The History of Woman Suffrage Volume III Part 76

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[301] _President_, Mrs. Judge Caldwell; _Secretary_, Mrs. Bushnell; _Treasurer_, Mrs. Ammon.

[302] The officers of the Painesville Society, 1885, are, _President_, Mrs. Frances Jennings Cas.e.m.e.nt; _Vice-Presidents_, Mrs. Eliza P. Chesney, Mrs. Lydia Wilc.o.x, Mrs. Cornelia Swezey; _Recording Secretary_, Mrs. Martha Paine; _Corresponding Secretary_, Mrs. Lou J. Bates; _Treasurer_, Mrs. Adelia J. Bates; _Trustees_, Mrs. J. B. Burrows, Mrs. A. G. Smith, Mrs. C. C.

Beardslee.

[303] The officers of the Ohio State a.s.sociation for 1885 are, _President_, Mrs. Frances M. Cas.e.m.e.nt, Painesville; _Vice-Presidents_, Mrs. N. Coe Stewart, Cleveland; Mrs. C. C.

Swezey, Painesville; Hon. Richard Mott, Toledo; Mrs. U. R. Walker, Cincinnati; Mrs. Dr. Warren, Elyria; _Recording Secretary_, Miss Mary P. Spargo, Cleveland; _Corresponding Secretary_, Mrs. Rosa L.

Segur, Toledo; _Treasurer_, Mrs. Elizabeth Coit, Columbus; _Executive Committee_, Dr. N. S. Townshend, Columbus; Mrs. M. B.

Haven, Cleveland; Mrs. M. Cole, Painesville; Mrs. W. J. Sheppard, Cleveland; Mrs. Elizabeth Coit, Columbus; Mrs. Ports Wilson, Warren; Mrs. Sarah M. Perkins, Cleveland.

[304] The incorporators were, Mrs. Davies Wilson, Mrs. John G.o.ddard, Mrs. Jane Wendte, Mrs. William N. Hobart, Dr. Ellen M.

Kirk, Dr. M. May Howells, Miss Jennie S. Smith, and Miss Harriet M.

Hinsdale; _Resident Physician_, Dr. Sarah J. Bebout; _Visiting Physicians_, Drs. Ellen M. Kirk, M. May Howells.

CHAPTER XLI.

MICHIGAN.

Women's Literary Clubs and Libraries--Mrs. Lucinda H.

Stone--Cla.s.ses of Girls in Europe--Ernestine L. Rose--Legislative Action, _1849-1885_--State Woman Suffrage Society, 1870--Annual Conventions--Northwestern a.s.sociation--Wendell Phillips'

Letter--Nannette Gardner Votes--Catharine A. F. Stebbins Refused--Legislative Action--Amendments Submitted--An Active Canva.s.s of the State by Women--Election Day--The Amendment Lost, 40,000 Men Voted in Favor--University at Ann Arbor Opened to Girls, 1869--Kalamazoo Inst.i.tute--J. A. B. Stone, Miss Madeline Stockwell and Miss Sarah Burger Applied for Admission to the University in 1857--Episcopal Church Bill--Local Societies--Quincy--Lansing--St. Johns--Manistee--Grand Rapids--Sojourner Truth--Laura C. Haviland--Sybil Lawrence.

Traveling through the State of Michigan, sufficiently at leisure to make acquaintances, one would readily remark the unusual intelligence and cultivation of the women. Every large town can boast a woman's literary club, a reading-room, nicely furnished, with a library containing, in many cases, one and two thousand volumes, a choice collection of scientific, historical and cla.s.sical works. This may be attributed in part to the fact that the population is largely from New York and New England, partly to the many inst.i.tutions of learning early opened to girls, and partly to the extensive social influence of Mrs. Lucinda H. Stone,[305]

