The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 8

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SUSAN B. ANTHONY, Honorary President.

CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT, President.

ANNA HOWARD SHAW, Vice-President-at-Large.

KATE M. GORDON, Corresponding Secretary.

ALICE STONE BLACKWELL, Recording Secretary.

HARRIET TAYLOR UPTON, Treasurer.

LAURA CLAY, } MARY J. COGGESHALL, } Auditors.

[24] The colored women had some excellent organizations in New Orleans, the most notable being the Phyllis Wheatley Club, which in addition to its literary and social features maintained a training school for nurses, a kindergarten and a night school. It invited Miss Anthony, Miss Blackwell and Mrs. Elizabeth Smith Miller to address it and they were accompanied by "Dorothy Dix," the well-known writer, a New Orleans woman. In the large a.s.semblage were some of the teachers from the four colleges for colored students--Methodist, Congregational, Baptist and the State. "Dorothy Dix" said in her brief address that no woman in the city was more respected or had more influence than Mrs. Sylvanie Williams, the club's president, and gave several instances to ill.u.s.trate it. After the addresses Mrs. Williams presented Miss Anthony with a large bouquet tied with yellow satin ribbon and said: "Flowers in their beauty and sweetness may represent the womanhood of the world. Some flowers are fragile and delicate, some strong and hardy, some are carefully guarded and cherished, others are roughly treated and trodden under foot. These last are the colored women. They have a crown of thorns continually pressed upon their brow, yet they are advancing and sometimes you find them further on than you would have expected. When women like you, Miss Anthony, come to see us and speak to us it helps us to believe in the Fatherhood of G.o.d and the Brotherhood of Man, and at least for the time being in the sympathy of woman."

[25] The important decision was made at this convention to remove the headquarters on May 1 from New York to Warren, O., the home of the national treasurer, Mrs. Upton. The burden of having charge of them had borne heavily upon Mrs. Catt for the past three years and it grew more difficult as each year she had to spend more time in field work.

Miss Gordon, the corresponding secretary, wished to remain in New Orleans because of her mother's failing health and it was necessary to have a national officer in charge. Mrs. Upton consented reluctantly to a.s.sume the responsibility and only on the a.s.surance of Miss Elizabeth Hauser, a capable executive, that she would manage the details of the office. The arrangement was to be temporary but it continued for six years.

[26] Quotations are given from each of the opening prayers because each of them endorsed woman suffrage.

[27] Mrs. Hussey left a bequest of $10,000 to the National American Woman Suffrage a.s.sociation.

[28] For appreciations of Mrs. Stanton see Appendix.

CHAPTER IV.

THE NATIONAL AMERICAN CONVENTION OF 1904.

The Thirty-sixth annual convention opened the afternoon of Feb. 11, 1904, in National Rifles' Armory Hall, Was.h.i.+ngton, D. C., and closed the evening of the 17th.[29] There was a good attendance of delegates from thirty States and the audiences were large and appreciative. Mrs.

Carrie Chapman Catt, the president, was in the chair at the opening session. The delegates were welcomed by Mrs. Carrie E. Kent in behalf of the District Equal Suffrage a.s.sociation and the response was made by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, vice-president-at-large, who began by saying: "If the women here welcome us after we have been coming for thirty years it must be because we deserve it; the men welcome us because in the District they are in the same disfranchised condition as we are."

A cordial letter of greeting was read from Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, whose headquarters were in Was.h.i.+ngton.

