The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 20

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The "militant" suffrage movement in Great Britain, at this time in its early stage, was attracting world-wide attention and Mrs. Snowden devoted much of her address to explaining it, saying in part: "Our methods may seem strange to you, for perhaps you do not fully understand. We have the Munic.i.p.al vote and have used it for many years. Today an Englishwoman may vote for every official except a member of Parliament; she may sit in every political body except the Parliament and we are after that last right. We have 420 members out of 670 of its members pledged to this reform. When the full suffrage bill went to its second reading the votes stood three to one in favor.

We want that vote put through but it is the British Cabinet we must get at to approve finally the act when it has pa.s.sed the two Houses.

It is the Government we are trying to annoy. Our Government never moves in any radical way until it is kicked. Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, when prime minister, advised the women to hara.s.s the Government until they got what they wanted and that is just what we are doing today. The Liberal Government, helped into power by at least 80,000 tax-paying women, promised to grant their rights. How have they kept that promise?"

Speaking of the two "militant" societies Mrs. Snowden said: "Our policy of aggressiveness has been justified by its results. When we began almost every newspaper in England was against us. Now, with one exception, the _Times_, the London papers are all for us. The 'militancy' thus far has consisted chiefly in 'heckling' speakers; a.s.sembling before the House of Commons in large numbers; getting into the gallery and into public meetings and calling out 'Votes for Women'

and breaking windows in government buildings, a time-honored English custom of showing disapproval. Many suffragists in the United States, knowing the contemptuous manner in which those of Great Britain and Ireland have been treated by the Government, have felt a good deal of sympathy with these measures." At this convention and the one preceding sympathy was expressed by Dr. Shaw and others and resolutions to this effect were adopted.

One of the Buffalo papers said in regard to the election of officers: "If the way the women vote at the national convention may be taken as a criterion of what they will do when they gain the ballot, there will be very little electioneering. Yesterday's election was characterized by entire absence of wire-pulling. The balloting was done quickly and there was no contest for any office, the women voting as they wished and only a few scattered ballots going for particular friends of voters. The election of the president, first vice-president, corresponding secretary and treasurer was unanimous and the others so nearly so that there was no question of result by the time half the ballots had been counted." Mrs. Sperry retired from the office of second vice-president and Mrs. Ella S. Stewart, president of the Illinois suffrage a.s.sociation, was chosen in her place.

The paper on Some Legal Phases of the Disfranchis.e.m.e.nt of Women by Mrs. Harriette Johnston Wood, a New York lawyer, was regarded as so important that it was ordered to be printed for circulation. She quoted from Federal and State const.i.tutions and court decisions to prove that "if properly construed the laws specify the rights and privileges of 'persons' and no distinction is made as to 's.e.x' in provisions relating to the elective franchise." She encouraged women to try to register for voting and qualify for jury service and urged that bills be presented to legislative bodies covering the following points: First, that citizens shall equally enjoy all civil and political rights and privileges; second, that in the selection of jurors no discrimination shall be made against citizens on account of s.e.x; third, that representation be based on the electorate and that non-voters be non-taxpayers; fourth, that husband and wife have equal right in each other's property; fifth, equal rights in the property of a child; sixth, in case of separation, equal rights to the custody of the children. A visit to the Albright Art Gallery and an automobile ride along the lake front, through Delaware Park and the many handsome avenues of the city, was a much-enjoyed part of this afternoon's program.

At one evening session Miss Grace H. Ballantyne, attorney in the noted City Hall case at Des Moines, Iowa, gave a spirited account of the way in which the women's right to vote on issuing bonds was sustained.

Mrs. Kate Trimble Woolsey (Ky.), who had resided some years in England, compared the condition of women in that country and the United States to the disadvantage of the latter, "where," she said, "the women did not profit by the Declaration of Independence but on the contrary lost when the colonies were supplanted by the republic.