whose rare culture, foreign travels and liberal views have fitted her, both as a woman and as a teacher, to inspire the girls of Michigan with a desire for thorough education. Mrs. Stone has traveled through many countries in the old world with large cla.s.ses of young ladies under her charge, superintending their reading and studies, and giving them lectures on history and art on cla.s.sic ground, where some of the greatest tragedies of the past were enacted; in ancient palaces, temples and grand cathedrals; upon the very spots still rich with the memories of kings and popes, great generals, statesmen, poets and philosophers. We cannot estimate the advantages to these young travelers of having one always at hand, able to point out the beauties in painting and statuary, to interpret the symbols and mysteries of architecture, the language of music, the facts of history, and the philosophy of the rise and fall of mighty nations. Mrs. Stone has also given courses of parlor lectures to large cla.s.ses of ladies in every city of the State, thus, with her rare experiences and extensive observations, enriching every circle of society in which she moved.

To Catharine A. F. Stebbins we are indebted for compiling many of the facts contained in this chapter. Reviewing the last forty years, she says:

The agitation on the question of woman suffrage began in this State in 1846, with the advent of Ernestine L. Rose,[306] who spoke twice in the legislative hall in Detroit--once on the "Science of Government," and once on the "Antagonisms in Society." A resolution was pa.s.sed by the House of Representatives, expressing a high sense of her ability, eloquence and grace of delivery. Her work in Detroit, Ann Arbor and other places was three or four years prior to the first report by the Special Committee of the Senate in the general revision of the const.i.tution, nine years before the House Committee's report on elections in response to women's pet.i.tions, and a dozen years before the favorable "report of the Senate upon the memorial of ladies praying for the privilege of the elective franchise," signed by Thomas W. Ferry.

_The Revolution_ of April 30, 1868, gives an account of the manner the women of Sturgis voted on the question of prohibition:

"A few weeks ago, at a large meeting of the citizens of Sturgis, Michigan, the ladies were asked to help in the coming election the cause of prohibition. They replied that they would if they were allowed to vote. At a subsequent meeting the gentlemen could do no less than to invite them.

A committee of twelve was appointed. They canva.s.sed the village and invited all the ladies to come out and join in the demonstration. At 2 o'clock on election day they a.s.sembled at Union School Hall and marched to the room where the election was held, and one hundred and fourteen deposited their votes in favor of prohibition, and six against it. Whilst they were marching through the room the utmost order prevailed, and when they were retiring three hearty cheers were given for the ladies of Sturgis. Great credit is due to Mrs. William Kyte, chairman of the committee, as well as to all the other members, for their management of the whole affair. The utmost good feeling prevailed, and not a sneer or a jeer was heard from the lords of creation, but a large majority seemed to hail this as a precursor of what they expect in the future, when the people shall be educated to respect the rights of all."

We find the above in the Sturgis _Journal_, by the way, one of the best in tone and talent of all our western exchanges. Its editor, Mr. Wait, is a prominent leader in the State, a member of the legislature, and a believer in the equal civil and political rights of women. We have more than once suggested in _The Revolution_ that the women should appear at the polls on election days and demand their rights as citizens. The effect could not but be beneficial wherever tried. Any considerable number of intelligent women in almost any locality would in this way soon inaugurate a movement to result in a speedy triumph. Let these n.o.ble Sturgis women persevere. Methodist Bishop Simpson was right when he declared the vote of woman at the polls would soon extinguish the perdition fires of intemperance. The Sturgis women have begun the good work, a hundred and fourteen to six! Surely, blessed are the husbands and children of such wives and mothers.

P. P.

In _The Revolution_ of September 3, 1868, we find the following from the Sturgis _Star_:

Last spring the ladies of Sturgis went to the polls one hundred and twenty in number, and demonstrated the propriety of the movement. Their votes did not count, for they could only be cast in a separate box, and the movement was only good in its moral effect. But at the school meeting the ladies have an equal right to vote with the men. Whatever qualifications a man must possess to exercise privileges in that meeting, any woman possessing like qualifications can exercise like privileges there. To substantiate this, it is only necessary to read the school law. Section 145 of the Primary School law: "The words 'qualified voter' shall be taken and construed to mean and include _all taxable persons_ residing in the district of the age of twenty-one years, and who have resided therein three months next preceding the time of voting."

