, and we enjoyed a few days together, talking over our mutual struggles, and admiring the beautiful scenery for which that part of the country is celebrated. The women of England were just then organizing political clubs, and I was invited to speak before many of them. There is an earnestness of purpose among English women that is very encouraging under the prolonged disappointments reformers inevitably suffer. And the order of English homes, too, among the wealthy classes, is very enjoyable. All go on from year to year with the same servants, the same surroundings, no changes, no moving, no building even; in delightful contrast with our periodical upheavals, always uncertain where we shall go next, or how long our main dependents will stand by us.

From Bristol I went to Greenbank to visit Mrs. Helen Bright Clark. One evening her parlors were crowded and I was asked to give an account of the suffrage movement in America. Some clergymen questioned me in regard to the Bible position of woman, whereupon I gave quite an exposition of its general principles in favor of liberty and equality. As two distinct lines of argument can be woven out of those pages on any subject, on this occasion I selected all the most favorable texts for justice to woman, and closed by stating the limits of its authority. Mrs. Clark, though thoroughly in sympathy with the views I had expressed, feared lest my very liberal utterances might have shocked some of the strictest of the laymen and clergy. “Well,” said I, “if we who do see the absurdities of the old superstitions never unveil them to others, how is the world to make any progress in the theologies? I am in the sunset of life, and I feel it to be my special mission to tell people what they are not prepared to hear, instead of echoing worn-out opinions.” The result showed the wisdom of my speaking out of my own soul. To the surprise of Mrs. Clark, the Primitive Methodist clergyman called on Sunday morning to invite me to occupy his pulpit in the afternoon and present the same line of thought I had the previous evening. I accepted his invitation. He led the services, and I took my text from Genesis i. 27, 28, showing that man and woman were a simultaneous creation, endowed, in the beginning, with equal power.

Returning to London, I accepted an invitation to take tea one afternoon with Mrs. Jacob Bright, who, in earnest conversation, had helped us each to a cup of tea, and was turning to help us to something more, when over went table and all–tea, bread and butter, cake, strawberries and cream, silver, china, in one conglomerate mass. Silence reigned. No one started; no one said “Oh!” Mrs. Bright went on with what she was saying as if nothing unusual had occurred, rang the bell, and, when the servant appeared, pointing to the debris, she said, “Charles, remove this.” I was filled with admiration at her coolness, and devoutly thankful that we Americans maintained an equally dignified silence.

At a grand reception, given in our honor by the National Central Committee, in Princess’ Hall, Jacob Bright, M.P., presided and made an admirable opening speech, followed by his sister, Mrs. McLaren, with a highly complimentary address of welcome. By particular request Miss Anthony explained the industrial, legal, and political status of American women, while I set forth their educational, social, and religious condition. John P. Thomasson, M.P., made the closing address, expressing his satisfaction with our addresses and the progress made in both countries.

Mrs. Thomasson, daughter of Mrs. Lucas, gave several parties, receptions, and dinners,–some for ladies only,–where an abundant opportunity was offered for a critical analysis of the idiosyncrasies of the superior sex, especially in their dealings with women. The patience of even such heroic souls as Lydia Becker and Caroline Biggs was almost exhausted with the tergiversations of Members of the House of Commons. Alas for the many fair promises broken, the hopes deferred, the votes fully relied on and counted, all missing in the hour of action! One crack of Mr. Gladstone’s whip put a hundred Liberal members to flight–members whom these noble women had spent years in educating. I never visited the House of Commons that I did not see Miss Becker and Miss Biggs trying to elucidate the fundamental principles of just government to some of the legislators. Verily their divine faith and patience merited more worthy action on the part of their alleged representatives!

Miss Henrietta Mueller gave a farewell reception to Miss Anthony and me on the eve of our departure for America, when we had the opportunity of meeting once more most of the pleasant acquaintances we had made in London. Although it was announced for the afternoon, we did, in fact, receive all day, as many could not come at the hour appointed. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell took breakfast with us; Mrs. Fawcett, Mrs. Saville, and Miss Lord were with us at luncheon; Harriet Hosmer and Olive Logan soon after; Mrs. Peter Taylor later, and from three to six o’clock the parlors were crowded.

Returning from London I passed my birthday, November 12, 1883, in Basingstoke. It was a sad day for us all, knowing that it was the last day with my loved ones before my departure for America. When I imprinted the farewell kiss on the soft cheek of my little granddaughter Nora in the cradle, she in the dawn and I in the sunset of life, I realized how widely the broad ocean would separate us. Miss Anthony, met me at Alderly Edge, where we spent a few days with Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Bright. There we found their noble sisters, Mrs. McLaren and Mrs. Lucas, young Walter McLaren and his lovely bride, Eva Mueller, whom we had heard several times on the suffrage platform. We rallied her on the step she had lately taken, notwithstanding her sister’s able paper on the blessedness of a single life. While there, we visited Dean Stanley’s birthplace, but on his death the light and joy went out. The old church whose walls had once echoed to his voice, and the house where he had spent so many useful years, seemed sad and deserted. But the day was bright and warm, the scenery beautiful, cows and sheep were still grazing in the meadows, and the grass was as green as in June. This is England’s chief charm,–it is forever green,–perhaps in compensation for the many cloudy days.

As our good friends Mrs. McLaren and Mrs. Lucas had determined to see us safely on board the Servia, they escorted us to Liverpool, where we met Mrs. Margaret Parker and Mrs. Scatcherd. Another reception was given us at the residence of Dr. Ewing Whittle. Several short speeches were made, and all present cheered the parting guests with words of hope and encouragement for the good cause. Here the wisdom of forming an international association was first considered. The proposition met with such favor from those present that a committee was appointed to correspond with the friends in different nations. Miss Anthony and I were placed on the committee, and while this project has not yet been fully carried out, the idea of the intellectual co-operation of women to secure equal rights and opportunities for their sex was the basis of the International Council of Women, which was held under the auspices of the National Woman Suffrage Association in Washington, D. C, in March, 1888.

On the Atlantic for ten days we had many opportunities to review all we had seen and heard. Sitting on deck, hour after hour, how often I queried with myself as to the significance of the boon for which we were so earnestly struggling. In asking for a voice in the government under which we live, have we been pursuing a shadow for fifty years? In seeking political power, are we abdicating that social throne where they tell us our influence is unbounded? No, no! the right of suffrage is no shadow, but a substantial entity that the citizen can seize and hold for his own protection and his country’s welfare. A direct power over one’s own person and property, an individual opinion to be counted, on all questions of public interest, are better than indirect influence, be that ever so far reaching.

Though influence, like the pure white light, is all-pervading, yet it is ofttimes obscured with passing clouds and nights of darkness. Like the sun’s rays, it may be healthy, genial, inspiring, though sometimes too direct for comfort, too oblique for warmth, too scattered for any purpose. But as the prism divides the rays, revealing the brilliant colors of the light, so does individual sovereignty reveal the beauty of representative government, and as the burning-glass shows the power of concentrating the rays, so does the combined power of the multitude reveal the beauty of united effort to carry a grand measure.

CHAPTER XXIII.

WOMAN AND THEOLOGY.

Returning from Europe in the autumn of 1883, after visiting a large circle of relatives and friends, I spent six weeks with my cousin, Elizabeth Smith Miller, at her home at Geneva, on Seneca Lake.

Through Miss Frances Lord, a woman of rare culture and research, my daughter and I had become interested in the school of theosophy, and read “Isis Unveiled,” by Madame Blavatsky, Sinnett’s works on the “Occult World,” and “The Perfect Way,” by Anna Kingsford. Full of these ideas, I soon interested my cousins in the subject, and we resolved to explore, as far as possible, some of these Eastern mysteries, of which we had heard so much. We looked in all directions to find some pilot to start us on the right course. We heard that Gerald Massey was in New York city, lecturing on “The Devil,” “Ghosts,” and “Evil Spirits” generally, so we invited him to visit us and give a course of lectures in Geneva. But, unfortunately, he was ill, and could not open new fields of thought to us at that time, though we were very desirous to get a glimpse into the unknown world, and hold converse with the immortals. As I soon left Geneva with my daughter, Mrs. Stanton Lawrence, our occult studies were, for a time, abandoned.

My daughter and I often talked of writing a story, she describing the characters and their environments and I attending to the philosophy and soliloquies. As I had no special duties in prospect, we decided that this was the time to make our experiment. Accordingly we hastened to the family homestead at Johnstown, New York, where we could be entirely alone. Friends on all sides wondered what had brought us there in the depth of the winter. But we kept our secret, and set ourselves to work with diligence, and after three months our story was finished to our entire satisfaction. We felt sure that everyone who read it would be deeply interested and that we should readily find a publisher. We thought of “Our Romance” the first thing in the morning and talked of it the last thing at night. But alas! friendly critics who read our story pointed out its defects, and in due time we reached their conclusions, and the unpublished manuscript now rests in a pigeonhole of my desk. We had not many days to mourn our disappointment, as Madge was summoned to her Western home, and Miss Anthony arrived armed and equipped with bushels of documents for vol. III. of “The History of Woman Suffrage.” The summer and autumn of 1884 Miss Anthony and I passed at Johnstown, working diligently on the History, indulging only in an occasional drive, a stroll round the town in the evening, or a ride in the open street cars.

Mrs. Devereux Blake was holding a series of conventions, at this time, through the State of New York, and we urged her to expend some of her missionary efforts in my native town, which she did with good results. As the school election was near at hand Miss Anthony and I had several preliminary meetings to arouse the women to their duty as voters, and to the necessity of nominating some woman for trustee. When the day for the election arrived the large upper room of the Academy was filled with ladies and gentlemen. Some timid souls who should have been there stayed at home, fearing there would be a row, but everything was conducted with decency and in order. The chairman, Mr. Rosa, welcomed the ladies to their new duties in a very complimentary manner. Donald McMartin stated the law as to what persons were eligible to vote in school elections. Mrs. Horace Smith filled the office of teller on the occasion with promptness and dignity, and Mrs. Elizabeth Wallace Yost was elected trustee by a majority of seven. It is strange that intelligent women, who are supposed to feel some interest in the question of education, should be so indifferent to the power they possess to make our schools all that they should be.

This was the year of the presidential campaign. The Republicans and Democrats had each held their nominating conventions, and all classes participated in the general excitement. There being great dissatisfaction in the Republican ranks, we issued a manifesto: “Stand by the Republican Party,” not that we loved Blaine more, but Cleveland less. The latter was elected, therefore it was evident that our efforts did not have much influence in turning the tide of national politics, though the Republican papers gave a broad circulation to our appeal. Dowden’s description of the poet Shelley’s efforts in scattering one of his suppressed pamphlets, reminded me of ours. He purchased bushels of empty bottles, in which he placed his pamphlets; having corked them up tight, he threw the bottles into the sea at various fashionable watering places, hoping they would wash ashore. Walking the streets of London in the evening he would slip his pamphlets into the hoods of old ladies’ cloaks, throw them in shop doors, and leave them in cabs and omnibuses. We scattered ours in the cars, inclosed them in every letter we wrote or newspaper we sent through the country.

