Eighty Years And More; Reminiscences 1815-1897
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Part 5 out of 7

evening, on the piazza. There was a constant succession of people going
and coming, even in that far-off region, and all had their adventures to
relate. But none quite equaled my experiences.

We spent a day in the Calaveras Grove, rested beneath the "big trees,"
and rode on horseback through the fallen trunk of one of them. Some
vandals sawed off one of the most magnificent specimens twenty feet
above the ground, and, on this the owners of the hotel built a little
octagonal chapel. The polished wood, with bark for a border, made a very
pretty floor. Here they often had Sunday services, as it held about one
hundred people. Here, too, we discussed the suffrage question, amid
these majestic trees that had battled with the winds two thousand
years, and had probably never before listened to such rebellion as we
preached to the daughters of earth that day.

Here, again, we found our distinguished statesmen immortalized, each
with his namesake among these stately trees. We asked our guide if there
were any not yet appropriated, might we name them after women. As he
readily consented, we wrote on cards the names of a dozen leading women,
and tacked them on their respective trees. Whether Lucretia Mott, Lucy
Stone, Phoebe Couzins, and Anna Dickinson still retain their identity,
and answer when called by the goddess Sylvia in that majestic grove, I
know not. Twenty-five years have rolled by since then, and a new
generation of visitors and guides may have left no trace of our work
behind them. But we whispered our hopes and aspirations to the trees, to
be wafted to the powers above, and we left them indelibly pictured on
the walls of the little chapel, and for more mortal eyes we scattered
leaflets wherever we went, and made all our pleasure trips so many
propaganda for woman's enfranchisement.

Returning from California I made the journey straight through from San
Francisco to New York. Though a long trip to make without a break, yet I
enjoyed every moment, as I found most charming companions in Bishop
Janes and his daughter. The Bishop being very liberal in his ideas, we
discussed the various theologies, and all phases of the woman question.
I shall never forget those pleasant conversations as we sat outside on
the platform, day after day, and in the soft moonlight late at night. We
took up the thread of our debate each morning where we had dropped it
the night before. The Bishop told me about the resolution to take the
word "obey" from the marriage ceremony which he introduced, two years
before, into the Methodist General Conference and carried with but
little opposition. All praise to the Methodist Church! When our girls
are educated into a proper self-respect and laudable pride of sex, they
will scout all these old barbarisms of the past that point in any way to
the subject condition of women in either the State, the Church, or the
home. Until the other sects follow her example, I hope our girls will
insist on having their conjugal knots all tied by Methodist bishops.

The Episcopal marriage service not only still clings to the word "obey,"
but it has a most humiliating ceremony in giving the bride away. I was
never more struck with its odious and ludicrous features than on once
seeing a tall, queenly-looking woman, magnificently arrayed, married by
one of the tiniest priests that ever donned a surplice and gown, given
away by the smallest guardian that ever watched a woman's fortunes, to
the feeblest, bluest-looking little groom that ever placed a wedding
ring on bridal finger. Seeing these Lilliputians around her, I thought,
when the little priest said, "Who gives this woman to this man," that
she would take the responsibility and say, "I do," but no! there she
stood, calm, serene, as if it were no affair of hers, while the little
guardian, placing her hand in that of the little groom, said, "I do."
Thus was this stately woman bandied about by these three puny men, all
of whom she might have gathered up in her arms and borne off to their
respective places of abode.

But women are gradually waking up to the degradation of these
ceremonies. Not long since, at a wedding in high life, a beautiful girl
of eighteen was struck dumb at the word "obey." Three times the priest
pronounced it with emphasis and holy unction, each time slower, louder,
than before. Though the magnificent parlors were crowded, a breathless
silence reigned. Father, mother, and groom were in agony. The bride,
with downcast eyes, stood speechless. At length the priest slowly closed
his book and said, "The ceremony is at an end." One imploring word from
the groom, and a faint "obey" was heard in the solemn stillness. The
priest unclasped his book and the knot was tied. The congratulations,
feast, and all, went on as though there had been no break in the
proceedings, but the lesson was remembered, and many a rebel made by
that short pause.

I think all these reverend gentlemen who insist on the word "obey" in
the marriage service should be removed for a clear violation of the
Thirteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution, which says there shall
be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude within the United States.
As I gave these experiences to Bishop Janes he laughed heartily, and
asked me to repeat them to each newcomer. Our little debating society
was the center of attraction. One gentleman asked me if our woman
suffrage conventions were as entertaining. I told him yes; that there
were no meetings in Washington so interesting and so well attended as

As I had some woman-suffrage literature in my valise, I distributed
leaflets to all earnest souls who plied me with questions. Like all
other things, it requires great discretion in sowing leaflets, lest you
expose yourself to a rebuff. I never offer one to a man with a small
head and high heels on his boots, with his chin in the air, because I
know, in the nature of things, that he will be jealous of superior
women; nor to a woman whose mouth has the "prunes and prisms"
expression, for I know she will say, "I have all the rights I want."
Going up to London one day, a few years later, I noticed a saintly
sister, belonging to the Salvation Army, timidly offering some leaflets
to several persons on board; all coolly declined to receive them. Having
had much experience in the joys and sorrows of propagandism, I put out
my hand and asked her to give them to me. I thanked her and read them
before reaching London. It did me no harm and her much good in thinking
that she might have planted a new idea in my mind. Whatever is given to
us freely, I think, in common politeness, we should accept graciously.