Greetings were received from Mrs. Florence Fenwick Miller of London, whose letter commenced: "Beloved Friends: As president of the British National Committee of the International Woman Suffrage Committee, I write to send you greetings from English, Scotch, Irish and Welsh fellow-workers in the woman's cause. It seems but a short time since the convention of 1902, which I attended as the delegate appointed by the British United Women's Suffrage Societies and also of the Scottish National Society. The admiration and affection that the ability, the earnestness and sincerity, the sisterliness and the sweetness of temper and manners of the American suffragists then aroused in me, are unabated at this moment." She told of the progress that had been made by the various societies toward uniting in an International Woman Suffrage Alliance, gave a glowing forecast of the ultimate triumph of their common cause and ended: "With admiring and abiding love for America's grand women, the suffrage leaders." The convention sent an official answer. Mrs. Mary Bentley Thomas (Md.) read an interesting paper, Our Four Friends, compiled from the answers by the Governors of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho to a letter from Miss Anthony asking for a summary of the results of woman suffrage after a trial of from eight to thirty-five years. A Declaration of Principles, which had been prepared by Mrs. Catt, Dr. Shaw, Miss Alice Stone Blackwell and Mrs. Ida Husted Harper, was read by Mrs. Harper and adopted by the convention as expressing the sentiment of the a.s.sociation. [See Appendix, chapter IV.] Mrs. Rachel Foster Avery (Penn.) and Dr. Shaw were appointed delegates to the International Suffrage Conference at Berlin in June in addition to the International Suffrage Committee from the United States, Miss Anthony, Mrs. Catt, Mrs. Lucretia L.

Blankenburg (Penn.), with three others yet to be selected.

In her report as corresponding secretary Miss Kate M. Gordon (La.) told of the interest which the convention of the preceding year in New Orleans had awakened in the South and of the generous donation of a month of Dr. Shaw's valuable time which she had given to a Southern tour. This included the State Agricultural, State Normal and State Industrial Colleges of Louisiana and various places in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. "While it might be said of her addresses, 'She came, she spoke, she conquered,'" declared Miss Gordon, "it was clearly shown that the South was not ready for organization." Miss Gordon said of attending the National Conference of Charities and Corrections as a State delegate appointed by the Governor of Louisiana: "I found that resolutions of endors.e.m.e.nt were contrary to the policy of the conference, yet, except in our own organization, I have never met such a unanimity of opinion upon the justice of woman suffrage as well as upon the expediency of the woman's vote to secure intelligent and preventive legislation as a remedy for the many evils they were seeking to combat."

The program for the first evening included short addresses by the general officers and in opening the meeting Mrs. Catt said: "You will all be disappointed not to have the promised addresses from Miss Anthony and Mrs. Upton. It has been suggested that I might say that Miss Anthony has been unavoidably detained but I can't see why I should not tell the truth. Miss Anthony is out in society tonight. She was invited by President and Mrs. Roosevelt to the Army and Navy reception at the White House and Mrs. Upton is with her.[30] Our vice-president-at-large will speak to you on What Cheer?"

Dr. Shaw said that once when she was travelling about the prairies of Iowa she met a woman who was always referring to her home town "What Cheer," and when she was asked to give a t.i.tle to her address she could think of nothing better. She continued: "There are no problems so difficult to understand as those of our own time, because of the lack of perspective. The arrogant and insistent and noisy things press to the front and the silent and eternal fall into the rear. But as time pa.s.ses it is as when we climb a mountain--we gradually rise to where we can see over the foothills and everything appears in its proper place and proportion. Out of the present, its arrogant militarism, its sordid commercialism and wors.h.i.+p of gold, is there anything to give us cheer and hope for tomorrow? There never was greater reason for hope for humanity. Underlying all the tumult and disorder of our time is one grand, golden thought, that of the human brotherhood of the world. There never was a democracy comparable to ours, faulty as it is and hopeless as it appears to some. Though the ideal does not seem to impress itself upon the world, yet in the silence it is there.... Today is the best this world has ever seen.

Tomorrow will be still better."

Miss Gordon spoke on A Sustaining Faith, showing that from labor, from all forms of social service and from countless sources was converging the demand for the reform which the suffrage a.s.sociation was seeking.

Miss Blackwell (Ma.s.s.) talked briefly as always but clearly and convincingly on The New Woman. Miss Laura Clay (Ky.) began her address on Dimes: "As an auditor I have been going over our treasurer's books.

Usually such books are mere debits and credits but in ours those stiff rows of figures tell many beautiful things--the sacrifices of the poor and the generosity of the rich--but best of all are the 'dimes'

because they are the dues paid to the a.s.sociation. They bear the figure of Liberty and they stand for it.... These dimes are inspiring, for they represent our members.h.i.+p when we gather here from the four corners of the nation. Therefore I rejoice over these thousands and thousands, each with a human heart behind it."

"No woman has a record of greater faithfulness in this cause," Mrs.