The night before election Mr. Stanton and Professor Horace Smith spoke in the Johnstown courthouse, and took rather pessimistic views of the future of the Republic should James G. Blaine be defeated. Cleveland was elected, and we still live as a nation, and are able to digest the thousands of foreign immigrants daily landing at our shores. The night of the election a large party of us sat up until two o’clock to hear the news. Mr. Stanton had long been one of the editorial writers on the New York Sun, and they sent him telegrams from that office until a late hour. However, the election was so close that we were kept in suspense several days, before it was definitely decided.

Miss Anthony left in December, 1884, for Washington, and I went to work on an article for the North American Review, entitled, “What has Christianity done for Women?” I took the ground that woman was not indebted to any form of religion for the liberty she now enjoys, but that, on the contrary, the religious element in her nature had always been perverted for her complete subjection. Bishop Spaulding, in the same issue of the Review, took the opposite ground, but I did not feel that he answered my points.

In January, 1885, my niece Mrs. Baldwin and I went to Washington to attend the Annual Convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association. It was held in the Unitarian church on the 20th, 21st, and 22d days of that month, and went off with great success, as did the usual reception given by Mrs. Spofford at the Riggs House. This dear friend, one of our most ardent coadjutors, always made the annual convention a time for many social enjoyments. The main feature in this convention was the attempt to pass the following resolutions:

“Whereas, The dogmas incorporated in religious creeds derived from Judaism, teaching that woman was an after-thought in the creation, her sex a misfortune, marriage a condition of subordination, and maternity a curse, are contrary to the law of God (as revealed in nature), and to the precepts of Christ, and,

“Whereas, These dogmas are an insidious poison, sapping the vitality of our civilization, blighting woman, and, through her, paralyzing humanity; therefore be it

“_Resolved_, That we call on the Christian ministry, as leaders of thought, to teach and enforce the fundamental idea of creation, that man was made in the image of God, male and female, and given equal rights over the earth, but none over each other. And, furthermore, we ask their recognition of the scriptural declaration that, in the Christian religion, there is neither male nor female, bond nor free, but all are one in Christ Jesus.”

As chairman of the committee I presented a series of resolutions, impeaching the Christian theology–as well as all other forms of religion, for their degrading teachings in regard to woman–which the majority of the committee thought too strong and pointed, and, after much deliberation, they substituted the above, handing over to the Jews what I had laid at the door of the Christians. They thought they had so sugar-coated my ideas that the resolutions would pass without discussion. But some Jews in the convention promptly repudiated this impression of their faith and precipitated the very discussion I desired, but which our more politic friends would fain have avoided.

From the time of the decade meeting in Rochester, in 1878, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Edward M. Davis, and I had sedulously labored to rouse women to a realization of their degraded position in the Church, and presented resolutions at every annual convention for that purpose. But they were either suppressed or so amended as to be meaningless. The resolutions of the annual convention of 1885, tame as they are, got into print and roused the ire of the clergy, and upon the following Sunday, Dr. Patton of Howard University preached a sermon on “Woman and Skepticism,” in which he unequivocally took the ground that freedom for woman led to skepticism and immorality. He illustrated his position by pointing to Hypatia, Mary Wollstonecraft, Frances Wright, George Eliot, Harriet Martineau, Mme. Roland, Frances Power Cobbe, and Victoria Woodhull. He made a grave mistake in the last names mentioned, as Mrs. Woodhull was a devout believer in the Christian religion, and surely anyone conversant with Miss Cobbe’s writings would never accuse her of skepticism. His sermon was received with intense indignation, even by the women of his own congregation. When he found what a whirlwind he had started, he tried to shift his position and explain away much that he had said. We asked him to let us have the sermon for publication, that we might not do him injustice. But as he contradicted himself flatly in trying to restate his discourse, and refused to let us see his sermon, those who heard him were disgusted with his sophistry and tergiversation.

However, our labors in this direction are having an effect. Women are now making their attacks on the Church all along the line. They are demanding their right to be ordained as ministers, elders, deacons, and to be received as delegates in all the ecclesiastical convocations. At last they ask of the Church just what they have asked of the State for the last half century–perfect equality–and the clergy, as a body, are quite as hostile to their demands as the statesmen.

On my way back to Johnstown I spent ten days at Troy, where I preached in the Unitarian church on Sunday evening. During this visit we had two hearings in the Capitol at Albany–one in the Senate Chamber and one in the Assembly, before the Committee on Grievances. On both occasions Mrs. Mary Seymour Howell, Mrs. Devereux Blake, Mrs. Caroline Gilkey Rogers, and I addressed the Committee. Being open to the public, the chamber was crowded. It was nearly forty years since I had made my first appeal in the old Capitol at Albany. My reflections were sad and discouraging, as I sat there and listened to the speakers and remembered how long we had made our appeals at that bar, from year to year, in vain. The members of the committee presented the same calm aspect as their predecessors, as if to say, “Be patient, dear sisters, eternity is before us; this is simply a question of time. What may not come in your day, future generations will surely possess.” It is always pleasant to know that our descendants are to enjoy life, liberty, and happiness; but, when one is gasping for one breath of freedom, this reflection is not satisfying.

Returning to my native hills, I found the Lenten season had fairly set in, which I always dreaded on account of the solemn, tolling bell, the Episcopal church being just opposite our residence. On Sunday we had the bells of six churches all going at the same time. It is strange how long customs continue after the original object has ceased to exist. At an early day, when the country was sparsely settled and the people lived at great distances, bells were useful to call them together when there was to be a church service. But now, when the churches are always open on Sunday, and every congregation knows the hour of services and all have clocks, bells are not only useless, but they are a terrible nuisance to invalids and nervous people. If I am ever so fortunate as to be elected a member of a town council, my first efforts will be toward the suppression of bells.

To encourage one of my sex in the trying profession of book agent, I purchased, about this time, Dr. Lord’s “Beacon Lights of History,” and read the last volume devoted to women, Pagan and Christian, saints and sinners. It is very amusing to see the author’s intellectual wriggling and twisting to show that no one can be good or happy without believing in the Christian religion. In describing great women who are not Christians, he attributes all their follies and miseries to that fact. In describing Pagan women, possessed of great virtues, he attributes all their virtues to Nature’s gifts, which enable them to rise superior to superstitions. After dwelling on the dreary existence of those not of Christian faith, he forthwith pictures his St. Teresa going through twenty years of doubts and fears about the salvation of her soul. The happiest people I have known have been those who gave themselves no concern about their own souls, but did their uttermost to mitigate the miseries of others.

In May, 1885, we left Johnstown and took possession of our house at Tenafly, New Jersey. It seemed very pleasant, after wandering in the Old World and the New, to be in my own home once more, surrounded by the grand trees I so dearly loved; to see the gorgeous sunsets, the twinkling fireflies; to hear the whippoorwills call their familiar note, while the June bugs and the mosquitoes buzz outside the nets through which they cannot enter. Many people complain of the mosquito in New Jersey, when he can so easily be shut out of the family circle by nets over all the doors and windows. I had a long piazza, encased in netting, where paterfamilias, with his pipe, could muse and gaze at the stars unmolested.

June brought Miss Anthony and a box of fresh documents for another season of work on vol. III. of our History. We had a flying visit from Miss Eddy of Providence, daughter of Mrs. Eddy who gave fifty thousand dollars to the woman suffrage movement, and a granddaughter of Francis Jackson of Boston, who also left a generous bequest to our reform. We found Miss Eddy a charming young woman with artistic tastes. She showed us several pen sketches she had made of some of our reformers, that were admirable likenesses.

Mr. Stanton’s “Random Recollections” were published at this time and were well received. A dinner was given him, on his eightieth birthday (June 27, 1885), by the Press Club of New York city, with speeches and toasts by his lifelong friends. As no ladies were invited I can only judge from the reports in the daily papers, and what I could glean from the honored guest himself, that it was a very interesting occasion.

Sitting in the summerhouse, one day, I witnessed a most amusing scene. Two of the boys, in search of employment, broke up a hornets’ nest. Bruno, our large Saint Bernard dog, seeing them jumping about, thought he would join in the fun. The boys tried to drive him away, knowing that the hornets would get in his long hair, but Bruno’s curiosity outran his caution and he plunged into the midst of the swarm and was soon completely covered. The buzzing and stinging soon sent the poor dog howling on the run. He rushed as usual, in his distress, to Amelia in the kitchen, where she and the girls were making preserves and ironing. When they saw the hornets, they dropped irons, spoons, jars, everything, and rushed out of doors screaming. I appreciated the danger in time to get safely into the house before Bruno came to me for aid and comfort. At last they played the hose on him until he found some relief; the maidens, armed with towels, thrashed right and left, and the boys, with evergreen branches, fought bravely. I had often heard of “stirring up a hornets’ nest,” but I had never before seen a practical demonstration of its danger. For days after, if Bruno heard anything buzz, he would rush for the house at the top of his speed. But in spite of these occasional lively episodes, vol. III. went steadily on.

My suffrage sons and daughters through all the Northern and Western States decided to celebrate, on the 12th of November, 1885, my seventieth birthday, by holding meetings or sending me gifts and congratulations. This honor was suggested by Mrs. Elizabeth Boynton Harbert in _The New Era_, a paper she was editing at that time. The suggestion met with a ready response. I was invited to deliver an essay on “The Pleasures of Age,” before the suffrage association in New York city. It took me a week to think them up, but with the inspiration of Longfellow’s “Morituri Salutamus,” I was almost converted to the idea that “we old folks” had the best of it.

The day was ushered in with telegrams, letters, and express packages, which continued to arrive during the week. From England, France, and Germany came cablegrams, presents, and letters of congratulation, and from all quarters came books, pictures, silver, bronzes, California blankets, and baskets of fruits and flowers. The eulogies in prose and verse were so hearty and numerous that the ridicule and criticism of forty years were buried so deep that I shall remember them no more. There is no class who enjoy the praise of their fellow-men like those who have had only blame most of their lives. The evening of the 12th we had a delightful reunion at the home of Dr. Clemence Lozier, where I gave my essay, after which Mrs. Lozier, Mrs. Blake, Miss Anthony, “Jenny June,” and some of the younger converts to our platform, all made short speeches of praise and congratulation, which were followed by music, recitations, and refreshments.

All during the autumn Miss Anthony and I looked forward to the spring, when we hoped to have completed the third and last volume of our History, and thus end the labors of ten years. We had neither time nor eyesight to read aught but the imperative documents for the History. I was hungering for some other mental pabulum.

In January, 1886, I was invited to dine with Laura Curtis Bullard, to meet Mme. Durand (Henri Greville), the novelist. She seemed a politic rather than an earnest woman of principle. As it was often very inconvenient for me to entertain distinguished visitors, who desired to meet me in my country home during the winter, Mrs. Bullard generously offered always to invite them to her home. She and her good mother have done their part in the reform movements in New York by their generous hospitalities.

Reading the debates in Congress, at that time, on a proposed appropriation for a monument to General Grant, I was glad to see that Senator Plumb of Kansas was brave enough to express his opinion against it. I fully agree with him. So long as multitudes of our people who are doing the work of the world live in garrets and cellars, in ignorance, poverty, and vice, it is the duty of Congress to apply the surplus in the national treasury to objects which will feed, clothe, shelter, and educate these wards of the State. If we must keep on continually building monuments to great men, they should be handsome blocks of comfortable homes for the poor, such as Peabody built in London. Senator Hoar of Massachusetts favored the Grant monument, partly to cultivate the artistic tastes of our people. We might as well cultivate our tastes on useful dwellings as on useless monuments. Surely sanitary homes and schoolhouses for the living would be more appropriate monuments to wise statesmen than the purest Parian shafts among the sepulchers of the dead.