Ex-State Superintendent John M. Gregory's opinion of that is, that "under this section (145) all persons liable to be taxed in the district, and twenty-one years of age, and having resided three months in the district, without distinction of s.e.x, color, or nationality, may vote in the district meetings." In districts where they elect only a director, a.s.sessor and moderator, the women can vote on all questions except the election of officers. In graded districts they can vote on all questions, election of trustees included. Men having no taxable property, but who vote at town meetings and general elections, can only vote for trustees at a school meeting. Any woman, then, having a watch, cow, buggy, or personal property of any kind, subject to tax, or who has real estate in her own name, or jointly with her husband, can vote. Here, then, is a lawful right for women to vote at school meetings, and as there can be no impropriety in it, we advocate it. We believe that it will work good. Our Union school is something that all should feel an active interest in. We hope, then, that those ladies ent.i.tled to vote will exercise the rights that the law grants them. To give these suggestions a practical effect, we cheerfully publish the following notice:

The undersigned respectfully request those ladies residing in District No. 3, of the towns.h.i.+p of Sturgis, who are ent.i.tled to vote at the annual meeting, to a.s.semble in Mrs.

Pendleton's parlor, at the Exchange Hotel, on Friday evening next, August 28, at 7:30 o'clock, to consider the matter of exercising the privilege which the law gives them.

This call is signed by about twenty of the best women of the borough. Last week we called attention in _The Revolution_ to the earnestness of the English women in urging their claim to the right of suffrage, and appealed to American women from their example. We hear from different sources that American women will attempt, to some extent, to be registered this year as voters, and we hope so brave an example will become a contagion. A boastful warrior once demanded of his foe, "Deliver up your arms." The answer was, "Come, if you dare, and take them!" Let women become brave enough to take their rights, and there will not be much resistance. According to their faith and their courage, so shall it be.

P. P.

The Michigan State Suffrage Society--always an independent a.s.sociation--was organized at the close of the first convention held in Hamblin's Opera-house, Battle Creek,[307] January 20, 1870, and has done the usual work of aiding in the formation of local societies, circulating tracts and pet.i.tions, securing hearings before the legislature, and holding its annual meetings from year to year in the different cities of the State.

The Northwestern a.s.sociation held its first annual convention in the Young Men's Hall, Detroit, November 28, 29, 1870, with large and appreciative audiences.[308] Legislative action on the question of woman suffrage began in Michigan in 1849, when:

The special report favorable to Senate doc.u.ment No. 10, for universal suffrage, was signed by Dwight Webb, Edward H.

Thompson and Rix Robinson.--House doc.u.ment No. 31, legislature of 1855: "The Committee on Elections, to whom was referred the pet.i.tion of Betsy P. Parker, Lucinda Knapp, Nancy Fleming, Electa Myers, and several other 'strong-minded' ladies of Lenawee county, asking such amendments to the const.i.tution of the State as will secure to women an equal right to the elective franchise with men,"

reported adversely, ridiculed the pet.i.tioners, and was signed by A. P. Moorman.--Senate doc.u.ment No. 27, in the session of 1857: On a memorial of ladies praying the legislature to grant them the elective franchise, the report was signed by Thomas W. Ferry, and was favorable and respectful.--House doc.u.ment No. 25, legislature of 1859: On const.i.tutional amendments in favor of universal suffrage, the report was favorable for extending suffrage to colored men, but doubtful as to the wisdom of extending it to women.

This was signed by Fabius Miles, chairman.--Senate doc.u.ment No. 12: Upon the same const.i.tutional amendments, in the legislature of 1859, the report signed by R. E. Trowbridge, chairman of the committee, was adverse to extending suffrage to women.