Catt said in introducing Mrs. Mary J. Coggeshall, who began her remarks on Precedents by saying: "I come from Iowa where things are very different from those in this beautiful capital. We do not see Senators and Representatives on every hand but we have lent to Was.h.i.+ngton, Secretary of Agriculture Wilson, Secretary of the Treasury Shaw, Speaker of the House Henderson and also Mrs. Catt to lead the suffrage clans."

The evening closed with Mrs. Catt's presidential address, the full report of which filled eleven columns of the _Woman's Journal_. The subject was the vital necessity of an educational qualification for the use of the ballot in a country which opens its gates to immigration from the whole world. Little idea of its logic and virility can be conveyed by detached quotations. Referring to the necessity for enfranchising women she said: "Despite the fact that education even yet is not so generally advocated for girls as for boys among our foreign and ignorant cla.s.ses of society, the census of 1900 reveals that between the ages of ten and twenty-one, representing school years, there are 117,362 more illiterate males than females. If men and women had been ent.i.tled to the franchise upon equal terms in 1900, the political parties, which always make their appeals to the young man just turned twenty-one to cast his first vote for 'the party of right and progress,' would of necessity have made the same appeal to young women, but they would have appealed to 20,000 fewer illiterates among the women than the men of from twenty-one to twenty-four. If the same conditions continue for the next twenty years--that is, if there is no restriction in the suffrage for men and women still remain disfranchised, and if the proportionate increase of women over men in the output of our public schools continues, we shall witness the curious spectacle of the illiterate s.e.x governing the literate s.e.x."

Mrs. Catt did not, however, attribute all the evils of universal suffrage to the ignorant vote but said: "It may be that an investigation would reveal the fact that a very important source of difficulty is to be found in the failure of intelligent men to exercise their citizens.h.i.+p. If this proves true it may be found necessary to turn a leaf backward in our history and adopt the plan in vogue in some of the New England colonies which made voting compulsory, and it may be found feasible to demand of every voter who absents himself on election day an excuse for his absence, and when he has absented himself without good excuse for a definite number of elections, he may be made to suffer the punishment of disfranchis.e.m.e.nt...." She called attention to the record that at the last presidential election more than 7,000,000 men over twenty-one years of age did not vote and asked: "What is to be done about it? Are qualified women citizens to wait in patience until influences now unseen shall sweep away the difficulties and restore the lost enthusiasm for democracy? Or shall they attempt to determine causes, apply remedies and clear the way for their own enfranchis.e.m.e.nt? That is our problem. For myself, I will say I prefer not to wait. I prefer to do my part, small as it must be, in the great task of the removal of the obstructions which clog the wheels of the onward movement of popular government."

The convention was especially fortunate in having among its speakers a charming and gifted young woman, Mrs. A. Watson Lister of Melbourne, Australia, a country whose first national Parliament had two years before conferred on women full suffrage and eligibility to all offices. She showed a remarkable knowledge of laws and conditions affecting women and was thoroughly informed on every phase of the suffrage movement. The second evening she spoke on Woman's Vote in Australia to an audience that was not willing to have her stop, saying in part:

Australia does lead the world in democratic government, a government by the whole people, women as well as men, but we realize the great debt that we owe to your brave pioneer women.

We are reaping the harvest which they planted. To us the names of Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are household words. It seems strange to me to be asked to come here to tell you anything about suffrage, for with us the American woman has been supposed to know and have everything.

Australia is as large as the United States and women have national and munic.i.p.al suffrage and in four of our six States they have State suffrage--South and West Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania. In Victoria and Queensland they do not yet possess it. When the six States became federated it was provided that federal suffrage throughout Australia should be on the same basis as State suffrage where it was the most liberal. South and West Australia had it in full, so the women obtained it throughout Australia in national elections. There was so little opposition or discussion, it was regarded so completely as an accepted fact and foregone conclusion, that most women did not even know the measure had pa.s.sed. It was not an experiment, as our men had seen its working in South and West Australia for years and also in New Zealand, which is the most democratic and best governed country in the world.

In Australia women are eligible to all offices, even that of Prime Minister. At the last elections five stood for Parliament.

Miss Vida Goldstein was a candidate in Victoria. Although both our large newspapers ignored her meetings she got 51,000 votes, while the man highest got about 100,000. Not one of the five women came out at the bottom of the poll....