The strikes and mobs and settled discontent of the masses warn us that, although we forget and neglect their interests and our duties, we do it at the peril of all. English statesmen are at their wits’ end to-day with their tangled social and industrial problems, threatening the throne of a long line of kings. The impending danger cannot be averted by any surface measures; there must be a radical change in the relations of capital and labor.

In April rumors of a domestic invasion, wafted on every Atlantic breeze, warned us that our children were coming from England and France–a party of six. Fortunately, the last line of the History was written, so Miss Anthony, with vol. III. and bushels of manuscripts, fled to the peaceful home of her sister Mary at Rochester. The expected party sailed from Liverpool the 26th of May, on the _America_ After being out three days the piston rod broke and they were obliged to return. My son-in-law, W.H. Blatch, was so seasick and disgusted that he remained in England, and took a fresh start two months later, and had a swift passage without any accidents. The rest were transferred to the _Germanic_, and reached New York the 12th of June. Different divisions of the party were arriving until midnight. Five people and twenty pieces of baggage! The confusion of such an invasion quite upset the even tenor of our days, and it took some time for people and trunks to find their respective niches. However crowded elsewhere, there was plenty of room in our hearts, and we were unspeakably happy to have our flock all around us once more.

I had long heard so many conflicting opinions about the Bible–some saying it taught woman’s emancipation and some her subjection–that, during this visit of my children, the thought came to me that it Would be well to collect every biblical reference to women in one small compact volume, and see on which side the balance of influence really was. To this end I proposed to organize a committee of competent women, with some Latin, Greek, and Hebrew scholars in England and the United States, for a thorough revision of the Old and New Testaments, and to ascertain what the status of woman really was under the Jewish and Christian religion. As the Church has thus far interpreted the Bible as teaching woman’s subjection, and none of the revisions by learned ecclesiastics have thrown any new light on the question, it seemed to me pre-eminently proper and timely for women themselves to review the book. As they are now studying theology in many institutions of learning, asking to be ordained as preachers, elders, deacons, and to be admitted, as delegates, to Synods and General Assemblies, and are refused on Bible grounds, it seemed to me high time for women to consider those scriptural arguments and authorities.

A happy coincidence enabled me at last to begin this work. While my daughter, Mrs. Stanton Blatch, was with me, our friend Miss Frances Lord, on our earnest invitation, came to America to visit us. She landed in New York the 4th of August, 1886. As it was Sunday she could not telegraph, hence there was no one to meet her, and, as we all sat chatting on the front piazza, suddenly, to our surprise and delight, she drove up. After a few days’ rest and general talk of passing events, I laid the subject so near my heart before her and my daughter. They responded promptly and heartily, and we immediately set to work. I wrote to every woman who I thought might join such a committee, and Miss Lord ran through the Bible in a few days, marking each chapter that in any way referred to women. We found that the work would not be so great as we imagined, as all the facts and teachings in regard to women occupied less than one-tenth of the whole Scriptures. We purchased some cheap Bibles, cut out the texts, pasted them at the head of the page, and, underneath, wrote our commentaries as clearly and concisely as possible. We did not intend to have sermons or essays, but brief comments, to keep “The Woman’s Bible” as small as possible.

Miss Lord and I worked several weeks together, and Mrs. Blatch and I, during the winter of 1887, wrote all our commentaries on the Pentateuch. But we could not succeed in forming the committee, nor, after writing innumerable letters, make the women understand what we wanted to do. I still have the commentaries of the few who responded, and the letters of those who declined–a most varied and amusing bundle of manuscripts in themselves. Some said the Bible had no special authority with them; that, like the American Constitution, it could be interpreted to mean anything–slavery, when we protected that “Institution,” and freedom, when it existed no longer. Others said that woman’s sphere was clearly marked out in the Scriptures, and all attempt at emancipation was flying in the face of Providence. Others said they considered all the revisions made by men thus far, had been so many acts of sacrilege, and they did hope women would not add their influence, to weaken the faith of the people in the divine origin of the Holy Book, for, if men and women could change it in one particular, they could in all. On the whole the correspondence was discouraging.

Later Miss Lord became deeply interested in psychical researches, and I could get no more work out of her. And as soon as we had finished the Pentateuch, Mrs. Blatch declared she would go no farther; that it was the driest history she had ever read, and most derogatory to women. My beloved coadjutor, Susan B. Anthony, said that she thought it a work of supererogation; that when our political equality was recognized and we became full-fledged American citizens, the Church would make haste to bring her Bibles and prayer books, creeds and discipline up to the same high-water mark of liberty.

Helen Gardener said: “I consider this a most important proposal, and if you and I can ever stay on the same side of the Atlantic long enough, we will join hands and do the work. In fact, I have begun already with Paul’s Epistles, and am fascinated with the work. The untenable and unscientific positions he takes in regard to women are very amusing. Although the first chapter of Genesis teaches the simultaneous creation of man and woman, Paul bases woman’s subjection on the priority of man, and because woman was of the man. As the historical fact is that, as far back as history dates, the man has been of the woman, should he therefore be forever in bondage to her? Logically, according to Paul, he should.”

I consulted several friends, such as Dr. William F. Channing, Mr. and Mrs. Moncure D. Conway, Gertrude Garrison, Frederick Cabot, and Edward M. Davis, as to the advisability of the work, and they all agreed that such a volume, showing woman’s position under the Jewish and Christian religions, would be valuable, but none of them had time to assist in the project. Though, owing to all these discouragements, I discontinued my work, I never gave up the hope of renewing it some time, when other of my coadjutors should awake to its importance and offer their services.

On October 27, 1886, with my daughter, nurse, and grandchild, I again sailed for England. Going out of the harbor in the clear early morning, we had a fine view of Bartholdi’s statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. We had a warm, gentle rain and a smooth sea most of the way, and, as we had a stateroom on deck, we could have the portholes open, and thus get all the air we desired. With novels and letters, chess and whist the time passed pleasantly, and, on the ninth day, we landed in Liverpool.

CHAPTER XXIV.

ENGLAND AND FRANCE REVISITED.

On arriving at Basingstoke we found awaiting us cordial letters of welcome from Miss Biggs, Miss Priestman, Mrs. Peter Taylor, Mrs. Priscilla McLaren, Miss Mueller, Mrs. Jacob Bright, and Mme. de Barrau. During the winter Mrs. Margaret Bright Lucas, Drs. Kate and Julia Mitchell, Mrs. Charles McLaren, Mrs. Saville, and Miss Balgarnie each spent a day or two with us. The full-dress costume of the ladies was a great surprise to my little granddaughter Nora. She had never seen bare shoulders in a drawing room, and at the first glance she could not believe her eyes. She slowly made the circuit of the room, coming nearer and nearer until she touched the lady’s neck to see whether or not it was covered with some peculiar shade of dress, but finding the bare skin she said: “Why, you are not dressed, are you? I see your skin!” The scene suggested to me the amusing description in Holmes’ “Elsie Venner,” of the efforts of a young lady, seated between two old gentlemen, to show off her white shoulders. The vicar would not look, but steadily prayed that he might not be led into temptation; but the physician, with greater moral hardihood, deliberately surveyed the offered charms, with spectacles on his nose.

In December Hattie and I finished Dowden’s “Life of Shelley,” which we had been reading together. Here we find a sensitive, refined nature, full of noble purposes, thrown out when too young to meet all life’s emergencies, with no loving Mentor to guard him from blunders or to help to retrieve the consequences of his false positions. Had he been surrounded with a few true friends, who could appreciate what was great in him and pity what was weak, his life would have been different. His father was hard, exacting, and unreasonable; hence he had no influence. His mother had neither the wisdom to influence him, nor the courage to rebuke her husband; and alas! poor woman, she was in such thraldom herself to conventionalisms, that she could not understand a youth who set them all at defiance.

[Illustration: THREE GENERATIONS.]

[Illustration: MY EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY.]

We also read Cotton Morrison’s “Service of Man,” which I hope will be a new inspiration to fresh labors by all for the elevation of humanity, and Carnegie’s “Triumphant Democracy,” showing the power our country is destined to wield and the vastness of our domain. This book must give every American citizen a feeling of deeper responsibility than ever before to act well his part. We read, too, Harriet Martineau’s translation of the works of Auguste Comte, and found the part on woman most unsatisfactory. He criticises Aristotle’s belief that slavery is a necessary element of social life, yet seems to think the subjection of woman in modern civilization a matter of no importance.

All through that winter Hattie and I occupied our time studying the Bible and reading the commentaries of Clark, Scott, and Wordsworth (Bishop of Lincoln). We found nothing grand in the history of the Jews nor in the morals inculcated in the Pentateuch. Surely the writers had a very low idea of the nature of their God. They make Him not only anthropomorphic, but of the very lowest type, jealous and revengeful, loving violence rather than mercy. I know no other books that so fully teach the subjection and degradation of woman. Miriam, the eldest sister of Moses and Aaron, a genius, a prophetess, with the family aptitude for diplomacy and government, is continually set aside because of her sex–permitted to lead the women in singing and dancing, nothing more. No woman could offer sacrifices nor eat the holy meats because, according to the Jews, she was too unclean and unholy.

But what is the use, say some, of attaching any importance to the customs and teachings of a barbarous people? None whatever. But when our bishops, archbishops, and ordained clergymen stand up in their pulpits and read selections from the Pentateuch with reverential voice, they make the women of their congregation believe that there really is some divine authority for their subjection. In the Thirty-First Chapter of Numbers, in speaking of the spoils taken from the Midianites, the live stock is thus summarized: “Five thousand sheep, threescore and twelve thousand beeves, threescore and one thousand asses, and thirty-two thousand women and women-children,” which Moses said the warriors might keep for themselves. What a pity a Stead had not been there, to protect the child-women of the Midianites and rebuke the Lord’s chosen people as they deserved! In placing the women after the sheep, the beeves, and the asses, we have a fair idea of their comparative importance in the scale of being, among the Jewish warriors. No wonder the right reverend bishops and clergy of the Methodist Church, who believe in the divine origin and authority of the Pentateuch, exclude women from their great convocations in the American Republic in the nineteenth century. In view of the fact that our children are taught to reverence the book as of divine origin, I think we have a right to ask that, in the next revision, all such passages be expurgated, and to that end learned, competent women must have an equal place on the revising committee.

Mrs. Margaret Bright Lucas came, in February, to spend a few days with us. She was greatly shocked with many texts in the Old Testament, to which we called her attention, and said: “Here is an insidious influence against the elevation of women, which but few of us have ever taken into consideration.” She had just returned from a flying visit to America; having made two voyages across the Atlantic and traveled three thousand miles across the continent in two months, and this at the age of sixty-eight years. She was enthusiastic in her praises of the women she met in the United States. As her name was already on the committee to prepare “The Woman’s Bible,” we had her hearty approval of the undertaking.

