The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 2

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The resolutions were presented by Mr. Blackwell, who, at conventions almost without number, served as chairman of this important committee, and the first ones set forth the political status of the women in the year 1901 as follows:

"We congratulate the women of America upon the measure of success already attained--school suffrage in twenty-two States and Territories; suffrage in Kansas; suffrage on questions of taxation in Iowa, Montana, Louisiana and New York; full suffrage in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho--States containing more than a million inhabitants, with eight Senators and nine Representatives in Congress elected in part by the votes of women.

"We rejoice in important gains during the past year; the extension of suffrage upon questions of taxation to 200,000 women in the towns and villages of New York and to the tax-paying women of Norway; the voting of women for the first time for members of Parliament in West Australia; the almost unanimous refusal of the Kansas Legislature to repeal woman suffrage and the acquittal in Denver of the only woman ever charged with fraudulent voting."

A tribute was paid to the tried and true friends of woman suffrage who had died during the year, many of them veterans in the cause: Sarah Anthony Burtis, aged 90, secretary of the first Woman's Rights Convention in 1848 when adjourned to Rochester, N.Y.; Charles K.

Whipple, aged 91, for many years secretary of the Ma.s.sachusetts and New England Woman Suffrage a.s.sociations; Zerelda G. Wallace of Indiana, the "mother" of "Ben Hur"; Paulina Gerry, the Rev. Cyrus Bartol, Carrie Anders, Dr. Salome Merritt, Matilda G.o.ddard and Mary Shannon of Ma.s.sachusetts; Mary J. Clay of Kentucky; Eliza J. Patrick of Missouri; f.a.n.n.y C. Wooley and Nettie Laub Romans of Iowa; Eliza Scudder Fenton, the widow of New York's war governor; Charlotte A.

Cleveland and Henry Villard of New York; John Hooker of Connecticut; Giles F. Stebbins and George Willard of Michigan; Ruth C. Dennison, D.

C., Theron Nye of Nebraska; Elizabeth Coit of Ohio; Major Niles Meriwether of Tennessee; M. B. Castle of Illinois; John Bidwell of California; Wendell Phillips Garrison of New Jersey.

On the evening when Miss Anthony presided she introduced to the audience with tender words Mrs. Charlotte Pierce of Philadelphia, as one of the few left who attended the first Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, N. Y., in 1848; Mrs. Eliza Wright Osborne of Auburn, N. Y., niece of Lucretia Mott and daughter of Martha Wright, two of the four women who called that convention; Miss Emily Howland, a devoted pioneer of Sherwood, N. Y.; the Rev. Olympia Brown of Racine, second woman to be ordained as minister; Mrs. Ellen Sulley Fray, a pioneer of Toledo, O., and Mrs. Caroline E. Merrick, wife of a Chief Justice of Louisiana, who organized the first suffrage club in New Orleans.

Mrs. Rachel Foster Avery, who had been the corresponding secretary of the a.s.sociation for twenty-one years, had insisted that she should be allowed to resign from the office. A pleasant incident not on the program took place one morning during the convention when Miss Anthony came to the front of the platform and said: "I have in my hand a thousand dollars for Rachel Foster Avery. It has been contributed without her knowledge by about four hundred different persons; most of you are on the list. I asked for this testimonial because I felt that you would all rejoice to show your appreciation of her long and faithful services and her great liberality to the cause. I should never have been able to carry on the work of the society as its president for so many years but for her able cooperation. She thinks she cannot talk but we know that she can work. She has done the drudgery of this a.s.sociation for more than twenty years and I hope the woman who will be chosen in her place, whoever she may be, will be as consecrated and free from all self-seeking."

Miss Kate M. Gordon, president of the Era Club of New Orleans, was almost unanimously elected as corresponding secretary. The only other change in the official board was the retirement of Mrs. Catharine Waugh McCulloch as second auditor and the election of Dr. Cora Smith Eaton in her place. In referring later to Dr. Eaton, Mr. Blackwell said: "In my attendance upon thirty-three successive annual national conventions I have never seen one with such complete and faithful preparation by the local committee and such abundant and cordial welcome.... It seemed natural to recognize the generous hospitality thus extended to the convention by the people of Minnesota by choosing Dr. Eaton of Minneapolis, chairman of this local committee, as one of the auditors for the coming year."[11]

A closely reasoned address on the Ethics of Suffrage was made by Louis F. Post of Chicago, in the course of which he said:

Suffrage is a right, not a privilege. That it is a right of every individual is the only basis for women's demanding it. If it is not a right but a privilege that may be granted to men and withheld from women, be granted to the white and withheld from the black, be given to those who have red hair and kept from those with black hair; if it may be rightfully given to the millionaire and kept from the day laborer; rightfully extended to those who can read and withheld from those who cannot, or to those with a college education and from those who have only a common-school education--if these are the only bases on which women claim a share in government, then the fundamental argument for woman suffrage disappears.