After we had worked for years with members of Parliament for various reforms without avail because we had no votes, you can not imagine the difference the vote makes. When we held meetings to advocate public measures that women wanted, we used to have to go out into the highways and hedges and compel the members of Parliament to come in; now the difficulty is to keep them out. I have seen seven Senators at one small meeting. A prominent man who, by an oversight, was not invited to the one held to welcome Miss Goldstein on her return from the United States was decidedly offended. Chivalry has not been destroyed but increased. On the platform at one of our meetings the secretary happened to drop her pencil and I saw the Premier and several members of Parliament scrambling to pick it up. A woman is never allowed to stand in a street car in Australia....

A good deal of light was shed on the inside history of the organized anti-suffrage movement, which if turned on in other countries would disclose a similar situation. "Our Anti-Suffrage a.s.sociation," she said, "died three months after it was born. It was formed by two of our leading manufacturers, who hid behind their daughters. They had plenty of money, took a large office on a main street, employed several paid secretaries and spent more in three months than we had done in all our years of work. They paid little boys and girls to circulate their pet.i.tion and got many signatures under false pretences.... Much was made of their pet.i.tion though it was not half as large as ours. The daughters of these manufacturers drove up in their carriages to their fathers' factories at the lunch hour and made the working girls sign their pet.i.tion."

A scholarly review of Morley's Life of Gladstone was given by Mrs.

Harriot Stanton Blatch (Eng.). Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman turned A New Light on the Woman Question, saying:

My subject is a scientific theory as to the origin and relation of the eternal duo. It was started by our greatest living sociologist, Lester Ward--the explanation of the order in which the s.e.xes were developed. What is it that this suffrage movement has had to meet, as it has plowed along up hill for fifty years, with its tremendous battery of arguments which it discharges into thin air? What it has to overcome is not an argument but a feeling, which rests at bottom on the idea expressed in the "rib story." As a parable this fairly represents the old belief that man was created first, that he was the race, was "it," and that woman was created, as modern jokers put it, for "Adams Express Company." The poet expressed the same idea when he called woman "G.o.d's last, best gift to man." ... Ward gives the biological facts. In the evolution of species the earliest periods were the longest. During ages of the world's history, while animal life was slowly evolving, the female was the larger, stronger and more representative creature; the male was small, often a parasite, told off for the sole purpose of reproduction. By natural selection, the female choosing always the best male, the male was gradually developed until he became bigger and stronger than the female. For a time natural selection continued to work, the males competing for the favor of the female. Then the male reduced the female to subjection. It occurred to him that it was easier to fight one little female once and subjugate her than to fight a lot of big males over and over.

The feminine ideal with many is the bee-hive--lots of honey, lots of young ones and nothing else. It was necessary that the male should become dominant for a time if the race was to progress.

Now women are ceasing to be subjugated and we are approaching a state of equal rights. It was through a free motherhood and the female's constant selection of the best mate that she brought into the world power and brain enough to enable man to do what he has done. That free motherhood, reinstated, choosing always the best and refusing anything less, will bring us a higher humanity than we have yet known.

The usual Work Conferences were held and the Executive Committee presented the Plan of Work which was adopted. In addition to the usual recommendations it urged that a Memorial Organization Fund be established to perpetuate the memory of pioneers and that a legal adviser for the a.s.sociation be appointed from its women lawyer members. The morning meetings as always were given up to business and reports of officers, chairmen of committees and field workers and the afternoons to State reports. The latter, made for the most part by the presidents, showed faithful work going on in every State and progress in many. Miss Helen Kimber reported that the Legislature of Kansas had added to the School franchise, which the women had possessed ever since the State came into the Union, the right to vote on all public expenditure of money for issuing of bonds, waterworks, sewerage, libraries, etc. Miss Elizabeth J. Hauser, office secretary, told of the removal of the national headquarters from New York, where they had first been established, to Warren, O., where they occupied two large rooms on the lower floor of an old vine-covered family residence in the heart of town. From here 35,000 pieces of literature had been sent out and here had been printed 2,000 each of Lucy Stone and Mrs.