While I was enjoying once more the comforts of home, on the blue hills
of Jersey, Miss Anthony was lighting the fires of liberty on the
mountain tops of Oregon and Washington Territory. All through the months
of October, November, and December, 1871, she was jolting about in
stages, over rough roads, speaking in every hamlet where a schoolhouse
was to be found, and scattering our breezy leaflets to the four winds of

From 1869 to 1873 Miss Anthony and I made several trips through Iowa,
Missouri, Illinois, and Nebraska, holding meetings at most of the chief
towns; I speaking in the afternoons to women alone on "Marriage and
Maternity." As Miss Anthony had other pressing engagements in Kansas and
Nebraska, I went alone to Texas, speaking in Dallas, Sherman, and
Houston, where I was delayed two weeks by floods and thus prevented
from going to Austin, Galveston, and some points in Louisiana, where I
was advertised to lecture. In fact I lost all my appointments for a
month. However, there was a fine hotel in Houston and many pleasant
people, among whom I made some valuable acquaintances. Beside several
public meetings, I had parlor talks and scattered leaflets, so that my
time was not lost.

As the floods had upset my plans for the winter, I went straight from
Houston to New York over the Iron Mountain Railroad. I anticipated a
rather solitary trip; but, fortunately, I met General Baird, whom I
knew, and some other army officers, who had been down on the Mexican
border to settle some troubles in the "free zone." We amused ourselves
on the long journey with whist and woman suffrage discussions. We
noticed a dyspeptic-looking clergyman, evidently of a bilious
temperament, eying us very steadily and disapprovingly the first day,
and in a quiet way we warned each other that, in due time, he would give
us a sermon on the sin of card playing.

Sitting alone, early next morning, he seated himself by my side, and
asked me if I would allow him to express his opinion on card playing. I
said "Oh, yes! I fully believe in free speech." "Well," said he, "I
never touch cards. I think they are an invention of the devil to lead
unwary souls from all serious thought of the stern duties of life and
the realities of eternity! I was sorry to see you, with your white hair,
probably near the end of your earthly career, playing cards and talking
with those reckless army officers, who delight in killing their
fellow-beings. No! I do not believe in war or card playing; such things
do not prepare the soul for heaven." "Well," said I, "you are quite
right, with your views, to abjure the society of army officers and all
games of cards. You, no doubt, enjoy your own thoughts and the book you
are reading, more than you would the conversation of those gentlemen and
a game of whist. We must regulate our conduct by our own highest ideal.
While I deplore the necessity of war, yet I know in our Army many of the
noblest types of manhood, whose acquaintance I prize most highly. I
enjoy all games, too, from chess down to dominoes. There is so much that
is sad and stern in life that we need sometimes to lay down its burdens
and indulge in innocent amusements. Thus, you see, what is wise from my
standpoint is unwise from yours. I am sorry that you repudiate all
amusements, as they contribute to the health of body and soul. You are
sorry that I do not think as you do and regulate my life accordingly.
You are sure that you are right. I am equally sure that I am. Hence
there is nothing to be done in either case but to let each other alone,
and wait for the slow process of evolution to give to each of us a
higher standard." Just then one of the officers asked me if I was ready
for a game of whist, and I excused myself from further discussion. I met
many of those dolorous saints in my travels, who spent so much thought
on eternity and saving their souls that they lost all the joys of time,
as well as those sweet virtues of courtesy and charity that might best
fit them for good works on earth and happiness in heaven.

In the spring I went to Nebraska, and Miss Anthony and I again made a
Western tour, sometimes together and sometimes by different routes. A
constitutional convention was in session in Lincoln, and it was
proposed to submit an amendment to strike the word "male" from the
Constitution. Nebraska became a State in March, 1867, and took "Equality
before the law" as her motto. Her Territorial legislature had discussed,
many times, proposed liberal legislation for women, and her State
legislature had twice considered propositions for woman's
enfranchisement. I had a valise with me containing Hon. Benjamin F.
Butler's minority reports as a member of the Judiciary Committee of the
United States House of Representatives, in favor of woman's right to
vote under the Fourteenth Amendment. As we were crossing the Platte
River, in transferring the baggage to the boat, my valise fell into the
river. My heart stood still at the thought of such a fate for all those
able arguments. After the great General had been in hot water all his
life, it was grievous to think of any of his lucubrations perishing in
cold water at last. Fortunately they were rescued. On reaching Lincoln I
was escorted to the home of the Governor, where I spread the documents
in the sunshine, and they were soon ready to be distributed among the
members of the constitutional convention.

After I had addressed the convention, some of the members called on me
to discuss the points of my speech. All the gentlemen were serious and
respectful with one exception. A man with an unusually small head,
diminutive form, and crooked legs tried, at my expense, to be witty and
facetious. During a brief pause in the conversation he brought his chair
directly before me and said, in a mocking tone, "Don't you think that
the best thing a woman can do is to perform well her part in the role of
wife and mother? My wife has presented me with eight beautiful
children; is not this a better life-work than that of exercising the
right of suffrage?"

I had had my eye on this man during the whole interview, and saw that
the other members were annoyed at his behavior. I decided, when the
opportune moment arrived, to give him an answer not soon to be
forgotten; so I promptly replied to his question, as I slowly viewed him
from head to foot, "I have met few men, in my life, worth repeating
eight times." The members burst into a roar of laughter, and one of
them, clapping him on the shoulder, said: "There, sonny, you have read
and spelled; you better go." This scene was heralded in all the Nebraska
papers, and, wherever the little man went, he was asked why Mrs. Stanton
thought he was not worth repeating eight times.

During my stay in Lincoln there was a celebration of the opening of some
railroad. An immense crowd from miles about assembled on this occasion.
The collation was spread and speeches were made in the open air. The men
congratulated each other on the wonderful progress the State had made
since it became an organized Territory in 1854. There was not the
slightest reference, at first, to the women. One speaker said: "This
State was settled by three brothers, John, James, and Joseph, and from
them have sprung the great concourse of people that greet us here
to-day." I turned, and asked the Governor if all these people had
sprung, Minerva-like, from the brains of John, James, and Joseph. He
urged me to put that question to the speaker; so, in one of his eloquent
pauses, I propounded the query, which was greeted with loud and
prolonged cheers, to the evident satisfaction of the women present. The
next speaker took good care to give the due meed of praise to Ann, Jane,
and Mary, and to every mention of the mothers of Nebraska the crowd
heartily responded.