Reason back far enough on the privilege line of argument and you soon come to that fetish of tradition, the divine right of kings.

So if you cannot put your claim on any better ground than privilege you would better not go on.... Being a right, it is also a duty. He who has a right to maintain has a duty to perform. This is the firm rock upon which woman suffrage must rest. It must be demanded because women are members of the community, because they have common interests in the common property and affairs of the community; in a word, they have rights in the community and duties toward it which are the same as the rights and duties of every other sane person of mature age who keeps out of the penitentiary.

An unexpected pleasure was a brief address by Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, a veteran suffragist and prominent physician of New York, who was attending the convention of the American Medical a.s.sociation. She based her argument for equal suffrage on the injustice practiced toward women physicians when they seek the opportunity for hospital practice. Mrs. F. W. Hunt, wife of the Governor of Idaho, testified to the good results of woman suffrage in that State for the past five years. Others who gave addresses were the Rev. Alice Ball Loomis (Wis.), The Feminine Doctor in Society; Mrs. Lydia Phillips Williams, president of the Minnesota Federation of Clubs, Growth and Greetings; Mrs. Elizabeth Boynton Harbert (Ill.), For the Sake of the Child; Miss Frances Griffin (Ala.), A Southern Tour; the Rev. Olympia Brown (Wis.), The Tabooed Trio; Mrs. Annie L. Digges (Kas.), The Duty of the Hour; Miss Laura A. Gregg (Neb.), Who Will Defend the Flag?; the Rev.

Celia Parker Woolley (Ill.), Woman's Worth in the Community; the Rev. William B. Riley (Minn.), Woman's Rights and Political Righteousness.[12]

An inadequate newspaper account of the very able address of Miss Gail Laughlin (N. Y.), on The Industrial Laggard, said:

Miss Laughlin described the nineteenth as the industrial century of which the factory was a notable product and co-operation the spirit. Men were trained to do one thing well and by division of labor the maximum result was attained with the minimum expenditure of labor and capital. This of division of labor has been applied everywhere except in the household, the field which especially concerns women. Household labor is outside the current of industrial progress. It is not even recognized as an industrial problem because it is not a wealth-producing industry. Students of economics will sometime understand that the industries which consume wealth should receive attention as well as those which produce it. Business principles are not applied to the domestic service problem. There are no business hours. The person is hired, not the labor. One woman described the situation: "If you have a girl, you want her, no matter at what time." There is no standard of work and the result is confusion worse confounded. The servant's goings-out and comings-in are watched and she has no hours to herself. Is it any wonder that so many women prefer to go into factory life at less pay but where they can have some hours of their own?

The report of the Committee on Legislation for Civil Rights, Mrs.

Laura M. Johns (Kans.), chairman, showed that it had been in correspondence with many State a.s.sociations which were working for the repeal of bad laws and the enactment of good ones; for raising the age of consent; for child-labor bills; for women physicians in State inst.i.tutions; for women on school boards and in high educational positions and for many other civil and legal measures. Mrs. Clara Bewick Colby's report on Industrial Problems affecting Women and Children showed much diligent research into the discriminations against women in the business and educational world and gave many flagrant instances. "In Government positions," she said, "this was clearly due to their lack of a vote."

The Government departments at Was.h.i.+ngton are almost entirely governed by politics and women are greatly discriminated against, notwithstanding civil service rules. The report of A. R. Severn, chief examiner for the Civil Service Commission, shows that during the last ten years less than ten per cent. of the women who have pa.s.sed the examinations have been appointed, while more than 25 per cent. of the men who pa.s.sed obtained positions. To prevent the possibility of women obtaining high-cla.s.s positions the examinations for these are not open to women. Of the 58 employments for which examinations were held, women were admitted to only 22. The per cent. of women employed of those who had pa.s.sed was 13 in 1898; 6 per cent. in 1899, and lower in 1900, not a woman being appointed to a clerk's position from the waiting list. The Post Office Department in the last year sent out an order that women should not be made distributing clerks wherever it was possible to appoint men.... Legislation for the protection of children has been defeated in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. In the factories of Birmingham, it is stated, children of six and seven are obliged to be at work by 5:30 a.m.

and to work twelve hours daily, attending spindles for ten cents a day. Jane Addams says she knows from personal observations that in certain States the conditions of child labor are as bad as they were in England half a century ago. In the great cotton mills at Columbia, S. C., she found a little girl scarcely five years old doing night work thirteen hours at a stretch, for three days in the week.