In October Hattie went to London, to attend a meeting to form a Woman’s Liberal Federation. Mrs. Gladstone presided. The speeches made were simply absurd, asking women to organize themselves to help the Liberal party, which had steadily denied to them the political rights they had demanded for twenty years. Professor Stuart capped the climax of insult when he urged as “one great advantage in getting women to canvass for the Liberal party was that they would give their services free.” The Liberals saw what enthusiasm the Primrose Dames had roused for the Tory party, really carrying the election, and they determined to utilize a similar force in their ranks. But the whole movement was an insult to women.

The one absorbing interest, then, was the Queen’s Jubilee. Ladies formed societies to collect funds to place at the disposal of the Queen. Every little village was divided into districts, and different ladies took the rounds, begging pennies at every door of servants and the laboring masses, and pounds of the wealthy people. One of them paid us a visit. She asked the maid who opened the door to see the rest of the servants, and she begged a penny of each of them. She then asked to see the mistress. My daughter descended; but, instead of a pound, she gave her a lecture on the Queen’s avarice. When the fund was started the people supposed the Queen was to return it all to the people in liberal endowments of charitable institutions, but her Majesty proposed to build a monument to Prince Albert, although he already had one in London. “The Queen,” said my daughter, “should celebrate her Jubilee by giving good gifts to her subjects, and not by filching from the poor their pennies. To give half her worldly possessions to her impoverished people, to give Home Rule to Ireland, or to make her public schools free, would be deeds worthy her Jubilee; but to take another cent from those who are hopelessly poor is a sin against suffering humanity.” The young woman realized the situation and said: “I shall go no farther. I wish I could return every penny I have taken from the needy.”

The most fitting monuments this nation can build are schoolhouses and homes for those who do the work of the world. It is no answer to say that they are accustomed to rags and hunger. In this world of plenty every human being has a right to food, clothes, decent shelter, and the rudiments of education. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” when one-tenth of the human family, booted and spurred, ride the masses to destruction. I detest the words “royalty” and “nobility,” and all the ideas and institutions based on their recognition. In April the great meeting in Hyde Park occurred–a meeting of protest against the Irish Coercion Bill. It was encouraging to see that there is a democratic as well as an aristocratic England. The London journals gave very different accounts of the meeting. The Tories said it was a mob of inconsequential cranks. Reason teaches us, however, that you cannot get up a large, enthusiastic meeting unless there is some question pending that touches the heart of the people. Those who say that Ireland has no grievances are ignorant alike of human nature and the facts of history.

On April 14 I went to Paris, my daughter escorting me to Dover, and my son meeting me at Calais. It was a bright, pleasant day, and I sat on deck and enjoyed the trip, though many of my fellow passengers were pale and limp. Whirling to Paris in an easy car, through the beautiful wheatfields and vineyards, I thought of the old lumbering diligence, in which we went up to Paris at a snail’s pace forty years before. I remained in Paris until October, and never enjoyed six months more thoroughly. One of my chief pleasures was making the acquaintance of my fourth son, Theodore. I had seen but little of him since he was sixteen years old, as he then spent five years at Cornell University, and as many more in Germany and France. He had already published two works, “The Life of Thiers,” and “The Woman Question in Europe.” To have a son interested in the question to which I have devoted my life, is a source of intense satisfaction. To say that I have realized in him all I could desire, is the highest praise a fond mother can give.

My first experience in an apartment, living on an even plane, no running up and down stairs, was as pleasant as it was surprising. I had no idea of the comfort and convenience of this method of keeping house. Our apartment in Paris consisted of drawing room, dining room, library, a good-sized hall, in which stood a large American stove, five bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen, and a balcony fifty-two feet long and four feet wide. The first few days it made me dizzy to look down from this balcony to the street below. I was afraid the whole structure would give way, it appeared so light and airy, hanging midway between earth and heaven. But my confidence in its steadfastness and integrity grew day by day, and it became my favorite resort, commanding, as it did, a magnificent view of the whole city and distant surroundings.

There were so many Americans in town, and French reformers to be seen, that I gave Wednesday afternoon receptions during my whole visit. To one of our “at homes” came Mlle. Maria Deraismes, the only female Free Mason in France, and the best woman orator in the country; her sister, Mme. Feresse-Deraismes, who takes part in all woman movements; M. Leon Richer, then actively advocating the civil and political rights of women through the columns of his vigorous journal; Mme. Griess Traut, who makes a specialty of Peace work; Mme. Isabelle Bogelot, who afterward attended the Washington Council of 1888, and who is a leader in charity work; the late Mme. Emilie de Morsier, who afterward was the soul of the International Congress of 1889, at Paris; Mme. Pauline Kergomard, the first woman to be made a member of the Superior Council of public Instruction in France, and Mme. Henri Greville, the novelist.

Among the American guests at our various Wednesday receptions were Mr. and Mrs. John Bigelow, Mr. and Mrs. James G. Blaine, Mr. Daniel C. French, the Concord sculptor; Mrs. J.C. Ayer, Mr. L. White Busbey, one of the editors of the Chicago _Inter-Ocean_; Rev. Dr. Henry M. Field, Charles Gifford Dyer, the painter and father of the gifted young violinist, Miss Hella Dyer; the late Rev. Mr. Moffett, then United States Consul at Athens, Mrs. Governor Bagley and daughter of Michigan; Grace Greenwood and her talented daughter, who charmed everyone with her melodious voice, and Miss Bryant, daughter of the poet. One visitor who interested us most was the Norwegian novelist and republican, Bjornstjorne Bjornson.

We had several pleasant interviews with Frederick Douglass and his wife, some exciting games of chess with Theodore Tilton, in the pleasant apartments of the late W.J.A. Fuller, Esq., and his daughter, Miss Kate Fuller. At this time I also met our brilliant countrywoman, Louise Chandler Moulton. Seeing so many familiar faces, I could easily imagine myself in New York rather than in Paris. I attended several receptions and dined with Mrs. Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, greatly enjoying her clever descriptions of a winter on the Nile in her own dahabeeyeh. I heard Pere Hyacinthe preach, and met his American wife on several occasions. I took long drives every day through the parks and pleasant parts of the city. With garden concerts, operas, theaters, and the Hippodrome I found abundant amusement. I never grew weary of the latter performance–the wonderful intelligence displayed there by animals, being a fresh surprise to me every time I went.

I attended a reception at the Elysee Palace, escorted by M. Joseph Fabre, then a deputy and now a senator. M. Fabre is the author of a play and several volumes devoted to Joan of Arc. He presented me to the President and to Mme. Jules Grevy. I was also introduced to M. Jules Ferry, then Prime Minister, who said, among other things: “I am sorry to confess it, but it is only too true, our French women are far behind their sisters in America.” The beautiful, large garden was thrown open that evening,–it was in July,–and the fine band of the Republican Guard gave a delightful concert under the big trees. I also met M. Grevy’s son-in-law, M. Daniel Wilson. He was then a deputy and one of the most powerful politicians in France. A few months later he caused his father’s political downfall. I have a vivid recollection of him because he could speak English, his father having been a British subject.

I visited the picture galleries once more, after a lapse of nearly fifty years, and was struck by the fact that, in that interval, several women had been admitted to places of honor. This was especially noticeable in the Luxembourg Sculpture Gallery, where two women, Mme. Bertaux and the late Claude Vignon, wife of M. Rouvier, were both represented by good work–the first and only women sculptors admitted to that gallery.

At a breakfast party which we gave, I made the acquaintance of General Cluseret, who figured in our Civil War, afterward became War Minister of the Paris Commune, and is now member of the Chamber of Deputies. He learned English when in America, and had not entirely forgotten it. He told anecdotes of Lincoln, Stanton, Sumner, Fremont, Garibaldi, the Count of Paris, and many other famous men whom he once knew, and proved to be a very interesting conversationalist.

Old bookstands were always attractive centers of interest to Theodore, and, among other treasure-troves, he brought home one day a boy of fourteen years, whose office it had been to watch the books. He was a bright, cheery little fellow of mixed French and German descent, who could speak English, French, and German. He was just what we had desired, to run errands and tend the door. As he was delighted with the idea of coming to us, we went to see his parents. We were pleased with their appearance and surroundings. We learned that they were members of the Lutheran Church, that the boy was one of the shining lights in Sunday school, and the only point in our agreement on which they were strenuous was that he should go regularly to Sunday school and have time to learn his lessons.

So “Immanuel” commenced a new life with us, and as we had unbounded confidence in the boy’s integrity, we excused his shortcomings, and, for a time, believed all he said. But before long we found out that the moment we left the house he was in the drawing room, investigating every drawer, playing on the piano, or sleeping on the sofa. Though he was told never to touch the hall stove, he would go and open all the draughts and make it red-hot. Then we adopted the plan of locking up every part of the apartment but the kitchen. He amused himself burning holes through the pantry shelves, when the cook was out, and boring holes, with a gimlet, through a handsomely carved bread board. One day, in making up a spare bed for a friend, under the mattress were found innumerable letters he was supposed to have mailed at different times. When we reprimanded him for his pranks he would look at us steadily, but sorrowfully, and, immediately afterward, we would hear him dancing down the corridor singing, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus.” If he had given heed to one-half we said to him, he would have been safer in our hands than in those of his imaginary protector. He turned out a thief, an unmitigated liar, a dancing dervish, and, through all our experiences of six weeks with him, his chief reading was his Bible and Sunday-school books. The experience, however, was not lost on Theodore–he has never suggested a boy since, and a faithful daughter of Eve reigns in his stead.

During the summer I was in the hands of two artists, Miss Anna Klumpke, who painted my portrait, and Paul Bartlett, who molded my head in clay. To shorten the operation, sometimes I sat for both at the same time. Although neither was fully satisfied with the results of their labors, we had many pleasant hours together, discussing their art, their early trials, and artists in general. Each had good places in the _Salon_, and honorable mention that year. It is sad to see so many American girls and boys, who have no genius for painting or sculpture, spending their days in garrets, in solitude and poverty, with the vain hope of earning distinction. Women of all classes are awaking to the necessity of self-support, but few are willing to do the ordinary useful work for which they are fitted. In the _Salon_ that year six thousand pictures were offered, and only two thousand accepted, and many of these were “skyed.”

It was lovely on our balcony at night to watch the little boats, with their lights, sailing up and down the Seine, especially the day of the great annual fete,–the 14th of July,–when the whole city was magnificently illuminated. We drove about the city on several occasions at midnight, to see the life–men, women, and children enjoying the cool breezes, and the restaurants all crowded with people.

Sunday in Paris is charming–it is the day for the masses of the people. All the galleries of art, the libraries, concert halls, and gardens are open to them. All are dressed in their best, out driving, walking, and having picnics in the various parks and gardens; husbands, wives, and children laughing and talking happily together. The seats in the streets and parks are all filled with the laboring masses. The benches all over Paris–along the curbstones in every street and highway–show the care given to the comfort of the people. You will see mothers and nurses with their babies and children resting on these benches, laboring men eating their lunches and sleeping there at noon, the organ grinders and monkeys, too, taking their comfort. In France you see men and women everywhere together; in England the men generally stagger about alone, caring more for their pipes and beer than their mothers, wives, and sisters. Social life, among the poor especially, is far more natural and harmonious in France than in England, because women mix more freely in business and amusements.