In this they discover that a republic may endure as a political inst.i.tution to the end of time without conferring recognition, honors or power on women; that it can exist as an oligarchy of s.e.x, and they say: 'Why should we be loyal to this government?' Thus through women republicanism itself is imperiled and I tell you that if an amendment is not added to the National Const.i.tution giving women the power to vote, this republic, within the living generation, will find that prophecy, 'Woman is the rock upon which our s.h.i.+p of State is to founder,' will be fulfilled."

As chairman of the Committee on Peace and Arbitration Mrs. Lucia Ames Mead gave a report of its many activities. In 1907 she had attended a plenary session at The Hague Peace Conference, which she described in glowing terms, and she went as a delegate in September to an International Peace Conference in Munich. In July, 1908, she went to one in London, where Mrs. Belva A. Lockwood of Was.h.i.+ngton, D. C., presented a paper on the Central American Peace Congress, held in that city, and the recently established Arbitration Court, which formed the basis of three resolutions adopted by the congress. She told of the new society, the American School Peace League to improve the teaching of history and in every way promote international fraternity, sympathy and justice.

During business meetings the following were among the recommendations adopted: To recommend to States to continue a systematic and specialized distribution of literature; to secure and present to Congress at an early date a pet.i.tion asking for a 16th Amendment enfranchising women, the chair to appoint a committee to superintend this work; to try to obtain the appointment of a U. S. Senate Committee on Woman Suffrage favorable to it; to send letters simultaneously to the President of the United States in advance of the time for writing his message, followed by telegrams one week preceding the opening of Congress, expressing the wishes of women for the ballot; to ask their Legislatures for some form of suffrage and follow up this request with systematic legislative work; to urge that States having any form of partial suffrage take measures to secure the largest possible use of it by women. It was decided to appropriate $125 for two months' work in South Dakota to ascertain conditions with a view to the submission of a State amendment.

The resolutions presented by Mr. Blackwell, chairman of the committee, reviewed the wonderful progress made by women since the first convention whose 60th anniversary they were celebrating. They told of the progress of suffrage, as outlined in the Call for the convention, and said: "When that first convention met, one college in the United States admitted women; now hundreds do so. Then there was not a single woman physician or ordained minister or lawyer; now there are 7,000 women physicians and surgeons, 3,000 ordained ministers and 1,000 lawyers. Then only a few poorly-paid employments were open to women; now they are in more than three hundred occupations and comprise 80 per cent. of our school teachers. Then there were scarcely any organizations of women; now such organizations are numbered by thousands. Then the few women who dared to speak in public, even on philanthropic questions, were overwhelmingly condemned by public opinion; now the women most opposed to woman suffrage travel about the country making speeches to prove that a woman's only place is at home.

Then a married woman in most of our States could not control her own person, property or earnings; now in most of them these laws have been largely amended or repealed and it is only in regard to the ballot that the fiction of woman's perpetual minority is still kept up."

Mrs. Catt's powerful address was ent.i.tled The Battle to the Strong but nothing is preserved except newspaper clippings. She ended by saying: "In all history there has been no event fraught with more importance for the generations to follow than the present uprising of the women of the world.... Every struggle helps and no movement for right, for reform in this country or in England but has made the woman's movement easier in every other land. We have brought the countries of the world very close together in the last few years. Papers and cables and telegraph spread the news almost instantly to the centres of the earth and then to the obscure corners, so that the women of other nations know what the women here are doing and what they are doing in every other part of the world.... The suffrage campaign in England has become the kind of fanaticism that caused the American Revolution.

These women are no longer reformers, they are rebels, and they are going to win.... Woman's hour has struck at last and all along the line there is a mobilization of the woman's army ready for service. We are going forward with flags flying to win. If you are not for us you are against us. Justice for the women of the world is coming. This is to be a battle to the strong--strong in faith, strong in courage, strong in conviction. Women of America, stand up for the citizens.h.i.+p of our own country and let the world know we are not ashamed of the Declaration of Independence!"