In toasting "the women of Nebraska," at the collation, I said: "Here's
to the mothers, who came hither by long, tedious journeys, closely
packed with restless children in emigrant wagons, cooking the meals by
day, and nursing the babies by night, while the men slept. Leaving
comfortable homes in the East, they endured all the hardships of pioneer
life, suffered, with the men, the attacks of the Dakota Indians and the
constant apprehension of savage raids, of prairie fires, and the
devastating locusts. Man's trials, his fears, his losses, all fell on
woman with double force; yet history is silent concerning the part woman
performed in the frontier life of the early settlers. Men make no
mention of her heroism and divine patience; they take no thought of the
mental or physical agonies women endure in the perils of maternity,
ofttimes without nurse or physician in the supreme hour of their need,
going, as every mother does, to the very gates of death in giving life
to an immortal being!"

Traveling all over these Western States in the early days, seeing the
privations women suffered, and listening to the tales of sorrow at the
fireside, I wondered that men could ever forget the debt of gratitude
they owed to their mothers, or fail to commemorate their part in the
growth of a great people. Yet the men of Nebraska have twice defeated
the woman suffrage amendment.

In 1874 Michigan was the point of interest to all those who had taken
part in the woman-suffrage movement. The legislature, by a very large
majority, submitted to a vote of the electors an amendment of the
Constitution, in favor of striking out the word "male" and thus securing
civil and political rights to the women of the State. It was a very
active campaign. Crowded meetings were held in all the chief towns and
cities. Professor Moses Coit Tyler, and a large number of ministers
preached, every Sunday, on the subject of woman's position. The
Methodist conference passed a resolution in favor of the amendment by a
unanimous vote. I was in the State during the intense heat of May and
June, speaking every evening to large audiences; in the afternoon to
women alone, and preaching every Sunday in some pulpit. The Methodists,
Universalists, Unitarians, and Quakers all threw open their churches to
the apostles of the new gospel of equality for women. We spoke in jails,
prisons, asylums, depots, and the open air. Wherever there were ears to
hear, we lifted up our voices, and, on the wings of the wind, the glad
tidings were carried to the remote corners of the State, and the votes
of forty thousand men, on election day, in favor of the amendment were
so many testimonials to the value of the educational work accomplished.

I made many valuable acquaintances, on that trip, with whom I have
maintained lifelong friendships. One pleasant day I passed in the home
of Governor Bagley and his wife, with a group of pretty children. I
found the Governor deeply interested in prison reform. He had been
instrumental in passing a law giving prisoners lights in their cells and
pleasant reading matter until nine o'clock. His ideas of what prisons
should be, as unfolded that day, have since been fully realized in the
grand experiment now being successfully tried at Elmira, New York.

I visited the State prison at Jackson, and addressed seven hundred men
and boys, ranging from seventy down to seventeen years of age. Seated on
the dais with the chaplain, I saw them file in to dinner, and, while
they were eating, I had an opportunity to study the sad, despairing
faces before me. I shall never forget the hopeless expression of one
young man, who had just been sentenced for twenty years, nor how ashamed
I felt that one of my own sex, trifling with two lovers, had fanned the
jealousy of one against the other, until the tragedy ended in the death
of one and the almost lifelong imprisonment of the other. If girls
should be truthful and transparent in any relations in life, surely it
is in those of love, involving the strongest passions of which human
nature is capable. As the chaplain told me the sad story, and I noticed
the prisoner's refined face and well-shaped head, I felt that the young
man was not under the right influences to learn the lesson he needed.
Fear, coercion, punishment, are the masculine remedies for moral
weakness, but statistics show their failure for centuries. Why not
change the system and try the education of the moral and intellectual
faculties, cheerful surroundings, inspiring influences? Everything in
our present system tends to lower the physical vitality, the
self-respect, the moral tone, and to harden instead of reforming the

My heart was so heavy I did not know what to say to such an assembly of
the miserable. I asked the chaplain what I should say. "Just what you
please," he replied. Thinking they had probably heard enough of their
sins, their souls, and the plan of salvation, I thought I would give
them the news of the day. So I told them about the woman suffrage
amendment, what I was doing in the State, my amusing encounters with
opponents, their arguments, my answers. I told them of the great changes
that would be effected in prison life when the mothers of the nation had
a voice in the buildings and discipline. I told them what Governor
Bagley said, and of the good time coming when prisons would no longer be
places of punishment but schools of reformation. To show them what women
would do to realize this beautiful dream, I told them of Elizabeth Fry
and Dorothea L. Dix, of Mrs. Farnham's experiment at Sing Sing, and
Louise Michel's in New Caledonia, and, in closing, I said: "Now I want
all of you who are in favor of the amendment to hold up your right
hands." They gave a unanimous vote, and laughed heartily when I said, "I
do wish you could all go to the polls in November and that we could lock
our opponents up here until after the election." I felt satisfied that
they had had one happy hour, and that I had said nothing to hurt the
feelings of the most unfortunate. As they filed off to their respective
workshops my faith and hope for brighter days went with them. Then I
went all through the prison. Everything looked clean and comfortable on
the surface, but I met a few days after a man, just set free, who had
been there five years for forgery. He told me the true inwardness of the
system; of the wretched, dreary life they suffered, and the brutality of
the keepers. He said the prison was infested with mice and vermin, and
that, during the five years he was there, he had never lain down one
night to undisturbed slumber. The sufferings endured in summer for want
of air, he said, were indescribable. In this prison the cells were in
the center of the building, the corridors running all around by the
windows, so the prisoners had no outlook and no direct contact with the
air. Hence, if a careless keeper forgot to open the windows after a
storm, the poor prisoners panted for air in their cells, like fish out
of water. My informant worked in the mattress department, over the room
where prisoners were punished. He said he could hear the lash and the
screams of the victims from morning till night. "Hard as the work is all
day," said he, "it is a blessed relief to get out of our cells to march
across the yard and get one glimpse of the heavens above, and one breath
of pure air, and to be in contact with other human souls in the
workshops, for, although we could never speak to each other, yet there
was a hidden current of sympathy conveyed by look that made us one in
our misery."