Coming directly from Paris to London, one is forcibly struck with the gloom of the latter city, especially at night. Paris with its electric lights is brilliant everywhere, while London, with its meager gas jets here and there struggling with the darkness, is as gloomy and desolate as Dore’s pictures of Dante’s Inferno. On Sunday, when the shops are closed, the silence and solitude of the streets, the general smoky blackness of the buildings and the atmosphere give one a melancholy impression of the great center of civilization. Now that it has been discovered that smoke can be utilized and the atmosphere cleared, it is astonishing that the authorities do not avail themselves of the discovery, and thus bring light and joy and sunshine into that city, and then clean the soot of centuries from their blackened buildings.

On my return to England I spent a day with Miss Emily Lord, at her kindergarten establishment. She had just returned from Sweden, where she spent six weeks in the carpenter’s shop, studying the Swedish Sloejd system, in which children of twelve years old learn to use tools, making spoons, forks, and other implements. Miss Lord showed us some of her work, quite creditable for her first attempts. She said the children in the higher grades of her school enjoyed the carpenter work immensely and became very deft in the use of tools.

On November 1, 1887, we reached Basingstoke once more, and found all things in order. My diary tells of several books I read during the winter and what the authors say of women; one the “Religio Medici,” by Sir Thomas Browne, M.D., in which the author discourses on many high themes, God, Creation, Heaven, Hell, and vouchsafes one sentence on woman. Of her he says: “I was never married but once and commend their resolution who never marry twice, not that I disallow of second, nor in all cases of polygamy, which, considering the unequal number of the sexes, may also be necessary. The whole world was made for man, but the twelfth part of man for woman. Man is the whole world–the breath of God; woman the rib and crooked piece of man. I speak not in prejudice nor am averse from that sweet sex, but naturally amorous of all that is beautiful. I can look all day at a handsome picture, though it be but a horse.”

Turning to John Paul Friedrich Richter, I found in his chapter on woman many equally ridiculous statements mixed up with much fulsome admiration. After reading some volumes of Richter, I took up Heinrich Heine, the German poet and writer. He said: “Oh, the women! We must forgive them much, for they love much and many. Their hate is, properly, only love turned inside out. Sometimes they attribute some delinquency to us, because they think they can, in this way, gratify another man. When they write they have always one eye on the paper and the other eye on some man. This is true of all authoresses except the Countess Hahn Hahn, who has only one eye.” John Ruskin’s biography he gives us a glimpse of his timidity in regard to the sex, when a young man. He was very fond of the society of girls, but never knew how to approach them. He said he “was perfectly happy in serving them, would gladly make a bridge of himself for them to walk over, a beam to fasten a swing to for them–anything but to talk to them.” Such are some of the choice specimens of masculine wit I collected during my winter’s reading!

At a reception given to me by Drs. Julia and Kate Mitchell, sisters practicing medicine in London, I met Stepniak, the Russian Nihilist, a man of grand presence and fine conversational powers. He was about to go to America, apprehensive lest our Government should make an extradition treaty with Russia to return political offenders, as he knew that proposal had been made. A few weeks later he did visit the United States, and had a hearing before a committee of the Senate. He pointed out the character of the Nihilist movement, declaring Nihilists to be the real reformers, the true lovers of liberty, sacrificing themselves for the best interests of the people, and yet, as political prisoners, they are treated worse than the lowest class of criminals in the prisons and mines of Siberia.

I had a very unpleasant interview, during this visit to London, with Miss Lydia Becker, Miss Caroline Biggs, and Miss Blackburn, at the Metropole, about choosing delegates to the International Council of Women soon to be held in Washington. As there had been some irreconcilable dissensions in the suffrage association, and they could not agree as to whom their delegate should be, they decided to send none at all. I wrote at once to Mrs. Priscilla Bright McLaren, pointing out what a shame it would be if England, above all countries, should not be represented in the first International Council ever called by a suffrage association. She replied promptly that must not be, and immediately moved in the matter, and through her efforts three delegates were soon authorized to go, representing different constituencies–Mrs. Alice Cliff Scatcherd, Mrs. Ormiston Chant, and Mrs. Ashton Dilke.

Toward the last of February, 1888, we went again to London to make a few farewell visits to dear friends. We spent a few days with Mrs. Mona Caird, who was then reading Karl Pearson’s lectures on “Woman,” and expounding her views on marriage, which she afterward gave to the Westminster Review, and stirred the press to white heat both in England and America. “Is Marriage a Failure?” furnished the heading for our quack advertisements for a long time after. Mrs. Caird was a very graceful, pleasing woman, and so gentle in manner and appearance that no one would deem her capable of hurling such thunderbolts at the long-suffering Saxon people.

We devoted one day to Prince Krapotkine, who lives at Harrow, in the suburbs of London. A friend of his, Mr. Lieneff, escorted us there. We found the prince, his wife, and child in very humble quarters; uncarpeted floors, books and papers on pine shelves, wooden chairs, and the bare necessaries of life–nothing more. They indulge in no luxuries, but devote all they can spare to the publication of liberal opinions to be scattered in Russia, and to help Nihilists in escaping from the dominions of the Czar. The prince and princess took turns in holding and amusing the baby–then only one year old; fortunately it slept most of the time, so that the conversation flowed on for some hours. Krapotkine told us of his sad prison experiences, both in France and Russia. He said the series of articles by George Kennan in the _Century_ were not too highly colored, that the sufferings of men and women in Siberia and the Russian prisons could not be overdrawn. One of the refinements of cruelty they practice on prisoners is never to allow them to hear the human voice. A soldier always accompanies the warder who distributes the food, to see that no word is spoken. In vain the poor prisoner asks questions, no answer is ever made, no tidings from the outside world ever given. One may well ask what devil in human form has prescribed such prison life and discipline! I wonder if we could find a man in all Russia who would defend the system, yet someone is responsible for its terrible cruelties!

We returned to Basingstoke, passed the few remaining days in looking over papers and packing for the voyage, and, on March 4, 1888, Mrs. Blatch went with me to Southampton. On the train I met my companions for the voyage, Mrs. Gustafsen, Mrs. Ashton Dilke, and Baroness Gripenberg, from Finland, a very charming woman, to whom I felt a strong attraction. The other delegates sailed from Liverpool. We had a rough voyage and most of the passengers were very sick. Mrs. Dilke and I were well, however, and on deck every day, always ready to play whist and chess with a few gentlemen who were equally fortunate. I was much impressed with Mrs. Dilke’s kindness and generosity in serving others. There was a lady on board with two children, whose nurse at the last minute refused to go with her. The mother was sick most of the way, and Mrs. Dilke did all in her power to relieve her, by amusing the little boy, telling him stories, walking with him on deck, and watching him throughout the day, no easy task to perform for an entire stranger. The poor little mother with a baby in her arms must have appreciated such kindly attention.

When the pilot met us off Sandy Hook, he brought news of the terrible blizzard New York had just experienced, by which all communication with the world at large was practically suspended. The captain brought him down into the saloon to tell us all about it. The news was so startling that at first we thought the pilot was joking, but when he produced the metropolitan journals to verify his statements, we listened to the reading and what he had to say with profound astonishment. The second week in March, 1888, will be memorable in the history of storms in the vicinity of New York. The snow was ten feet deep in some places, and the side streets impassable either for carriages or sleighs. I hoped the city would be looking its best, for the first impression on my foreign friends, but it never looked worse, with huge piles of snow everywhere covered with black dust.

I started for Washington at three o’clock, the day after our arrival, reached there at ten o’clock, and found my beloved friends, Miss Anthony and Mrs. Spofford, with open arms and warm hearts to receive me. As the vessel was delayed two days, our friends naturally thought we, too, had encountered a blizzard, but we had felt nothing of it; on the contrary the last days were the most pleasant of the voyage.

CHAPTER XXV.

THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN.

Pursuant to the idea of the feasibility and need of an International Council of Women, mentioned in a preceding chapter, it was decided to celebrate the fourth decade of the woman suffrage movement in the United States by calling together such a council. At its nineteenth annual convention, held in January, 1887, the National Woman Suffrage Association resolved to assume the entire responsibility of holding a council, and to extend an invitation, for that purpose, to all associations of women in the trades, professions, and reforms, as well as those advocating political rights. Early in June, 1887, a call was issued for such a council to convene under the auspices of the National Woman Suffrage Association at Washington, D. C, on March 25, 1888. The grand assemblage of women, coming from all the countries of the civilized globe, proved that the call for such a council was opportune, while the order and dignity of the proceedings proved the women worthy the occasion. No one doubts now the wisdom of that initiative step nor the added power women have gained over popular thought through the International Council.

As the proceedings of the contention were fully and graphically reported in the _Woman’s Tribune_ at that time, and as its reports were afterward published in book form, revised and corrected by Miss Anthony, Miss Foster, and myself, I will merely say that our most sanguine expectations as to its success were more than realized. The large theater was crowded for an entire week, and hosts of able women spoke, as if specially inspired, on all the vital questions of the hour. Although the council was called and conducted by the suffrage association, yet various other societies were represented. Miss Anthony was the financier of the occasion and raised twelve thousand dollars for the purpose, which enabled her to pay all the expenses of the delegates in Washington, and for printing the report in book form. As soon as I reached Washington, Miss Anthony ordered me to remain conscientiously in my own apartment and to prepare a speech for delivery before the committees of the Senate and House, and another, as President, for the opening of the council. However, as Mrs. Spofford placed her carriage at our service, I was permitted to drive an hour or two every day about that magnificent city.

One of the best speeches at the council was made by Helen H. Gardener. It was a criticism of Dr. Hammond’s position in regard to the inferior size and quality of woman’s brain. As the doctor had never had the opportunity of examining the brains of the most distinguished women, and, probably, those only of paupers and criminals, she felt he had no data on which to base his conclusions. Moreover, she had the written opinion of several leading physicians, that it was quite impossible to distinguish the male from the female brain.

The hearing at the Capitol, after the meeting of the council, was very interesting, as all the foreign delegates were invited to speak each in the language of her own country; to address their alleged representatives in the halls of legislation was a privilege they had never enjoyed at home. It is very remarkable that English women have never made the demand for a hearing in the House of Commons, nor even for a decent place to sit, where they can hear the debates and see the fine proportions of the representatives. The delegates had several brilliant receptions at the Riggs House, and at the houses of Senator Stanford of California and Senator Palmer of Michigan. Miss Anthony and I spent two months in Washington, that winter. One of the great pleasures of our annual conventions was the reunion of our friends at the Riggs House, where we enjoyed the boundless hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Spofford.

The month of June I spent in New York city, where I attended several of Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll’s receptions and saw the great orator and iconoclast at his own fireside, surrounded by his admirers, and heard his beautiful daughters sing, which gave all who listened great pleasure, as they have remarkably fine voices. One has since married, and is now pouring out her richest melodies in the opera of lullaby in her own nursery.

In the fall of 1888, as Ohio was about to hold a Constitutional convention, at the request of the suffrage association I wrote an appeal to the women of the State to demand their right to vote for delegates to such convention. Mrs. Southworth had five thousand copies of my appeal published and distributed at the exposition in Columbus. If ten righteous men could save Sodom, all the brilliant women I met in Cleveland should have saved Ohio from masculine domination.