Stanton birthday souvenirs, a booklet to be used on Miss Anthony's birthday; 10,000 suffrage stamps, Christmas blotters, etc., and 10,000 letters written. The subscription list of _Progress_ had been increased from 950 to 4,000 and a weekly headquarters' letter had been sent to the _Woman's Journal_. Resolutions for woman suffrage had been obtained in international, national and a large number of State conventions.

Mrs. Harriet Taylor Upton, the treasurer, reported the receipts, $21,117, the largest in the history of the a.s.sociation. It contributed $3,255 to the New Hamps.h.i.+re campaign. Neither Mrs. Upton nor any of the national officers received a salary (except the secretary, who had a nominal one), and in referring to the immense amount of unpaid work done by them and by women in the different States, she said: "People outside of the a.s.sociation often ask why it is that women can be found who are willing to give their time to a work without recompense. We can not answer such inquiries and yet we ourselves know that, through this devotion to a just and holy cause, we rise to a higher plane, we see with larger eyes, we feel the presence of the real self of our fellow-worker. We can no more explain why this is so than we can a.n.a.lyze 'mother love,' or the love of a daughter for a father but we know it. It is for this reason your treasurer rejoices over the day she was so placed, either by design or chance, and so blessed with perfect health that she was able to serve in the cause of woman's political freedom." Mrs. Upton referred to Mrs. Cornelia C. Hussey's bequest of $10,000 and that of Mrs. Henrietta M. Banker, from which the a.s.sociation realized $3,000.

Detailed and valuable reports were made by the chairman of committees on Presidential Suffrage, Federal Suffrage, Congressional Work, Civil Rights, Church Work, Enrollment and others. Mrs. Catt reported for the Committee on Literature. Mrs. Catt with Mrs. Blankenburg (Penn.), Mrs.

Lucy Hobart Day (Me.) and Mrs. Minola Graham s.e.xton (N. J.), presidents of their State a.s.sociations, presided over Work Conferences. Mrs. Ida Porter Boyer, in her report on Libraries and Bibliography, brought to light the lax manner in which many State libraries are conducted. In that of New Jersey no catalogue had been printed for fifty years. In Montana the collection of books was thirty-five years old and had never been catalogued or cla.s.sified.

Various librarians reported no works on woman suffrage and women from those States rose in the audience and said that they had themselves presented the History of Woman Suffrage--four large volumes. Mrs.

Elnora M. Babc.o.c.k (N. Y.), chairman of the Press Committee, reported 93,600 general articles sent out; 3,665 special articles, much plate matter, many personal sketches, photographs, etc., and a number of new papers added to her list.

Mrs. Maud Nathan read the report of Mrs. Florence Kelley, chairman of the Committee on Industrial Problems Affecting Women and Children. As executive secretary of the National Consumers' League Mrs. Kelley was well qualified to speak and she gave an account of the labor laws in the southern States affecting girls between 16 and 21, who are neither children nor women, which was heartbreaking. Pennsylvania was equally guilty but most of the northern States had improved their laws, Illinois leading; in none, however, were they wholly adequate. She urged the appointment of more women factory inspectors, who were now employed in only eight States, and scored "the default of the prosperous women of the country," saying: "It may be said that women are not morally responsible for this unfortunate state of affairs, since they do not make the laws, but the facts do not altogether justify this excuse. The child-labor legislation which has been achieved through the efforts of women during the past ten years shows that women can do very much even without the ballot in the way of securing legislation on behalf of women and children, and it remains true that women buy the product of the work of women and children far more than do men.... It is my hope that this great and influential national suffrage organization may so influence public opinion that a series of beneficent results will soon become visible."

An Evening with the Philanthropists was one of the most enjoyable during the week. The Rev. Anna Garlin Spencer, of whom Felix Adler, head of the Ethical Culture Society of New York, was quoted as saying: "She is the only woman with whom I would share my platform," was the first speaker. In considering New Professions in Philanthropic Work for Women, she said: "Charity is old but social science is new and it is the uniting of the two that makes modern philanthropy and that is what opens these new professions. Charity is supposed to come by nature but the knowledge of how to deal with its problems does not.