Though the press of the State was largely in our favor, yet there were
some editors who, having no arguments, exercised the little wit they did
possess in low ridicule. It was in this campaign that an editor in a
Kalamazoo journal said: "That ancient daughter of Methuselah, Susan B.
Anthony, passed through our city yesterday, on her way to the Plainwell
meeting, with a bonnet on her head looking as if it had recently
descended from Noah's ark." Miss Anthony often referred to this
description of herself, and said, "Had I represented twenty thousand
voters in Michigan, that political editor would not have known nor cared
whether I was the oldest or the youngest daughter of Methuselah, or
whether my bonnet came from the ark or from Worth's."



The year 1876 was one of intense excitement and laborious activity
throughout the country. The anticipation of the centennial birthday of
the Republic, to be celebrated in Philadelphia, stirred the patriotism
of the people to the highest point of enthusiasm. As each State was to
be represented in the great exhibition, local pride added another
element to the public interest. Then, too, everyone who could possibly
afford the journey was making busy preparations to spend the Fourth of
July, the natal day of the Republic, mid the scenes where the
Declaration of Independence was issued in 1776, the Government
inaugurated, and the first national councils were held. Those interested
in women's political rights decided to make the Fourth a woman's day,
and to celebrate the occasion, in their various localities, by
delivering orations and reading their own declaration of rights, with
dinners and picnics in the town halls or groves, as most convenient. But
many from every State in the Union made their arrangements to spend the
historic period in Philadelphia. Owing, also, to the large number of
foreigners who came over to join in the festivities, that city was
crammed to its utmost capacity. With the crowd and excessive heat,
comfort was everywhere sacrificed to curiosity.

The enthusiasm throughout the country had given a fresh impulse to the
lyceum bureaus. Like the ferryboats in New York harbor, running hither
and thither, crossing each other's tracks, the whole list of lecturers
were on the wing, flying to every town and city from San Francisco to
New York. As soon as a new railroad ran through a village of five
hundred inhabitants that could boast a schoolhouse, a church, or a
hotel, and one enterprising man or woman, a course of lectures was at
once inaugurated as a part of the winter's entertainments.

On one occasion I was invited, by mistake, to a little town to lecture
the same evening when the Christy Minstrels were to perform. It was
arranged, as the town had only one hall, that I should speak from seven
to eight o'clock and the minstrels should have the remainder of the
time. One may readily see that, with the minstrels in anticipation, a
lecture on any serious question would occupy but a small place in the
hearts of the people in a town where they seldom had entertainments of
any kind. All the time I was speaking there was a running to and fro
behind the scenes, where the minstrels were transforming themselves with
paints and curly wigs into Africans, and laughing at each other's jests.
As it was a warm evening, and the windows were open, the hilarity of the
boys in the street added to the general din. Under such circumstances it
was difficult to preserve my equilibrium. I felt like laughing at my own
comical predicament, and I decided to make my address a medley of
anecdotes and stories, like a string of beads, held together by a fine
thread of argument and illustration. The moment the hand of the clock
pointed at eight o'clock the band struck up, thus announcing that the
happy hour for the minstrels had come. Those of my audience who wished
to stay were offered seats at half price; those who did not, slipped
out, and the crowd rushed in, soon packing the house to its utmost
capacity. I stayed, and enjoyed the performance of the minstrels more
than I had my own.

As the lyceum season lasted from October to June, I was late in reaching
Philadelphia. Miss Anthony and Mrs. Gage had already been through the
agony of finding appropriate headquarters for the National Suffrage
Association. I found them pleasantly situated on the lower floor of No.
1431 Chestnut Street, with the work for the coming month clearly mapped
out. As it was the year for nominating candidates for the presidency of
the United States, the Republicans and Democrats were about to hold
their great' conventions. Hence letters were to be written to them
recommending a woman suffrage plank in their platforms, and asking seats
for women in the conventions, with the privilege of being heard in their
own behalf. On these letters our united wisdom was concentrated, and
twenty thousand copies of each were published.

Then it was thought pre-eminently proper that a Woman's Declaration of
Rights should be issued. Days and nights were spent over that document.
After many twists from our analytical tweezers, with a critical
consideration of every word and sentence, it was at last, by a consensus
of the competent, pronounced very good. Thousands were ordered to be
printed, and were folded, put in envelopes, stamped, directed, and
scattered. Miss Anthony, Mrs. Gage, and I worked sixteen hours, day and
night, pressing everyone who came in, into the service, and late at
night carrying immense bundles to be mailed. With meetings, receptions,
and a succession of visitors, all of whom we plied with woman suffrage
literature, we felt we had accomplished a great educational work.

Among the most enjoyable experiences at our headquarters were the
frequent visits of our beloved Lucretia Mott, who used to come from her
country home bringing us eggs, cold chickens, and fine Oolong tea. As
she had presented us with a little black teapot that, like Mercury's
mysterious pitcher of milk, filled itself for every coming guest, we
often improvised luncheons with a few friends. At parting, Lucretia
always made a contribution to our depleted treasury. Here we had many
prolonged discussions as to the part we should take, on the Fourth of
July, in the public celebration. We thought it would be fitting for us
to read our Declaration of Rights immediately after that of the Fathers
was read, as an impeachment of them and their male descendants for their
injustice and oppression. Ours contained as many counts, and quite as
important, as those against King George in 1776. Accordingly, we applied
to the authorities to allow us seats on the platform and a place in the
programme of the public celebration, which was to be held in the
historic old Independence Hall. As General Hawley was in charge of the
arrangements for the day, I wrote him as follows:

"1431 Chestnut Street, July 1, 1876.

"General Hawley.