The winter of 1888-89 I was to spend with my daughter in Omaha. I reached there in time to witness the celebration of the completion of the first bridge between that city and Council Bluffs. There was a grand procession in which all the industries of both towns were represented, and which occupied six hours in passing. We had a desirable position for reviewing the pageant, and very pleasant company to interpret the mottoes, symbols, and banners. The bridge practically brings the towns together, as electric street cars now run from one to the other in ten minutes. Here, for the first time, I saw the cable cars running up hill and down without any visible means of locomotion.

As the company ran an open car all winter, I took my daily ride of nine miles in it for fifteen cents. My son Daniel, who escorted me, always sat inside the car, while I remained on an outside seat. He was greatly amused with the remarks he heard about that “queer old lady that always rode outside in all kinds of wintry weather.” One day someone remarked loud enough for all to hear: “It is evident that woman does not know enough to come in when it rains.” “Bless me!” said the conductor, who knew me, “that woman knows as much as the Queen of England; too much to come in here by a hot stove.” How little we understand the comparative position of those whom we often criticise. There I sat enjoying the bracing air, the pure fresh breezes, indifferent to the fate of an old cloak and hood that had crossed the Atlantic and been saturated with salt water many times, pitying the women inside breathing air laden with microbes that dozens of people had been throwing off from time to time, sacrificing themselves to their stylish bonnets, cloaks, and dresses, suffering with the heat of the red-hot stove; and yet they, in turn, pitying me.

My seventy-third birthday I spent with my son Gerrit Smith Stanton, on his farm near Portsmouth, Iowa. As we had not met in several years, it took us a long time, in the network of life, to pick up all the stitches that had dropped since we parted. I amused myself darning stockings and drawing plans for an addition to his house. But in the spring my son and his wife came to the conclusion that they had had enough of the solitude of farm life and turned their faces eastward.

Soon after my return to Omaha, the editor of the _Woman’s Tribune_, Mrs. Clara B. Colby, called and lunched with us one day. She announced the coming State convention, at which I was expected “to make the best speech of my life.” She had all the arrangements to make, and invited me to drive round with her, in order that she might talk by the way. She engaged the Opera House, made arrangements at the Paxton House for a reception, called on all her faithful coadjutors to arouse enthusiasm in the work, and climbed up to the sanctums of the editors,–Democratic and Republican alike,–asking them to advertise the convention and to say a kind word for our oppressed class in our struggle for emancipation. They all promised favorable notices and comments, and they kept their promises. Mrs. Colby, being president of the Nebraska Suffrage Association, opened the meeting with an able speech, and presided throughout with tact and dignity.

I came very near meeting with an unfortunate experience at this convention. The lady who escorted me in her carriage to the Opera House carried the manuscript of my speech, which I did not miss until it was nearly time to speak, when I told a lady who sat by my side that our friend had forgotten to give me my manuscript. She went at once to her and asked for it. She remembered taking it, but what she had done with it she did not know. It was suggested that she might have dropped it in alighting from the carriage. And lo! they found it lying in the gutter. As the ground was frozen hard it was not even soiled. When I learned of my narrow escape, I trembled, for I had not prepared any train of thought for extemporaneous use. I should have been obliged to talk when my turn came, and if inspired by the audience or the good angels, might have done well, or might have failed utterly. The moral of this episode is, hold on to your manuscript.

Owing to the illness of my son-in-law, Frank E. Lawrence, he and my daughter went to California to see if the balmy air of San Diego would restore his health, and so we gave up housekeeping in Omaha, and, on April 20, 1889, in company with my eldest son I returned East and spent the summer at Hempstead, Long Island, with my son Gerrit and his wife.

We found Hempstead a quiet, old Dutch town, undisturbed by progressive ideas. Here I made the acquaintance of Chauncey C. Parsons and wife, formerly of Boston, who were liberal in their ideas on most questions. Mrs. Parsons and I attended one of the Seidl club meetings at Coney Island, where Seidl was then giving some popular concerts. The club was composed of two hundred women, to whom I spoke for an hour in the dining room of the hotel. With the magnificent ocean views, the grand concerts, and the beautiful women, I passed two very charming days by the seaside.

My son Henry had given me a phaeton, low and easy as a cradle, and I enjoyed many drives about Long Island. We went to Bryant’s home on the north side, several times, and in imagination I saw the old poet in the various shady nooks, inditing his lines of love and praise of nature in all her varying moods. Walking among the many colored, rustling leaves in the dark days of November, I could easily enter into his thought as he penned these lines:

“The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sear. Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead; They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit’s tread.”

In September, 1889, my daughter, Mrs. Stanton Lawrence, came East to attend a school of physical culture, and my other daughter, Mrs. Stanton Blatch, came from England to enjoy one of our bracing winters. Unfortunately we had rain instead of snow, and fogs instead of frost. However, we had a pleasant reunion at Hempstead. After a few days in and about New York visiting friends, we went to Geneva and spent several weeks in the home of my cousin, the daughter of Gerrit Smith.

She and I have been most faithful, devoted friends all our lives, and regular correspondents for more than fifty years. In the family circle we are ofttimes referred to as “Julius” and “Johnson.” These euphonious names originated in this way: When the Christy Minstrels first appeared, we went one evening to hear them. On returning home we amused our seniors with, as they said, a capital rehearsal. The wit and philosopher of the occasion were called, respectively, Julius and Johnson; so we took their parts and reproduced all the bright, humorous remarks they made. The next morning as we appeared at the breakfast table, Cousin Gerrit Smith, in his deep, rich voice said: “Good-morning, Julius and Johnson,” and he kept it up the few days we were in Albany together. One after another our relatives adopted the pseudonyms, and Mrs. Miller has been “Julius” and I “Johnson” ever since.

From Geneva we went to Buffalo, but, as I had a bad cold and a general feeling of depression, I decided to go to the Dansville Sanatorium and see what Doctors James and Kate Jackson could do for me. I was there six weeks and tried all the rubbings, pinchings, steamings; the Swedish movements of the arms, hands, legs, feet; dieting, massage, electricity, and, though I succeeded in throwing off only five pounds of flesh, yet I felt like a new being. It is a charming place to be in–the home is pleasantly situated and the scenery very fine. The physicians are all genial, and a cheerful atmosphere pervades the whole establishment.

As Christmas was at hand, the women were all half crazy about presents, and while good Doctors James and Kate were doing all in their power to cure the nervous affections of their patients, they would thwart the treatment by sitting in the parlor with the thermometer at seventy-two degrees, embroidering all kinds of fancy patterns,–some on muslin, some on satin, and some with colored worsteds on canvas,–inhaling the poisonous dyes, straining the optic nerves, counting threads and stitches, hour after hour, until utterly exhausted. I spoke to one poor victim of the fallacy of Christmas presents, and of her injuring her health in such useless employment. “What can I do?” she replied, “I must make presents and cannot afford to buy them.” “Do you think,” said I, “any of your friends would enjoy a present you made at the risk of your health? I do not think there is any ‘must’ in the matter. I never feel that I must give presents, and never want any, especially from those who make some sacrifice to give them.” This whole custom of presents at Christmas, New Year’s, and at weddings has come to be a bore, a piece of hypocrisy leading to no end of unhappiness. I do not know a more pitiful sight than to see a woman tatting, knitting, embroidering–working cats on the toe of some slipper, or tulips on an apron. The amount of nervous force that is expended in this way is enough to make angels weep. The necessary stitches to be taken in every household are quite enough without adding fancy work.

From Dansville my daughters and I went on to Washington to celebrate the seventieth birthday of Miss Anthony, who has always been to them as a second mother. Mrs. Blatch made a speech at the celebration, and Mrs. Lawrence gave a recitation. First came a grand supper at the Riggs House. The dining room was beautifully decorated; in fact, Mr. and Mrs. Spofford spared no pains to make the occasion one long to be remembered. May Wright Sewall was the mistress of ceremonies. She read the toasts and called on the different speakers. Phoebe Couzins, Rev. Anna Shaw, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Clara B. Colby, Senator Blair of New Hampshire, and many others responded. I am ashamed to say that we kept up the festivities till after two o’clock. Miss Anthony, dressed in dark velvet and point lace, spoke at the close with great pathos. Those of us who were there will not soon forget February 15, 1890.

After speaking before committees of the Senate and House, I gave the opening address at the annual convention. Mrs. Stanton Blatch spoke a few minutes on the suffrage movement in England, after which we hurried off to New York, and went on board the _Aller_, one of the North German Lloyd steamers, bound for Southampton. At the ship we found Captain Milinowski and his wife and two of my sons waiting our arrival. As we had eighteen pieces of baggage it took Mrs. Blatch some time to review them. My phaeton, which we decided to take, filled six boxes. An easy carriage for two persons is not common in England. The dogcarts prevail, the most uncomfortable vehicles one can possibly use. Why some of our Americans drive in those uncomfortable carts is a question. I think it is because they are “so English.” The only reason the English use them is because they are cheap. The tax on two wheels is one-half what it is on four, and in England all carriages are taxed. Before we Americans adopt fashions because they are English, we had better find out the _raison d’etre_ for their existence.

We had a very pleasant, smooth voyage, unusually so for blustering February and March. As I dislike close staterooms, I remained in the ladies’ saloon night and day, sleeping on a sofa. After a passage of eleven days we landed at Southampton, March 2, 1890. It was a beautiful moonlight night and we had a pleasant ride on the little tug to the wharf. We reached Basingstoke at eleven o’clock, found the family well and all things in order.

CHAPTER XXVI.

MY LAST VISIT TO ENGLAND.

As soon as we got our carriage put together Hattie and I drove out every day, as the roads in England are in fine condition all the year round. We had lovely weather during the spring, but the summer was wet and cold. With reading, writing, going up to London, and receiving visitors, the months flew by without our accomplishing half the work we proposed.

As my daughter was a member of the Albemarle Club, we invited several friends to dine with us there at different times. There we had a long talk with Mr. Stead, the editor of the _Pall Mall Gazette_, on his position in regard to Russian affairs, “The Deceased Wife’s Sister Bill,” and the divorce laws of England. Mr. Stead is a fluent talker as well as a good writer. He is the leader of the social purity movement in England. The wisdom of his course toward Sir Charles Dilke and Mr. Parnell was questioned by many; but there is a touch of the religious fanatic in Mr. Stead, as in many of his followers.

There were several problems in social ethics that deeply stirred the English people in the year of our Lord 1890. One was Charles Stewart Parnell’s platonic friendship with Mrs. O’Shea, and the other was the Lord Chancellor’s decision in the case of Mrs. Jackson. The pulpit, the press, and the people vied with each other in trying to dethrone Mr. Parnell as the great Irish leader, but the united forces did not succeed in destroying his self-respect, nor in hounding him out of the British Parliament, though, after a brave and protracted resistance on his part, they did succeed in hounding him into the grave.

It was pitiful to see the Irish themselves, misled by a hypocritical popular sentiment in England, turn against their great leader, the only one they had had for half a century who was able to keep the Irish question uppermost in the House of Commons year after year. The course of events since his death has proved the truth of what he told them, to wit: that there was no sincerity in the interest English politicians manifested in the question of Home Rule, and that the debates on that point would cease as soon as it was no longer forced on their consideration. And now when they have succeeded in killing their leader, they begin to realize their loss. The question evolved through the ferment of social opinions was concisely stated, thus: “Can a man be a great leader, a statesman, a general, an admiral, a learned chief justice, a trusted lawyer, or skillful physician, if he has ever broken the Seventh Commandment?”