A newspaper account said: "And then Anna Howard Shaw stepped forward, the light of a great purpose s.h.i.+ning in her eyes. 'Our International president has asked for recruits,' she said. 'Never have we had so many as now.' She spoke of the immense gains to the suffrage cause within the last few months in America and of the suffrage pioneers and their sufferings, and ended: 'The path has been blazed for us and they have shown us the way. Who shall say that our triumph is to be long delayed? It is the hour for us to rally. We have enlisted for the war.

Ninety days? No; for the war! We may not win every battle but we shall win the war. Happy they who are the burden-bearers in a great fight!

Happy is any man or woman who is called by the Giver of all to serve Him in the cause of humanity! Friends, come with us and we will do you good; but whether you come or not we are going, and when we enter the promised land of freedom we will try to be just and to show that we understand what freedom is, what the law is. 'G.o.d grant us law in liberty and liberty in law!'"

FOOTNOTES:

[56] Part of Call: Since we met last in convention women in Norway have won full suffrage; tax-paying women in Iceland have been granted a vote and made eligible as munic.i.p.al councillors; Munic.i.p.al suffrage has been given to women in Denmark and they now vote for all officers except members of Parliament; women in Sweden, who already had the Munic.i.p.al vote, have been made eligible to munic.i.p.al offices; a proxy in the election of the Douma has been conferred on women of property in Russia. In Great Britain, where they have long possessed Munic.i.p.al suffrage, women have been made eligible as mayors, county, borough and town councillors and their heroic struggle for Parliamentary suffrage is attracting the attention of the world.

In our own country during the past year, 175,000 women of Michigan appealed for full suffrage to its const.i.tutional convention and a partial franchise was given; in Oregon women obtained the submission of a const.i.tutional amendment for suffrage to a referendum vote.

Though no large victories were won the advocates of equal suffrage have never felt more hopeful, as public sentiment is in closer sympathy with them than ever before. Five hundred a.s.sociations of men, organized for other purposes and numbering millions of voters, have officially declared for woman suffrage; only one, the organized liquor traffic, has made a record of unremitting hostility to it and the domination of the saloon in politics has wrested many victories from our grasp....

We cordially invite all men and women who have faith in the principles of the American government and love liberty and justice to meet with us in convention in Buffalo.

ANNA HOWARD SHAW, President.

RACHEL FOSTER AVERY, First Vice-President.

FLORENCE KELLY, Second Vice-President.

KATE M. GORDON, Corresponding Secretary.

ALICE STONE BLACKWELL, Recording Secretary.

HARRIET TAYLOR UPTON, Treasurer.

LAURA CLAY, } MARY SIMPSON SPERRY,} Auditors.

[57] Other ministers who officiated at different times were the Reverends Anna Howard Shaw, Anna Garlin Spencer and Olympia Brown of the convention, and the Reverends Richard W. Boynton, Robert Freeman, L. O. Williams, E. H. d.i.c.kinson and F. Hyatt Smith of Buffalo.

[58] For full account see History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I, page 67.

[59] This fund had been raised primarily to pay salaries to officers who now had to devote their whole time to the increased work of the a.s.sociation and who had hitherto for the most part given their service gratuitously. Dr. Shaw received $3,500; the secretary $1,000, the treasurer $1,000. This left $6,500 for other purposes each year.

CHAPTER IX.

NATIONAL AMERICAN CONVENTION OF 1909.

The invitation to hold the Forty-first annual convention of the a.s.sociation in Seattle was accepted for two special reasons. The Was.h.i.+ngton Legislature had submitted a woman suffrage amendment to be voted on in 1910; similar action had been taken by the Legislatures of Oregon and South Dakota, and a convention on the Pacific Coast would attract western people and create sentiment in favor of these amendments. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in progress during the summer, by causing reduced railroad rates, would enable those of the east and middle west to attend the convention and visit this beautiful section of the country.[60] The date fixed was July 1-6.