"_Honored Sir_: As President of the National Woman's Suffrage
Association, I am authorized to ask you for tickets to the
platform, at Independence Hall, for the celebration on the Fourth
of July. We should like to have seats for at least one
representative woman from each State. We also ask your permission
to read our Declaration of Rights immediately after the reading of
the Declaration of Independence of the Fathers is finished.
Although these are small favors to ask as representatives of
one-half of the nation, yet we shall be under great obligations to
you if granted.

"Respectfully Yours,

"Elizabeth Cady Stanton."

To this I received the following reply:

"U.S.C.C. Headquarters, July 2.

"Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

"_Dear Madam_: I send you, with pleasure, half a dozen cards of
invitation. As the platform is already crowded, it is impossible to
reserve the number of seats you desire. I regret to say it is also
impossible for us to make any change in the programme at this late
hour. We are crowded for time to carry out what is already

"Yours Very Respectfully,

"Joseph R. Hawley,

"President, U.S.C.C."

With this rebuff, Mrs. Mott and I decided that we would not accept the
offered seats, but would be ready to open our own convention called for
that day, at the First Unitarian church, where the Rev. William H.
Furness had preached for fifty years. But some of our younger coadjutors
decided that they would occupy the seats and present our Declaration of
Rights. They said truly, women will be taxed to pay the expenses of
this celebration, and we have as good a right to that platform and to
the ears of the people as the men have, and we will be heard.

That historic Fourth of July dawned at last, one of the most oppressive
days of that heated season. Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara
Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereux Blake, and Phoebe W. Couzins made their
way through the crowds under the broiling sun of Independence Square,
carrying the Woman's Declaration of Rights. This Declaration had been
handsomely engrossed by one of their number, and signed by the oldest
and most prominent advocates of woman's enfranchisement. Their tickets
of admission proved an "open sesame" through the military barriers, and,
a few moments before the opening of the ceremonies, these women found
themselves within the precincts from which most of their sex were

The Declaration of 1776 was read by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, about
whose family clusters so much historic fame. The moment he finished
reading was determined upon as the appropriate time for the presentation
of the Woman's Declaration. Not quite sure how their approach might be
met, not quite certain if, at this final moment, they would be permitted
to reach the presiding officer, those ladies arose and made their way
down the aisle. The bustle of preparation for the Brazilian hymn covered
their advance. The foreign guests and the military and civil officers
who filled the space directly in front of the speaker's stand,
courteously made way, while Miss Anthony, in fitting words, presented
the Declaration to the presiding officer. Senator Ferry's face paled as,
bowing low, with no word he received the Declaration, which thus became
part of the day's proceedings. The ladies turned, scattering printed
copies as they deliberately walked down the platform. On every side
eager hands were outstretched, men stood on seats and asked for them,
while General Hawley, thus defied and beaten in his audacious denial to
women of the right to present their Declaration, shouted, "Order,

Passing out, these ladies made their way to a platform, erected for the
musicians, in front of Independence Hall. Here, under the shadow of
Washington's statue, back of them the old bell that proclaimed "liberty
to all the land and all the inhabitants thereof," they took their
places, and, to a listening, applauding crowd, Miss Anthony read the
Woman's Declaration. During the reading of the Declaration, Mrs. Gage
stood beside Miss Anthony and held an umbrella over her head, to shelter
her friend from the intense heat of the noonday sun. And thus in the
same hour, on opposite sides of old Independence Hall, did the men and
women express their opinions on the great principles proclaimed on the
natal day of the Republic. The Declaration was handsomely framed, and
now hangs in the Vice President's room in the Capitol at Washington.

These heroic ladies then hurried from Independence Hall to the church,
already crowded with an expectant audience, to whom they gave a full
report of the morning's proceedings. The Hutchinsons of worldwide fame
were present in their happiest vein, interspersing the speeches with
appropriate songs and felicitous remarks. For five long hours on that
hot midsummer day a crowded audience, many standing, listened with
profound interest and reluctantly dispersed at last, all agreeing that
it was one of the most impressive and enthusiastic meetings they had
ever attended.

All through our Civil War the slaves on the Southern plantations had an
abiding faith that the terrible conflict would result in freedom for
their race. Just so through all the busy preparations of the Centennial,
the women of the nation felt sure that the great national celebration
could not pass without the concession of some new liberties to them.
Hence they pressed their claims at every point, at the Fourth of July
celebration in the exposition buildings, and in the Republican and
Democratic nominating conventions; hoping to get a plank in the
platforms of both the great political parties.

The Woman's Pavilion upon the centennial grounds was an afterthought, as
theologians claim woman herself to have been. The women of the country,
after having contributed nearly one hundred thousand dollars to the
centennial stock, found there had been no provision made for the
separate exhibition of their work. The centennial board, of which Mrs.
Gillespie was president, then decided to raise funds for the erection of
a separate building, to be known as the Woman's Pavilion. It covered an
acre of ground, and was erected at an expense of thirty thousand
dollars--a small sum in comparison with the money which had been raised
by women and expended on the other buildings, not to speak of the State
and national appropriations, which the taxes levied on them had largely
helped to swell.

The Pavilion was no true exhibit of woman's art. Few women are, as yet,
owners of the business which their industry largely makes remunerative.
Cotton factories, in which thousands of women work, are owned by men.
The shoe business, in some branches of which women are doing more than
half the work, is under the ownership of men. Rich embroideries from
India, rugs of downy softness from Turkey, the muslin of Decca,
anciently known as "The Woven Wind," the pottery and majolica ware of P.
Pipsen's widow, the cartridges and envelopes of Uncle Sam, Waltham
watches, whose finest mechanical work is done by women, and ten thousand
other industries found no place in the pavilion. Said United States
Commissioner Meeker of Colorado, "Woman's work comprises three-fourths
of the exposition; it is scattered through every building; take it away,
and there would be no exposition."