I expressed my opinion in the _Westminster Review_, at the time, in the affirmative. Mrs. Jacob Bright, Mrs. Ellen Battelle Dietrick of Boston, Kate Field, in her _Washington_, agreed with me. Many other women spoke out promptly in the negative, and with a bitterness against those who took the opposite view that was lamentable.

The Jackson case was a profitable study, as it brought out other questions of social ethics, as well as points of law which were ably settled by the Lord Chancellor. It seems that immediately after Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were married, the groom was compelled to go to Australia. After two years he returned and claimed his bride, but in the interval she felt a growing aversion and determined not to live with him. As she would not even see him, with the assistance of friends he kidnaped her one day as she was coming out of church, and carried her to his home, where he kept her under surveillance until her friends, with a writ of _habeas corpus_, compelled him to bring her into court. The popular idea “based on the common law of England,” was, that the husband had this absolute right. The lower court, in harmony with this idea, maintained the husband’s right, and remanded her to his keeping, but the friends appealed to the higher court and the Lord Chancellor reversed the decision.

With regard to the right so frequently claimed, giving husbands the power to seize, imprison, and chastise their wives, he said: “I am of the opinion that no such right exists in law. I am of the opinion that no such right ever did exist in law. I say that no English subject has the right to imprison another English subject, whether his wife or not.” Through this decision the wife walked out of the court a free woman. The passage of the Married Women’s Property Bill in England in 1882 was the first blow at the old idea of coverture, giving to wives their rights of property, the full benefit of which they are yet to realize when clearer-minded men administer the laws. The decision of the Lord Chancellor, rendered March 18, 1891, declaratory of the personal rights of married women, is a still more important blow by just so much as the rights of person are more sacred than the rights of property.

One hundred years ago, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield gave his famous decision in the Somerset case, “That no slave could breathe on British soil,” and the slave walked out of court a free man. The decision of the Lord Chancellor, in the Jackson case, is far more important, more momentous in its consequences, as it affects not only one race but one-half of the entire human family. From every point of view this is the greatest legal decision of the century. Like the great Chief Justice of the last century, the Lord Chancellor, with a clearer vision than those about him, rises into a purer atmosphere of thought, and vindicates the eternal principles of justice and the dignity of British law, by declaring all statutes that make wives the bond slaves of their husbands, obsolete.

How long will it be in our Republic before some man will arise, great enough to so interpret our National Constitution as to declare that women, as citizens of the United States, cannot be governed by laws in the making of which they have no part? It is not Constitutional amendments nor statute laws we need, but judges on the bench of our Supreme Court, who, in deciding great questions of human rights, shall be governed by the broad principles of justice rather than precedent. One interesting feature in the trial of the Jackson case, was that both Lady Coleridge and the wife of the Lord Chancellor were seated on the bench, and evidently much pleased with the decision.

It is difficult to account for the fact that, while women of the highest classes in England take the deepest interest in politics and court decisions, American women of wealth and position are wholly indifferent to all public matters. While English women take an active part in elections, holding meetings and canvassing their districts, here, even the wives of judges, governors, and senators speak with bated breath of political movements, and seem to feel that a knowledge of laws and constitutions would hopelessly unsex them.

Toward the last of April, with my little granddaughter and her nurse, I went down to Bournemouth, one of the most charming watering places in England. We had rooms in the Cliff House with windows opening on the balcony, where we had a grand view of the bay and could hear the waves dashing on the shore. While Nora, with her spade and pail, played all day in the sands, digging trenches and filling them with water, I sat on the balcony reading “Diana of the Crossways,” and Bjornson’s last novel, “In God’s Way,” both deeply interesting. As all the characters in the latter come to a sad end, I could not see the significance of the title. If they walked in God’s way their career should have been successful.

I took my first airing along the beach in an invalid chair. These bath chairs are a great feature in all the watering places of England. They are drawn by a man or a donkey. The first day I took a man, an old sailor, who talked incessantly of his adventures, stopping to rest every five minutes, dissipating all my pleasant reveries, and making an unendurable bore of himself. The next day I told the proprietor to get me a man who would not talk all the time. The man he supplied jogged along in absolute silence; he would not even answer my questions. Supposing he had his orders to keep profound silence, after one or two attempts I said nothing. When I returned home, the proprietor asked me how I liked this man. “Ah!” I said, “he was indeed silent and would not even answer a question nor go anywhere I told him; still I liked him better than the talkative man.” He laughed heartily and said: “This man is deaf and dumb. I thought I would make sure that you should not be bored.” I joined in the laugh and said: “Well, to-morrow get me a man who can hear but cannot speak, if you can find one constructed on that plan.”

Bournemouth is noteworthy now as the burial place of Mary Wolstonecraft and the Shelleys. I went to see the monument that had been recently reared to their memory. On one side is the following inscription: “William Godwin, author of ‘Political Justice,’ born March 3rd, 1756, died April 7th, 1836. Mary Wolstonecraft Godwin, author of the ‘Vindication of the Rights of Women,’ born April 27th, 1759, died September 10th, 1797.” These remains were brought here, in 1851, from the churchyard of St. Pancras, London. On the other side are the following inscriptions: “Mary Wolstonecraft Godwin, daughter of William Godwin and widow of the late Percy Bysshe Shelley, born August 30th, 1797, died February 1st, 1851. Percy Florence Shelley, son of Percy Shelley and Mary Wolstonecraft, third baronet, born November 12th, 1819, died December 5th, 1889. “In Christ’s Church, six miles from Bournemouth, is a bas-relief in memory of the great poet. He is represented, dripping with seaweed, in the arms of the Angel of Death.

As I sat on my balcony hour after hour, reading and thinking of the Shelleys, watching the changing hues of the clouds and the beautiful bay, and listening to the sad monotone of the waves, these sweet lines of Whittier’s came to my mind:

“Its waves are kneeling on the strand, As kneels the human knee,–
Their white locks bowing to the sand, The priesthood of the sea!

“The blue sky is the temple’s arch, Its transept earth and air,
The music of its starry march
The chorus of a prayer.”

American letters, during this sojourn abroad, told of many losses, one after another, from our family circle; nine passed away within two years. The last was my sister Mrs. Bayard, who died in May, 1891. She was the oldest of our family, and had always been a second mother to her younger sisters, and her house our second home.

The last of June my son Theodore’s wife and daughter came over from France to spend a month with us. Lisette and Nora, about the same size, played and quarreled most amusingly together. They spent their mornings in the kindergarten school, and the afternoons with their pony, but rainy days I was impressed into their service to dress dolls and tell stories. I had the satisfaction to hear them say that their dolls were never so prettily dressed before, and that my stories were better than any in the books. As I composed the wonderful yarns as I went along, I used to get very tired, and sometimes, when I heard the little feet coming, I would hide, but they would hunt until they found me. When my youngest son was ten years old and could read for himself, I graduated in story telling, having practiced in that line twenty-one years. I vowed that I would expend no more breath in that direction, but the eager face of a child asking for stories is too much for me, and my vow has been often broken. All the time I was in England Nora claimed the twilight hour, and, in France, Lisette was equally pertinacious. When Victor Hugo grew tired telling his grandchildren stories, he would wind up with the story of an old gentleman who, after a few interesting experiences, took up his evening paper and began to read aloud. The children would listen a few moments and then, one by one, slip out of the room. Longfellow’s old gentleman, after many exciting scenes in his career, usually stretched himself on the lounge and feigned sleep. But grandmothers are not allowed to shelter themselves with such devices; they are required to spin on until the bedtime really arrives.

On July 16, one of the hottest days of the season, Mrs. Jacob Bright and daughter, Herbert Burroughs, and Mrs. Parkhurst came down from London, and we sat out of doors, taking our luncheon under the trees and discussing theosophy. Later in the month Hattie and I went to Yorkshire to visit Mr. and Mrs. Scatcherd at Morley Hall, and there spent several days. We had a prolonged discussion on personal rights. One side was against all governmental interference, such as compulsory education and the protection of children against cruel parents; the other side in favor of state interference that protected the individual in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and happiness. I took the latter position. Many parents are not fit to have the control of children, hence the State should see that they are sheltered, fed, clothed, and educated. It is far better for the State to make good citizens of its children in the beginning, than, in the end, to be compelled to care for them as criminals.

While in the north of England we spent a few days at Howard Castle, the summer residence of Lord and Lady Carlisle and their ten children. So large a family in high life is unusual. As I had known Lord and Lady Amberley in America, when they visited this country in 1867, I enjoyed meeting other members of their family. Lady Carlisle is in favor of woman suffrage and frequently speaks in public. She is a woman of great force of character, and of very generous impulses. She is trying to do her duty in sharing the good things of life with the needy. The poor for miles round often have picnics in her park, and large numbers of children from manufacturing towns spend weeks with her cottage tenants at her expense. Lord Carlisle is an artist and a student. As he has a poetical temperament and is aesthetic in all his tastes, Lady Carlisle is the business manager of the estate. She is a practical woman with immense executive ability. The castle with its spacious dining hall and drawing rooms, with its chapel, library, galleries of paintings and statuary, its fine outlook, extensive gardens and lawns was well worth seeing. We enjoyed our visit very much and discussed every imaginable subject.

When we returned to Basingstoke we had a visit from Mrs. Cobb, the wife of a member of Parliament, and sister-in-law of Karl Pearson, whose lectures on woman I had enjoyed so much. It was through reading his work, “The Ethic of Free Thought,” that the Matriarchate made such a deep impression on my mind and moved me to write a tract on the subject. People who have neither read nor thought on this point, question the facts as stated by Bachofen, Morgan, and Wilkeson; but their truth, I think, cannot be questioned. They seem so natural in the chain of reasoning and the progress of human development. Mrs. Cobb did a very good thing a few days before visiting us. At a great meeting called to promote Mr. Cobb’s election, John Morley spoke. He did not even say “Ladies and gentlemen” in starting, nor make the slightest reference to the existence of such beings as women. When he had finished, Mrs. Cobb arose mid great cheering and criticised his speech, making some quotations from his former speeches of a very liberal nature. The audience laughed and cheered, fully enjoying the rebuke. The next day in his speech he remembered his countrywomen, and on rising said, “Ladies and gentlemen.”

During August, 1891, I was busy getting ready for my voyage, as I was to sail on the _Ems_ on August 23. Although I had crossed the ocean six times in the prior ten years I dreaded the voyage more than words can describe. The last days were filled with sadness, in parting with those so dear to me in foreign countries–especially those curly-headed little girls, so bright, so pretty, so winning in all their ways. Hattie and Theodore went with me from Southampton in the little tug to the great ship _Ems_. It was very hard for us to say the last farewell, but we all tried to be as brave as possible.

We had a rough voyage, but I was not seasick one moment. I was up and dressed early in the morning, and on deck whenever the weather permitted. I made many pleasant acquaintances with whom I played chess and whist; wrote letters to all my foreign friends, ready to mail on landing; read the “Egotist,” by George Meredith, and Ibsen’s plays as translated by my friend Frances Lord. I had my own private stewardess, a nice German woman who could speak English. She gave me most of my meals on deck or in the ladies’ saloon, and at night she would open the porthole two or three times and air our stateroom; that made the nights endurable. The last evening before landing we got up an entertainment with songs, recitations, readings, and speeches. I was invited to preside and introduce the various performers. We reached Sandy Hook the evening of the 29th day of August and lay there all night, and the next morning we sailed up our beautiful harbor, brilliant with the rays of the rising sun.