Sunday afternoon the Rev. Olympia Brown gave the convention sermon--The Forward March--in the First Baptist Church, with scripture reading by Mrs. Catt, prayer by the Rev. Margaret T. Olmstead, hymns by the Rev. Kate Hughes and the Rev. Mrs. Woolley; responsive reading by the Rev. Alice Ball Loomis. The Rev. Anna Howard Shaw preached in the Church of the Redeemer in the morning and Louis F. Post in the evening. Dr. Shaw preached in the evening at the Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church; Miss Laura Clay spoke at the Central Baptist; Dr.

Frances Woods at the first Unitarian; Miss Laura Gregg at Plymouth; Mrs. Mary C. C. Bradford at the Wesley Methodist in the morning and the Rev. Olympia Brown in the evening; Mrs. Elizabeth Boynton Harbert in the Chicago Avenue Baptist; the Rev. Margaret F. Olmstead at All Souls; the Rev. Alice Ball Loomis at Tuttle Universalist; Mrs. Mariana W. Chapman at the Friends' Church; Miss Ella Moffatt at the Bloomington Avenue Methodist, and Mr. and Miss Blackwell at the Trinity Methodist.

An official letter was sent by request to the Const.i.tutional Convention of Alabama asking for a woman suffrage clause. An invitation to hold a conference in Baltimore was accepted.

Arrangements were made to have a National Suffrage Conference September 9, 10, in Buffalo, N. Y., during the Pan-American Exposition. It was decided also to accept an invitation from the Inter-State and West Indian Exposition Board to hold a conference during the Exposition in Charleston, S. C. Official invitations were received from various public bodies to hold the next convention in Was.h.i.+ngton, Atlantic City, Milwaukee and New Orleans.

The president made the closing address to a large audience on the last evening, a keen, a.n.a.lytical review of the demand for woman suffrage.

"Its fundamental principle," she said, "is that 'all governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed.' It is the argument that has enfranchised men everywhere at all times and it is the one which will enfranchise women." As it was extemporaneous no adequate report can be given.

Nothing was left undone by this hospitable city for the success and pleasure of the convention. Very favorable reports and commendatory editorials were given by the newspapers. An excellent program by the best musical talent was furnished at each session under the direction of Mrs. Cleone Daniels Bergren. An evening reception in honor of the national officers, to which eight hundred invitations were sent, took place in the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Gregory. The Business Woman's Club, Martha Scott Anderson, president, gave an afternoon reception in its rooms, the invitations reading: "The club desires to show in a measure its appreciation of the labor by the members of the National Suffrage a.s.sociation in behalf of women."

Trolley rides through the handsome suburbs and a visit to the big flouring mills were among the diversions.[13]

This chapter has tried to picture the first convention of the National American Suffrage a.s.sociation in the new century, typical of many which preceded and followed. If it and other chapters seem overburdened with personal mention it must be remembered that it is a precious privilege to those who a.s.sisted in this great movement, and to their descendants, to have their names thus preserved in history.

In the biography of Susan B. Anthony (page 1246) may be found the following tribute to these conventions, which were held annually for over fifty years.

It can be said without fear of contradiction that the National Suffrage Conventions will go down in history as the most notable held by women during the present age, excepting, of course, those of an international nature. The lofty character of their demands, the courage, ability and earnestness of their speakers, the unswerving fidelity to one central idea, give them a dominating position which they will hold for all time. They are pervaded by a remarkable spirit of democracy and fraternity. Those who come to scoff remain--not to pray but to have a good time. The reporters are all converted during the first two or three meetings and become members of the family. The delegates never wait for an introduction to each other; all have come together on the same mission and that is a sufficient guarantee. n.o.body can remember afterwards what her neighbor wore and this proves that all were well dressed. The meetings are so systematic and business-like that one never feels she has wasted a minute. If points of serious difference arise they are taken up and settled by the Business Committee, out of sight of the public, but in all matters directly connected with the a.s.sociation every delegate has a voice and vote.

These are trained and disciplined women. There is nothing hysterical, nothing fanatical about them. They are animated by the most serious and determined purpose, and, in order to effect this, all sectarian bias, all political preference, all fads and hobbies in any direction are rigidly barred. Woman suffrage--that is the sole object. The offices all represent hard work and no salary, therefore no unseemly scramble takes place to secure them, and the a.s.sociation has the most profound confidence in its National Board. Every dollar subscribed has a definite channel designated for its expenditure and so there is no big treasury fund to quarrel over. There is always a sufficient number of experienced members to hold the younger and more impulsive recruits in check. Being one of the oldest women's organizations in existence it has acc.u.mulated a large store of wisdom and judgment. Even where people disapprove its purposes they cannot fail to respect its dignified, orderly methods.