But this pavilion rendered one good service to woman in showing her
capabilities as an engineer. The boiler, which furnished the force for
running its work, was under the charge of a young Canadian girl, Miss
Allison, who, from childhood, had loved machinery, spending much time in
the large saw and grist mills of her father, run by engines of two and
three hundred horse-power, which she sometimes managed for amusement.
When her name was proposed for running the pavilion machinery, it caused
much opposition. It was said that the committee would, some day, find
the pavilion blown to atoms; that the woman engineer would spend her
time reading novels instead of watching the steam gauge; that the idea
was impracticable and should not be thought of. But Miss Allison soon
proved her capabilities and the falseness of these prophecies by taking
her place in the engine room and managing its workings with perfect
ease. Six power looms, on which women wove carpets, webbing, silks,
etc., were run by this engine. At a later period the printing of _The
New Century for Woman_, a paper published by the centennial commission
in the woman's building, was done by its means. Miss Allison declared
the work to be more cleanly, more pleasant, and infinitely less
fatiguing than cooking over a kitchen stove. "Since I have been
compelled to earn my own living," she said, "I have never been engaged
in work I like so well. Teaching school is much harder, and one is not
paid so well." She expressed her confidence in her ability to manage the
engines of an ocean steamer, and said that there were thousands of small
engines in use in various parts of the country, and no reason existed
why women should not be employed to manage them,--following the
profession of engineer as a regular business,--an engine requiring far
less attention than is given by a nursemaid or a mother to a child.

But to have made the Woman's Pavilion grandly historic, upon its walls
should have been hung the yearly protest of Harriet K. Hunt against
taxation without representation; the legal papers served upon the Smith
sisters when, for their refusal to pay taxes while unrepresented, their
Alderney cows were seized and sold; the papers issued by the city of
Worcester for the forced sale of the house and lands of Abby Kelly
Foster, the veteran abolitionist, because she refused to pay taxes,
giving the same reason our ancestors gave when they resisted taxation; a
model of Bunker Hill monument, its foundation laid by Lafayette in 1825,
but which remained unfinished nearly twenty years, until the famous
German danseuse, Fanny Ellsler, gave the proceeds of a public
performance for that purpose. With these should have been exhibited
framed copies of all the laws bearing unjustly upon women--those which
rob her of her name, her earnings, her property, her children, her
person; also the legal papers in the case of Susan B. Anthony, who was
tried and fined for claiming her right to vote under the Fourteenth
Amendment, and the decision of Mr. Justice Miller in the case of Myra
Bradwell, denying national protection for woman's civil rights; and the
later decision of Chief Justice Waite of the United States Supreme Court
against Virginia L. Minor, denying women national protection for their
political rights; decisions in favor of State rights which imperil the
liberties not only of all women, but of every white man in the nation.

Woman's most fitting contributions to the Centennial Exposition would
have been these protests, laws, and decisions, which show her political
slavery. But all this was left for rooms outside of the centennial
grounds, upon Chestnut Street, where the National Woman's Suffrage
Association hoisted its flag, made its protests, and wrote the
Declaration of Rights of the women of the United States.

To many thoughtful people it seemed captious and unreasonable for women
to complain of injustice in this free land, amidst such universal
rejoicings. When the majority of women are seemingly happy, it is
natural to suppose that the discontent of the minority is the result of
their unfortunate individual idiosyncrasies, and not of adverse
influences in established conditions. But the history of the world shows
that the vast majority, in every generation, passively accept the
conditions into which they are born, while those who demanded larger
liberties are ever a small, ostracized minority, whose claims are
ridiculed and ignored. From our standpoint we would honor any Chinese
woman who claimed the right to her feet and powers of locomotion; the
Hindoo widows who refused to ascend the funeral pyre of their husbands;
the Turkish women who threw off their masks and veils and left the
harem; the Mormon women who abjured their faith and demanded monogamic
relations. Why not equally honor the intelligent minority of American
women who protest against the artificial disabilities by which their
freedom is limited and their development arrested? That only a few,
under any circumstances, protest against the injustice of
long-established laws and customs, does not disprove the fact of the
oppressions, while the satisfaction of the many, if real, only proves
their apathy and deeper degradation. That a majority of the women of the
United States accept, without protest, the disabilities which grow out
of their disfranchisement is simply an evidence of their ignorance and
cowardice, while the minority who demand a higher political status
clearly prove their superior intelligence and wisdom.

At the close of the Forty-seventh Congress we made two new demands:
First, for a special committee to consider all questions in regard to
the civil and political rights of women. We naturally asked the
question, As Congress has a special committee on the rights of Indians,
why not on those of women? Are not women, as a factor in civilization,
of more importance than Indians? Secondly, we asked for a room, in the
Capitol, where our committee could meet, undisturbed, whenever they saw
fit. Though these points were debated a long time, our demands were
acceded to at last. We now have our special committee, and our room,
with "Woman Suffrage" in gilt letters, over the door. In our struggle
to achieve this, while our champion, the senior Senator from
Massachusetts, stood up bravely in the discussion, the opposition not
only ridiculed the special demand, but all attempts to secure the civil
and political rights of women. As an example of the arguments of the
opposition, I give what the Senator from Missouri said. It is a fair
specimen of all that was produced on that side of the debate. Mr. Vest's
poetical flights are most inspiring:

"The Senate now has forty-one committees, with a small army of
messengers and clerks, one-half of whom, without exaggeration, are
literally without employment. I shall not pretend to specify the
committees of this body which have not one single bill, resolution,
or proposition of any sort pending before them, and have not had
for months. But, Mr. President, out of all committees without
business, and habitually without business, in this body, there is
one that, beyond any question, could take jurisdiction of this
matter and do it ample justice. I refer to that most respectable
and antique institution, the Committee on Revolutionary Claims. For
thirty years it has been without business. For thirty long years
the placid surface of that parliamentary sea has been without one
single ripple. If the Senator from Massachusetts desires a tribunal
for a calm, judicial equilibrium and examination--a tribunal far
from the 'madding crowd's ignoble strife'--a tribunal eminently
respectable, dignified and unique; why not send this question to
the Committee on Revolutionary Claims? It is eminently proper that
this subject should go to that committee because, if there is any
revolutionary claim in this country, it is that of woman suffrage.
(Laughter.) It revolutionizes society; it revolutionizes religion;
it revolutionizes the Constitution and laws; and it revolutionizes
the opinions of those so old-fashioned among us as to believe that
the legitimate and proper sphere of woman is the family circle, as
wife and mother, and not as politician and voter--those of us who
are proud to believe that

"Woman's noblest station is retreat:
Her fairest virtues fly from public sight;
Domestic worth--that shuns too strong a light.