The eastern delegates a.s.sembled in Chicago on June 25 to take the "suffrage special" train for Seattle and a reception was given to them at Hotel Stratford by the Chicago suffragists. At St. Paul the next morning ex-Senator S. A. Stockwell and Mrs. Stockwell, president of the Minnesota a.s.sociation, with a delegation of suffragists, met them at the station and escorted them to the Woman's Exchange, where a delicious breakfast was served on tables adorned with golden iris and ferns. Many club officials were there and brief addresses were made by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, Mrs. Florence Kelley, Miss Laura Clay, Mrs.

f.a.n.n.y Garrison Villard, Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Miss Alice Stone Blackwell, Miss Kate M. Gordon and Mrs. Harriet Taylor Upton.

Mrs. Villard recalled a visit she had made there twenty-six years before with her husband, Henry Villard, who had just completed the Northern Pacific Railroad and his train was making a kind of triumphal tour across the continent. "St. Paul welcomed him with a procession ten miles long," she said, "and Minneapolis, determined not to be outdone, got up one fifteen miles long. It gives me joy to remember that not only my father, William Lloyd Garrison, but also my good German-born husband believed in equal rights for women."

The train sped through the Great Northwest and continuous business meetings were held by the board of officers in what was usually the smoking car until the next stop was made at Spokane, Was.h.i.+ngton. Here the Chamber of Commerce had appropriated $500 for their entertainment.

They were presented with b.u.t.tons and badges and taken in automobiles through the beautiful residence district, the handsome grounds of the three colleges and to the picturesque Falls. Then they saw the fine exhibits in the Chamber of Commerce and were taken to the Amateur Athletic Club, whose facilities for rest and recreation were placed at their disposal. An elaborate banquet followed with Mrs. May Arkwright Hutton, president of the Spokane Equal Suffrage Club, presiding. Mrs.

Emma Smith De Voe, president of the State Suffrage a.s.sociation, welcomed them to Was.h.i.+ngton, and Mayor N. S. Pratt to the city. "I have welcomed many organizations to Spokane," he said, "but none with so much pleasure as this. My belief in equal suffrage is no new conviction; I have voted for it twice and hope soon to do so again.

The coming of equal rights for women is the inevitable result of progress and enlightenment." He presented Dr. Shaw with a gavel made of wood from the four suffrage States bound together with a band of Idaho silver and expressed the hope that when she used it to open the convention in Seattle the sound would be like "the shot heard round the world."

The account in the _Woman's Journal_ said: "Dr. Shaw, in returning thanks, said: 'It is an apt simile, for the blow will be struck on the Pacific Coast and it needs to be heard to the Atlantic and not only from the west to the east but from the north to the south. I hope it will be answered by men who, having known themselves what freedom is, wish to give women the benefits of it also. The only man who can be in any way excused for wanting to withhold freedom from women is the man who is himself a slave.' She recalled the times when the suffragists were offered not banquets but abuse and compared them to the pioneer days of clearing the forest. She closed with a beautiful tribute to the pioneer mothers and called upon the men to pay their debt to them next November."

Mrs. Villard, recalling here also her visit of more than a quarter of a century before, said in part: "Never could I have believed that such changes could have been wrought since that historic train. Then there was nothing at Spokane but Indians and cowboys and the beautiful Falls. I am glad you want women to share the full life of the city.

'The woman's cause is man's.' This movement is as wide as the world and will benefit men as well as women. I have come on this trip largely because I like to connect my husband's name not merely with the building of a great railroad but also with the cause of justice to women in which he believed. I wish greater and greater prosperity to Spokane but with her material prosperity let her not forget the larger things which must go hand in hand with it if cities are not to perish from the earth."

Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway of Portland, Ore., the renowned suffrage pioneer of the northwest, was enthusiastically received and in the course of her interesting reminiscences said: "I remember when 'Old Oregon' comprised most of the Pacific Northwest. At that time I was living in a log cabin engaged in the very domestic occupation of raising a large family of small children.... On my first visit to Spokane I came by stage from Walla Walla. It went b.u.mping and careening over the rocks and the one hotel of the village had not accommodations for the three or four pa.s.sengers. They made up improvised beds for us on slats and all the food we had for several days was bread and sugar, but I enjoyed it for after such a journey anything tasted good. There was only one little hall in the town and I was importuned by Captain Wilkinson of Portland to speak. So I hired the hall for Sunday and he advised me to offer it to a clergyman there for the afternoon service. I did so and asked him to announce after his sermon that my meeting would be held in the evening. He accepted the use of the hall but failed to give the notice. When I asked him about it he said: 'Do you think I would notice a woman's meeting?' But we had a good one and almost everybody in Spokane subscribed for my paper, the _New Northwest_. The next time I came here was to celebrate the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. I had the honor of writing a poem for the occasion and reading it in that little hall and Henry Villard wrote me a letter about it."