On February 13, 1873, Mr. Lamb introduced "a joint resolution granting the privilege of the elective franchise to the women of the State." Mr. Bartholomew introduced "a joint resolution proposing an amendment to section 1, article 1., of the const.i.tution, in relation to the qualifications of electors." Both were referred to the Committee on Elections, which made the following report:

The Committee on Elections, to whom was referred the joint resolution granting the privilege of the elective franchise to women of this State, respectfully report that they have had the same under consideration, and have directed me to report the same back to the House without recommendation. We think the time has not arrived for us to decide on so important a matter. We await further developments, and are under the impression that there is no popular demand for the change--at least not sufficient to warrant us in recommending so important a change in our form of government at the present session of the legislature--and ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject.

[Signed:] A. HEWITT, _Acting Chairman._

Motion carried to lay the joint resolution on the table.

March 4, it was taken from the table and referred to the Committee of the Whole, who recommended its pa.s.sage, and April 10 it was lost by a vote of 50 to 24:

The committee have considered the matters embraced in the several resolutions referred to them relative to providing for woman's suffrage, and have instructed me to report against adding any such provision to the const.i.tution at present. The committee ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject.

[Signed:] E. W. MEDDAUGH, _Chairman._

October 14.--A bill for separate submission to a vote of the people of an amendment to the const.i.tution relating to woman's suffrage, was lost by a tie vote--7 for and 7 against.

At the extra session of the legislature, 1874, in the House, March 10, Mr. Hoyt introduced a joint resolution for separate submission to a vote of the people of an amendment to the const.i.tution relating to woman suffrage. Referred to the Committee on Elections and State Affairs, jointly. On March 12 the following memorial from the State Woman Suffrage a.s.sociation[309] was presented in the House:

_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Michigan, in Special Session Convened: _

The Executive Committee of the Michigan State Woman Suffrage a.s.sociation, at their meeting held in Kalamazoo, February 10, 1874, voted to memorialize your honorable body, at your special session now being held.

We beg leave to represent to you that the object of this a.s.sociation is to secure, in a legal way, the enfranchis.e.m.e.nt of the women of the State. They are, as you well know, already recognized as citizens of the State according to the laws of the United States. They are now taxed for all purposes of public interest as well as the men. But they are not represented in the legislature, nor in any branch of the State government, thus affording a great example, and an unjust one for women, of taxation without representation, which our fathers declared to be tyranny; and which is contrary to the genius of our republican inst.i.tutions, and to the general polity of this commonwealth. Women are also governed, while they have no direct voice in the government, and made subject to laws affecting their property, their personal rights and liberty, in whose enactment they have no voice.

We therefore pet.i.tion your honorable body, that in preparing a new const.i.tution, to be submitted for adoption or rejection by the people of this State, you will strike out the word "male" from the article defining the qualifications of electors; or if deemed best by you, will provide for the separate submission of an article for the enfranchis.e.m.e.nt of the women of Michigan, giving them equal rights and privileges with the men. By thus taking the lead of the States of the Union, to more fully secure the personal rights of all the citizens, you will show yourselves in harmony with the spirit of the age and worthy to be called pioneers in this cause, as you are already most honorably accounted pioneers in your educational system, which affords equal and impartial advantages to the population of our State, irrespective of s.e.x or condition in life--thus aiming to elevate the entire people to the highest practicable plane of intelligence and true civilization.

By order, and in the name of the Michigan Woman Suffrage a.s.sociation.

LUCINDA H. STONE, _Corresponding Secretary._

Mrs. A. H. WALKER, _President._

On March 14, the joint committee made the following report:

The committees on State affairs and elections, to whom was referred the joint resolution proposing an amendment to section I, article VII., of the const.i.tution, in relation to the qualifications of electors, respectfully report that they have had the same under consideration, and have directed us to report the same back to the House without amendment, and recommend that it do pa.s.s and ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject.

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