"Before that Committee on Revolutionary Claims why could not this
most revolutionary of all claims receive immediate and ample
attention? More than that, as I said before, if there is any
tribunal that could give undivided time and dignified attention, is
it not this committee? If there is one peaceful haven of rest,
never disturbed by any profane bill or resolution of any sort, it
is the Committee on Revolutionary Claims. It is, in parliamentary
life, described by that ecstatic verse in Watts'

"There shall I bathe my wearied soul
In seas of endless rest.
And not one wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast.

"By all natural laws, stagnation breeds disease and death, and what
could stir up this most venerable and respectable institution more
than an application of the strong-minded, with short hair and
shorter skirts, invading its dignified realm and elucidating all
the excellences of female suffrage. Moreover, if these ladies could
ever succeed in the providence of God in obtaining a report from
that committee, it would end this question forever; for the public
at large and myself included, in view of that miracle of female
blandishment and female influence, would surrender at once, and
female suffrage would become constitutional and lawful. Sir, I
insist upon it that, in deference to this committee, in deference
to the fact that it needs this sort of regimen and medicine, this
whole subject should be so referred."

This gives a very fair idea of the character of the arguments produced
by our opponents, from the inauguration of the movement. But, as there
are no arguments in a republican government in favor of an aristocracy
of sex, ridicule was really the only available weapon. After declaring
"that no just government can be formed without the consent of the
governed," "that taxation without representation is tyranny," it is
difficult to see on what basis one-half the people are disfranchised.



The four years following the Centennial were busy, happy ones, of varied
interests and employments, public and private. Sons and daughters
graduating from college, bringing troops of young friends to visit us;
the usual matrimonial entanglements, with all their promises of
celestial bliss intertwined with earthly doubts and fears; weddings,
voyages to Europe, business ventures--in this whirl of plans and
projects our heads, hearts, and hands were fully occupied. Seven boys
and girls dancing round the fireside, buoyant with all life's joys
opening before them, are enough to keep the most apathetic parents on
the watch-towers by day and anxious even in dreamland by night. My spare
time, if it can be said that I ever had any, was given during these days
to social festivities. The inevitable dinners, teas, picnics, and dances
with country neighbors, all came round in quick succession. We lived, at
this time, at Tenafly, New Jersey, not far from the publisher of the
_Sun_, Isaac W. England, who also had seven boys and girls as full of
frolic as our own. Mrs. England and I entered into all their games with
equal zest. The youngest thought half the fun was to see our enthusiasm
in "blindman's buff," "fox and geese," and "bean bags." It thrills me
with delight, even now, to see these games!

Mr. England was the soul of hospitality. He was never more happy than
when his house was crowded with guests, and his larder with all the
delicacies of the season. Though he and Mr. Stanton were both connected
with that dignified journal, the New York _Sun_, yet they often joined
in the general hilarity. I laugh, as I write, at the memory of all the
frolics we had on the blue hills of Jersey.

In addition to the domestic cares which a large family involved, Mrs.
Gage, Miss Anthony, and I were already busy collecting material for "The
History of Woman Suffrage." This required no end of correspondence. Then
my lecturing trips were still a part of the annual programme. Washington
conventions, too, with calls, appeals, resolutions, speeches and
hearings before the Committees of Congress and State legislatures, all
these came round in the year's proceedings as regularly as pumpkin pies
for Thanksgiving, plum pudding for Christmas, and patriotism for
Washington's birthday. Those who speak for glory or philanthropy are
always in demand for college commencements and Fourth of July orations,
hence much of Miss Anthony's eloquence, as well as my own, was utilized
in this way.

On October 18, 1880, I had an impromptu dinner party. Elizabeth Boynton
Harbert, May Wright Thompson (now Sewall), Phoebe W. Couzins, and
Arethusa Forbes, returning from a Boston convention, all by chance met
under my roof. We had a very merry time talking over the incidents of
the convention, Boston proprieties, and the general situation. As I gave
them many early reminiscences, they asked if I had kept a diary. "No," I
said, "not a pen scratch of the past have I except what might be
gathered from many family letters." They urged me to begin a diary at
once; so I promised I would on my coming birthday.

My great grief that day was that we were putting in a new range, and had
made no preparations for dinner. This completely upset the presiding
genius of my culinary department, as she could not give us the bounteous
feast she knew was expected on such occasions. I, as usual, when there
was any lack in the viands, tried to be as brilliant as possible in
conversation; discussing Nirvana, Karma, reincarnation, and thus turning
attention from the evanescent things of earth to the joys of a life to
come,--not an easy feat to perform with strong-minded women,--but, in
parting, they seemed happy and refreshed, and all promised to come

But we shall never meet there again, as the old, familiar oaks and the
majestic chestnut trees have passed into other hands. Strange lovers now
whisper their vows of faith and trust under the tree where a most
charming wedding ceremony--that of my daughter Margaret--was solemnized
one bright October day. All Nature seemed to do her utmost to heighten
the beauty of the occasion. The verdure was brilliant with autumnal
tints, the hazy noonday sun lent a peculiar softness to every
shadow--even the birds and insects were hushed to silence. As the
wedding march rose soft and clear, two stately ushers led the way; then
a group of Vassar classmates, gayly decked in silks of different colors,
followed by the bride and groom. An immense Saint Bernard dog, on his
own account brought up the rear, keeping time with measured tread. He
took his seat in full view, watching, alternately, the officiating
clergyman, the bride and groom, and guests, as if to say: "What does
all this mean?" No one behaved with more propriety and no one looked
more radiant than he, with a ray of sunlight on his beautiful coat of
long hair, his bright brass collar, and his wonderful head. Bruno did
not live to see the old home broken up, but sleeps peacefully there,
under the chestnut trees, and fills a large place in many of our
pleasant memories.