A large evening meeting was held in the First Methodist Church with Mrs. LaReine Baker presiding. Henry B. Blackwell and Prof. Frances Squire Potter were among the national speakers. A tired lot of travellers but happy over their cordial welcome took the night train.

Next day they stopped for a brief time at North Yakima and Ellensburg and spoke from the rear platform to the crowds awaiting them. Women, girls and children dressed in white greeted them with banners, songs and quant.i.ties of the lovely roses for which that section is noted and with fancy baskets of the wonderful cherries and apples. During several hours spent in Tacoma they had the famous ride around the city in special trolley cars, supper at sunset on the veranda of a hotel overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound and a walk through the magnificent park.

The never to be forgotten convention in Seattle was preceded by an evening reception on June 30 in Lincoln Hotel, given by the State suffrage a.s.sociation, whose former president, Mrs. Homer M. Hill, extended its welcome to the delegates. Dr. Shaw, the national president, called the convention to order the next afternoon in the large Plymouth Congregational Church and the audience sang The March of the Mothers. Mrs. Margaret B. Platt brought the greetings of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, pointing out that "there are wrongs which can never be righted until woman holds in her hand the ballot, symbol of the power to right them." In introducing Mrs. M. B.

Lord to speak for the Grange, Dr. Shaw said she herself was a member of it. Mrs. Lord said in part: "From the first of it women came into our organization on a perfect equality and for forty years the Grange has carried on an education for woman suffrage. It was the proudest moment of my life when I got a resolution for it through the New York State Grange. Here in Was.h.i.+ngton it has increased three-fold in five years and always pa.s.ses a resolution in favor of suffrage for women."

Mrs. De Voe gave a big-hearted welcome from the State and Mrs. Mary S.

Sperry, president of the California suffrage a.s.sociation, made a gracious response. By a rising vote the convention sent a message of warm regard to Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt of New York, the former national president, and regret that she was not able to be present.

Dr. Shaw spoke of the "masterly way" in which she had presided at the meeting of the International Suffrage Alliance in London in May, "her power and dignity commanding universal respect," and told of the message of greeting from Queen Maud of Norway and other incidents of the congress.

Leaving more formal ceremonies for the evening the convention proceeded to business and listened to the report of the corresponding secretary, Miss Gordon (La.). In referring to the specialized literature which had been sent out, she spoke of the letter of the Brewers' and Wholesale Liquor Dealers' a.s.sociation, so widely circulated during the recent Oregon Suffrage campaign, calling the attention of all retailers in the State to the necessity of defeating the amendment, and to the postal instructing them how to mark their ballot, with a return card signifying their willingness. This had been put into an "exhibit" by Miss Blackwell and her Literature Committee and Miss Gordon urged that clergymen of all denominations should be circularized with it. She said: "I believe the a.s.sociation should not be dissuaded from this undertaking because of the amount of work and its costliness. The burden of responsibility rests upon us to prove with such evidence that the worst enemy of the church and the most active enemy of woman suffrage is a mutual foe, the 'organized liquor and vice power.' If in the face of such direct evidence representatives of the church still allow prejudice, ignorance or indifference to woman suffrage to influence them, then they knowingly become the common allies of this power."