Being fortunate in having children in both hemispheres, here, too, I found a son and daughter waiting to welcome me to my native land. Our chief business for many weeks was searching for an inviting apartment where my daughter, Mrs. Stanton Lawrence, my youngest son, Bob, and I could set up our family altar and sing our new psalm of life together. After much weary searching we found an apartment. Having always lived in a large house in the country, the quarters seemed rather contracted at first, but I soon realized the immense saving in labor and expense in having no more room than is absolutely necessary, and all on one floor. To be transported from the street to your apartment in an elevator in half a minute, to have all your food and fuel sent to your kitchen by an elevator in the rear, to have your rooms all warmed with no effort of your own, seemed like a realization of some fairy dream. With an extensive outlook of the heavens above, of the Park and the Boulevard beneath, I had a feeling of freedom, and with a short flight of stairs to the roof (an easy escape in case of fire), of safety, too.

No sooner was I fully established in my eyrie, than I was summoned to Rochester, by my friend Miss Anthony, to fill an appointment she had made for me with Miss Adelaide Johnson, the artist from Washington, who was to idealize Miss Anthony and myself in marble for the World’s Fair. I found my friend demurely seated in her mother’s rocking-chair hemming table linen and towels for her new home, anon bargaining with butchers, bakers, and grocers, making cakes and puddings, talking with enthusiasm of palatable dishes and the beauties of various articles of furniture that different friends had presented her. All there was to remind one of the “Napoleon of the Suffrage Movement” was a large escritoire covered with documents in the usual state of confusion–Miss Anthony never could keep her papers in order. In search of any particular document she roots out every drawer and pigeon hole, although her mother’s little spinning wheel stands right beside her desk, a constant reminder of all the domestic virtues of the good housewife, with whom “order” is of the utmost importance and “heaven’s first law.” The house was exquisitely clean and orderly, the food appetizing, the conversation pleasant and profitable, and the atmosphere genial.

A room in an adjoining house was assigned to Miss Johnson and myself, where a strong pedestal and huge mass of clay greeted us. And there, for nearly a month, I watched the transformation of that clay into human proportions and expressions, until it gradually emerged with the familiar facial outlines ever so dear to one’s self. Sitting there four or five hours every day I used to get very sleepy, so my artist arranged for a series of little naps. When she saw the crisis coming she would say: “I will work now for a time on the ear, the nose, or the hair, as you must be wide awake when I am trying to catch the expression.” I rewarded her for her patience and indulgence by summoning up, when awake, the most intelligent and radiant expression that I could command. As Miss Johnson is a charming, cultured woman, with liberal ideas and brilliant in conversation, she readily drew out all that was best in me.

Before I left Rochester, Miss Anthony and her sister Mary gave a reception to me at their house. As some of the professors and trustees of the Rochester University were there, the question of co-education was freely discussed, and the authorities urged to open the doors of the University to the daughters of the people. It was rather aggravating to contemplate those fine buildings and grounds, while every girl in that city must go abroad for higher education. The wife of President Hill of the University had just presented him with twins, a girl and a boy, and he facetiously remarked, “that if the Creator could risk placing sexes in such near relations, he thought they might with safety walk on the same campus and pursue the same curriculum together.”

Miss Anthony and I went to Geneva the next day to visit Mrs. Miller and to meet, by appointment, Mrs. Eliza Osborne, the niece of Lucretia Mott, and eldest daughter of Martha C. Wright. We anticipated a merry meeting, but Miss Anthony and I were so tired that we no doubt appeared stupid. In a letter to Mrs. Miller afterward, Mrs. Osborne inquired why I was “so solemn.” As I pride myself on being impervious to fatigue or disease, I could not own up to any disability, so I turned the tables on her in the following letter:

“New York, 26 West 61st Street,

November 12, 1891.

“Dear Eliza:

“In a recent letter to Mrs. Miller, speaking of the time when we last met, you say, ‘Why was Mrs. Stanton so solemn?’ to which I reply: Ever since an old German emperor issued an edict, ordering all the women under that flag to knit when walking on the highway, when selling apples in the market place, when sitting in the parks, because ‘to keep women out of mischief their hands must be busy,’ ever since I read that, I have felt ‘solemn’ whenever I have seen any daughters of our grand Republic knitting, tatting, embroidering, or occupied with any of the ten thousand digital absurdities that fill so large a place in the lives of Eve’s daughters.

“Looking forward to the scintillations of wit, the philosophical researches, the historical traditions, the scientific discoveries, the astronomical explorations, the mysteries of theosophy, palmistry, mental science, the revelations of the unknown world where angels and devils do congregate, looking forward to discussions of all these grand themes, in meeting the eldest daughter of David and Martha Wright, the niece of Lucretia Mott, the sister-in-law of William Lloyd Garrison, a queenly-looking woman five feet eight in height, and well proportioned, with glorious black eyes, rivaling even De Stael’s in power and pathos, one can readily imagine the disappointment I experienced when such a woman pulled a cotton wash rag from her pocket and forthwith began to knit with bowed head. Fixing her eyes and concentrating her thoughts on a rag one foot square; it was impossible for conversation to rise above the wash-rag level! It was enough to make the most aged optimist ‘solemn’ to see such a wreck of glorious womanhood.

“And, still worse, she not only knit steadily, hour after hour, but she bestowed the sweetest words of encouragement on a young girl from the Pacific Coast, who was embroidering rosebuds on another rag, the very girl I had endeavored to rescue from the maelstrom of embroidery, by showing her the unspeakable folly of giving her optic nerves to such base uses, when they were designed by the Creator to explore the planetary world, with chart and compass to guide mighty ships across the sea, to lead the sons of Adam with divinest love from earth to heaven. Think of the great beseeching optic nerves and muscles by which we express our admiration of all that is good and glorious in earth and heaven, being concentrated on a cotton wash rag! Who can wonder that I was ‘solemn’ that day! I made my agonized protest on the spot, but it fell unheeded, and with satisfied sneer Eliza knit on, and the young Californian continued making the rosebuds. I gazed into space, and, when alone, wept for my degenerate countrywoman. I not only was ‘solemn’ that day, but I am profoundly ‘solemn’ whenever I think of that queenly woman and that cotton wash rag. (One can buy a whole dozen of these useful appliances, with red borders and fringed, for twenty-five cents.) Oh, Eliza, I beseech you, knit no more!

“Affectionately yours,

“Elizabeth Cady Stanton.”

To this Mrs. Osborne sent the following reply:

“Dear Mrs. Stanton:

“In your skit
Against your sisterhood who knit, Or useful make their fingers,
I wonder if–deny it not–
The habit of Lucretia Mott
Within your memory lingers!

“In retrospective vision bright,
Can you recall dear Martha Wright Without her work or knitting?
The needles flying in her hands,
On washing rags or baby’s bands,
Or other work as fitting?

“I cannot think they thought the less, Or ceased the company to bless
With conversation’s riches,
Because they thus improved their time, And never deemed it was a crime
To fill the hours with stitches.

“They even used to preach and plan
To spread the fashion, so that man Might have this satisfaction;
Instead of idling as men do,
With nervous meddling fingers too, Why not mate talk with action?

“But as a daughter and a niece,
I pride myself on every piece
Of handiwork created;
While reveling in social chat,
Or listening to gossip flat,
My gain is unabated.

“That German emperor you scorn,
Seems to my mind a monarch born,
Worthy to lead a column;
I’ll warrant he could talk and work, And, neither being used to shirk,
Was rarely very solemn.

“I could say more upon this head,
But must, before I go to bed.
Your idle precepts mocking,
Get out my needle and my yarn
And, caring not a single darn.
Just finish up this stocking.”

CHAPTER XXVII.

SIXTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CLASS OF 1832–THE WOMAN’S BIBLE.

I returned from Geneva to New York city in time to celebrate my seventy-sixth birthday with my children. I had traveled about constantly for the last twenty years in France, England, and my own country, and had so many friends and correspondents, and pressing invitations to speak in clubs and conventions, that now I decided to turn over a new leaf and rest in an easy-chair. But so complete a change in one’s life could not be easily accomplished. In spite of my resolution to abide in seclusion, my daughter and I were induced to join the Botta Club, which was to meet once a month, alternately, at the residences of Mrs. Moncure D. Conway and Mrs. Abby Sage Richardson. Though composed of ladies and gentlemen it proved dull and unprofitable. As the subject for discussion was not announced until each meeting, no one was prepared with any well-digested train of thought. It was also decided to avoid all questions about which there might be grave differences of opinion. This negative position reminded me of a book on etiquette which I read in my young days, in which gentlemen were warned, “In the presence of ladies discuss neither politics, religion, nor social duties, but confine yourself to art, poetry, and abstract questions which women cannot understand. The less they know of a subject the more respectfully they will listen.” This club was named in honor of Mrs. Botta, formerly Miss Anne Lynch, whose drawing room for many years was the social center of the literati of New York.

On January 16, 1892, we held the Annual Suffrage Convention in Washington, and, as usual, had a hearing before the Congressional Committee. My speech on the “Solitude of Self” was well received and was published in the Congressional Record. The _Woman’s Tribune_ struck off many hundreds of copies and it was extensively circulated.

Notwithstanding my determination to rest, I spoke to many clubs, wrote articles for papers and magazines, and two important leaflets, one on “Street Cleaning,” another on “Opening the Chicago Exposition on Sunday.” As Sunday was the only day the masses could visit that magnificent scene, with its great lake, extensive park, artificial canals, and beautiful buildings, I strongly advocated its being open on that day. One hundred thousand religious bigots petitioned Congress to make no appropriation for this magnificent Exposition, unless the managers pledged themselves to close the gates on Sunday, and hide this vision of beauty from the common people. Fortunately, this time a sense of justice outweighed religious bigotry. I sent my leaflets to every member of Congress and of the State legislatures, and to the managers of the Exposition, and made it a topic of conversation at every opportunity. The park and parts of the Exposition were kept open on Sunday, but some of the machinery was stopped as a concession to narrow Christian sects.

In June, 1892, at the earnest solicitation of Mrs. Russell Sage, I attended the dedication of the Gurley Memorial Building, presented to the Emma Willard Seminary, at Troy, New York, and made the following address:

“MRS. PRESIDENT, MEMBERS OF THE ALUMNAE:

“It is just sixty years since the class of ’32, to which I belonged, celebrated a commencement in this same room. This was the great event of the season to many families throughout this State. Parents came from all quarters; the _elite_ of Troy and Albany assembled here. Principals from other schools, distinguished legislators, and clergymen all came to hear girls scan Latin verse, solve problems in Euclid, and read their own compositions in a promiscuous assemblage. A long line of teachers anxiously waited the calling of their classes, and over all, our queenly Madame Willard presided with royal grace and dignity. Two hundred girls in gala attire, white dresses, bright sashes, and coral ornaments, with their curly hair, rosy cheeks, and sparkling eyes, flitted to and fro, some rejoicing that they had passed through their ordeal,