[4] Part of Call: The first years of the new century are destined to witness the most strenuous and intense struggle of the movement.

Iniquity has become afraid of the votes of women. Vice and immorality are consequently organized in opposition, while conservative morality stands shoulder to shoulder with them, blind to the nature of the illicit partners.h.i.+p. Believers in this cause are legion, but many, satisfied that victory will come without their help, do nothing. We are approaching the climax of the great contest and every friend is needed. If the final victory is long in coming, the responsibility rests with those who believe but who do not act.

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, } Honorary Presidents.


ANNA HOWARD SHAW, Vice-president.

RACHEL FOSTER AVERY, Corresponding Secretary.

ALICE STONE BLACKWELL, Recording Secretary.


LAURA CLAY, } Auditors.


[5] Miss Anthony had entreated Mrs. Stanton to send instead of this letter to the convention one of her grand, old-time arguments for woman suffrage but she refused, saying the time was past for these and the church must be recognized as the greatest of obstacles to its success. Miss Anthony felt that it would arouse criticism and prejudice at the very beginning but declared that no matter what the effect she would give what would probably be Mrs. Stanton's last message. A number of the officers and delegates were interviewed for the press and none was found who fully agreed with Mrs. Stanton's views. The Rev. Olympia Brown and the Rev. Anna Howard Shaw believed the obstacles to be in the false interpretation of the Scriptures and its application to women. The Methodist General Conference had this year admitted women delegates.

[6] Invocations were p.r.o.nounced at different sessions by the resident ministers, C. B. Mitch.e.l.l, George F. Holt and Martin D. Hardin, and by the visiting ministers, Alice Ball Loomis, Celia Parker Woolley, Kate Hughes and Margaret T. Olmstead.

[7] WHEREAS, Judge William Howard Taft and the Philippine Commissioners in a telegram to Secretary Root dated January 17, 1901, affirm that ever since November, 1898, the military authorities in Manila have subjected women of bad character to "certified examination," and General MacArthur in his recent report does not deny this but defends it; and whereas the Hawaiian government has taken similar action; therefore

RESOLVED, That we earnestly protest against the introduction of the European system of State-regulated vice in the new possessions of the United States for the following reasons:

1. To subject women of bad character to regular examinations and furnish them with official health certificates is contrary to good morals and must impress both our soldiers and the natives as giving official sanction to vice.

2. It is a violation of justice to apply to vicious women compulsory medical measures that are not applied to vicious men.

3. Official regulation of vice, while it lowers the moral tone of the community, everywhere fails to protect the public health.

Examples were given from Paris, garrison towns of England and Switzerland, and St. Louis, the only city in the United States that had ever tried the system.

[8] The question of giving to women a vote for Representatives by an Act of Congress is considered in Chapter I, Volume IV, History of Woman Suffrage.

[9] Among the donations which brought in the largest sums were the locomobile from Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Barber of New York; the Kansas consignment of fine flour and b.u.t.ter secured by Miss Helen Kimber of that State; the carload of hogs from Iowa farmers obtained by Mrs.

Eleanor Stockman of Mason City; the handsomely dressed doll from Mrs.

William McKinley and a fine oil painting by the noted landscape painter, William Keith of California.

[10] At Miss Anthony's request Mrs. Harper had sent her a letter to read to the convention giving some details as to the scope of the _Sun_ articles, in which she said: "I consider the success of this department due above all else to the fact that it deals with current events. Its text each Sunday is taken from the occurrences of the preceding week as they relate to women.... Letters of commendation and of criticism have been received from all parts of the United States and from London, Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin, Dresden, Zurich and Rome and from Melbourne. Among the writers are bishops and ministers, publishers, educators, authors, college presidents, physicians, women's societies, workingmen's organizations and scores of men and women in the private walks of life. One article brought twenty-five pages of legal cap from lawyers in New York and Brooklyn. It is a noteworthy fact that it is the first metropolitan daily paper to make a woman suffrage department a regular feature."

The articles were published until the autumn of 1903, almost five years. Mr. Dana then sold the paper and it went under the control of William A. Laffan, an anti-suffragist, who discontinued them.

[11] Other local chairmen were Irma Winch.e.l.l Stacy, Mrs. A. T.

Anderson, J. Bryan Bushnell, Dr. Margaret Koch, Mrs. James Harnden, Mrs. H. A. Tuttle, Mrs. Marion D. Shutter, Lora C. Little, Nellie Keyes, Mrs. Sanford Niles, Martha Scott Anderson, Josie A. Wanous, Gracia L. Jenks, Dr. Corene J. Bissonette, Mrs. Stockwell and Mrs.

The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 2

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