Society is divided into three groups. First, the reformers--a group never too large, often seemingly too small--who make the way for those that come after. They are often like the artist whose daughter, being asked if her father had been successful, answered that he was 'successful after he was dead.' Then comes the great group, the 'middle-of-the-road' people, who walk along, slowly developing, supporting the churches and schools, holding today's standards and ideals--the people who live in today and who make up the fabric of the world. They are sometimes irritating but they hold what has been gained and they gradually grow. Then there is a group behind, what the French call the 'unfinished' infants--the defectives, the moral and physical imbeciles, the backward and incompetent. We must study how to reduce this social burden in an intelligent way. This has started a new cla.s.s of vocations as sacred as the ministry was of old."

A very convincing address was given by Dr. Samuel J. Barrows (Ma.s.s.), secretary of the National Prison Reform a.s.sociation, on Women and Prison Reform. In referring to the progress of prison reform he said: "In this array of apostles and prophets and expositors of the new penology we find men and women standing side by side." He described the work in this reform by eminent women in Europe and the United States and concluded: "In the field of penology woman needs the ballot as she needs it in other fields, not as an end but as a means, as an instrument through which she can express her conviction, her conscience, intelligence, sympathy and love. Questions in philanthropy are more and more forcing themselves to the front in legislation.

Women are obliged to journey to the Legislature at every session to instruct members and committees at legislative hearings. Some of these days the public will think it absurd that women who are capable of instructing men how to vote should not be allowed to vote themselves.

If police and prison records mean anything they mean that, considered as law-abiding citizens, women are ten times as good as men. Why debar the better and enfranchise the worse? In the field of commercial and political compet.i.tion, woman may demand the ballot as a right but in the field of philanthropy and reform she needs it for the fulfillment of her duties."

Mrs. Nathan, president of the New York Consumers' League, considered the Wage Earner and the Ballot, her handsome presence, fine humor and long experience rendering her an unusually attractive speaker. "The opponents of our cause," she said, "whether they be of the fair s.e.x or the unfair s.e.x, seem to think that we regard the extension of the suffrage to women as a panacea for all evils in this world and the next. No honest suffragist has ever taken that ground. I can not endorse any such general or sweeping statement but I feel that my experience in investigating the condition of women wage-earners warrants the a.s.sertion that some of the evils from which they suffer would not exist if the women had the right to place their votes in the ballot-box." She compared the industrial and educational situation where women voted with that of States where they did not and showed how women were excluded from official positions because disfranchised, giving conclusive instances of the discrimination in her own State. "I feel that not only on account of the women wage-earners should women be accorded the ballot," she said, "but also because they are very largely the spenders of all family incomes and as such they have the right to the a.s.surance that what they buy is free from adulteration and has been produced under clean, wholesome and humane conditions.

For this right the Consumers' League persistently contends but it can be only partially successful, in my opinion, so long as it depends entirely upon moral suasion, while manufacturers and merchants have the voting power to hold in terror over its administration."

Mrs. Lucia Ames Mead, president of the Ma.s.sachusetts State Suffrage a.s.sociation and a leader in the movement for peace and arbitration, was on the program to talk of Woman's Work for Peace. "I am not going to speak of any philanthropy," she began, "but of something much more far-reaching and radical, which will make three-fourths of our philanthropy needless." She then made an impa.s.sioned plea for a world organization of the forces that would conduce to peace. Representative government was the first step, she said, and the establishment of a World Court was the next. The achievement of an International Advisory Congress might be the third. "A simultaneous effort must be made," she declared, "to arrange arbitration treaties with every nation on earth, referring all questions that cannot be settled by diplomacy to the Hague Court. Questions of 'honor' must not be excluded. Carnegie well said in his plea for this plan, 'No word has been so dishonored as the word honor.' Such treaties and the use of the economic boycott upon European enemies would be vastly more efficient than battles.h.i.+ps to keep the peace.... We need to convert the church. There are many of our Christian ministers who believe they are living under the dispensation of Joshua and not of Jesus."

At the conclusion of Mrs. Mead's address Mrs. Catt said: "Sometimes the cause of peace and arbitration seems to me the greatest of all. To help working women was the motive that determined me to devote my life to obtaining woman suffrage. How hard it is that women must spend so many years just to get the means with which to effect reforms! But we who believe that behind them all is the ballot are chained to the work for that until it is gained."

The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 8

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