Miss Gordon gave instances to show the great change taking place in the att.i.tude of the public toward woman suffrage and said the present difficulty was to utilize the opportunities which presented themselves. She urged more concentrated effort from the national headquarters and a substantial appropriation to enable the chairmen of the standing committees to carry on their work; also that they should be elected instead of appointed and be members of the official board, and she concluded: "It is earnestly recommended that suffragists take steps to politicalize their methods. The primaries, affording in many States an opportunity for women to secure the nominations of favorable candidates; active interest in defeating the election of those opposed to suffrage; the questioning of candidates, etc., are all instances where intelligent interest and activity on the part of suffragists will educate the public far more effectively than debates, lectures and literature--to see that women are determined to take an active part in so-called politics, so intimately a.s.sociated for weal or woe in their lives."

The reports of the headquarters secretary and national press chairman, Miss Elizabeth J. Hauser (Ohio) were read by Mrs. Upton. The first in speaking of the increased demands on the headquarters began: "In no previous presidential campaign in the United States were the views of candidates on the enfranchis.e.m.e.nt of women ever so generally commented on by the press. Perhaps never before did candidates consider the question of sufficient importance to have any opinion upon it. Never before did the newspaper interviewer put to every possible personage--politician or preacher, writer or speaker, inventor or explorer, captain of industry, social worker, actor, prize-fighter, maid, matron, widow--the burning query, 'What about votes for women?'"

She told of about 30,000 letters having been sent out and an average of nearly 1,000 pieces of literature a day, as many in the first half of the present year as in all of 1908. The Book Department, in charge of Miss Caroline I. Reilly, reported that the sales of the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony had amounted to $800; 200 sets of the History of Woman Suffrage had been placed in the libraries of the leading colleges and universities; 100 copies of the Reports of the last two national conventions had been put into the libraries which keep the file.

The delegates to the presidential nominating conventions had been appealed to by letter for a suffrage plank in the platform but without result. The Independence Party convention in Chicago voted it down.

The usual work had been done in international and national conventions and many had adopted favorable resolutions, among them those of the International Bricklayers' and Stone Masons' Union meeting in Detroit; the International Cotton Spinners' Union in Boston and the Woman's National Trade Union League in that city: the National Council of Women and the Johns Hopkins Alumni a.s.sociation. The United Mine Workers of America, meeting at Indianapolis, pa.s.sed the woman suffrage resolution by unanimous vote and sent to the headquarters 500 copies of it, which were promptly mailed to members of Congress. The American Federation of Labor, representing 2,000,000 members, at its convention in Denver, followed its long established custom of pa.s.sing this resolution. Dr. Shaw attended the National Conference of Charities and Corrections: Mrs. Julia Ward Howe was received as a fraternal delegate from the National American Suffrage a.s.sociation by the General Federation of Women's Clubs at its biennial in Boston; Mrs. Stockwell by the convention of the American Library a.s.sociation; Mrs. Sperry and Mrs. Alice L. Park of California, by the Nurses a.s.sociated Alumnae of the United States; Mrs. Coryell by the American Baptist Home Missionary Society, and the a.s.sociation had representatives at many other conventions. "To summarize, 29 national a.s.sociations have endorsed woman suffrage; 14 others have taken action on some phase of the question; 20 State Federations of Labor, 16 State Granges and seven State Letter Carriers' a.s.sociations have endorsed it. Some of the States have carried on a very active propaganda in this direction, securing endors.e.m.e.nts from hundreds of local organizations representing labor unions, educational and religious societies, Farmers' Inst.i.tutes, etc."

In the press report Miss Hauser said that 43,000 copies of _Progress_ had been sent out and 52,095 pages of material representing 190 different subjects had been distributed, including 1,262 copies of Mrs. Catt's address to the International Suffrage Alliance. She told of the special articles, of the full pages, of the personal work with editors--a report of remarkable accomplishment, filling eight printed pages of the Minutes. In concluding she said: "The day of old methods has gone by and if new methods are to be successfully developed there must be for press chairman a woman who is not only acquainted with the philosophy and history of the woman suffrage movement but who is possessed of the newspaper instinct and the ability to make friends readily. Nothing but press work should be expected of her and she should be enabled to get in touch with the controlling forces in the newspaper world." This report was supplemented with that of Miss Blackwell, chairman of the Committee on Literature.

The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 20

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