On November 12, 1880, I was sixty-five years old, and, pursuant to my
promise, I then began my diary. It was a bright, sunny day, but the
frost king was at work; all my grand old trees, that stood like
sentinels, to mark the boundary of my domain, were stripped of their
foliage, and their brilliant colors had faded into a uniform brown; but
the evergreens and the tall, prim cedars held their own, and, when
covered with snow, their exquisite beauty brought tears to my eyes. One
need never be lonely mid beautiful trees.

My thoughts were with my absent children--Harriot in France, Theodore in
Germany, Margaret with her husband and brother Gerrit, halfway across
the continent, and Bob still in college. I spent the day writing letters
and walking up and down the piazza, and enjoyed, from my windows, a
glorious sunset. Alone, on birthdays or holidays, one is very apt to
indulge in sad retrospections. The thought of how much more I might have
done for the perfect development of my children than I had accomplished,
depressed me. I thought of all the blunders in my own life and in their
education. Little has been said of the responsibilities of parental
life; accordingly little or nothing has been done. I had such visions of
parental duties that day that I came to the conclusion that parents
never could pay the debt they owe their children for bringing them into
this world of suffering, unless they can insure them sound minds in
sound bodies, and enough of the good things of this life to enable them
to live without a continual struggle for the necessaries of existence. I
have no sympathy with the old idea that children owe parents a debt of
gratitude for the simple fact of existence, generally conferred without
thought and merely for their own pleasure. How seldom we hear of any
high or holy preparation for the office of parenthood! Here, in the most
momentous act of life, all is left to chance. Men and women, intelligent
and prudent in all other directions, seem to exercise no forethought
here, but hand down their individual and family idiosyncrasies in the
most reckless mariner.

On November 13 the New York _Tribune_ announced the death of Lucretia
Mott, eighty-eight years old. Having known her in the flush of life,
when all her faculties were at their zenith, and in the repose of age,
when her powers began to wane, her withdrawal from among us seemed as
beautiful and natural as the changing foliage, from summer to autumn, of
some grand old oak I have watched and loved.

The arrival of Miss Anthony and Mrs. Gage, on November 20, banished all
family matters from my mind. What planning, now, for volumes, chapters,
footnotes, margins, appendices, paper, and type; of engravings, title,
preface, and introduction! I had never thought that the publication of a
book required the consideration of such endless details. We stood
appalled before the mass of material, growing higher and higher with
every mail, and the thought of all the reading involved made us feel as
if our lifework lay before us. Six weeks of steady labor all day, and
often until midnight, made no visible decrease in the pile of documents.
However, before the end of the month we had our arrangements all made
with publishers and engravers, and six chapters in print. When we began
to correct proof we felt as if something was accomplished. Thus we
worked through the winter and far into the spring, with no change except
the Washington Convention and an occasional evening meeting in New York
city. We had frequent visits from friends whom we were glad to see.
Hither came Edward M. Davis, Sarah Pugh, Adeline Thompson, Frederick
Cabot of Boston, Dr. William F. Channing, and sweet little Clara Spence,
who recited for us some of the most beautiful selections in her

In addition we had numberless letters from friends and foes, some
praising and some condemning our proposed undertaking, and, though much
alone, we were kept in touch with the outside world. But so conflicting
was the tone of the letters that, if we had not taken a very fair gauge
of ourselves and our advisers, we should have abandoned our project and
buried all the valuable material collected, to sleep in pine boxes

At this time I received a very amusing letter from the Rev. Robert
Collyer, on "literary righteousness," quizzing me for using one of his
anecdotes in my sketch of Lucretia Mott, without giving him credit. I
laughed him to scorn, that he should have thought it was my duty to have
done so. I told him plainly that he belonged to a class of "white male
citizens," who had robbed me of all civil and political rights; of
property, children, and personal freedom; and now it ill became him to
call me to account for using one of his little anecdotes that, ten to
one, he had cribbed from some woman. I told him that I considered his
whole class as fair game for literary pilfering. That women had been
taxed to build colleges to educate men, and if we could pick up a
literary crumb that had fallen from their feasts, we surely had a right
to it. Moreover, I told him that man's duty in the world was to work, to
dig and delve for jewels, real and ideal, and lay them at woman's feet,
for her to use as she might see fit; that he should feel highly
complimented, instead of complaining, that he had written something I
thought worth using. He answered like the nobleman he is; susceptible of
taking in a new idea. He admitted that, in view of the shortcomings of
his entire sex, he had not one word to say in the way of accusation, but
lay prostrate at my feet in sackcloth and ashes, wondering that he had
not taken my view of the case in starting.

Only twice in my life have I been accused of quoting without giving due
credit. The other case was that of Matilda Joslyn Gage. I had, on two or
three occasions, used a motto of hers in autograph books, just as I had
sentiments from Longfellow, Lowell, Shakespeare, Moses, or Paul. In long
lyceum trips innumerable autograph books met one at every turn, in the
cars, depots, on the platform, at the hotel and in the omnibus. "A
sentiment, please," cry half a dozen voices. One writes hastily
different sentiments for each. In this way I unfortunately used a pet
sentiment of Matilda's. So, here and now, I say to my autograph
admirers, from New York to San Francisco, whenever you see "There is a
word sweeter than Mother, Home, or Heaven--that word is Liberty,"
remember it belongs to Matilda Joslyn Gage. I hope, now, that Robert and
Matilda will say, in their posthumous works, that I made the _amende
honorable_, as I always strive to do when friends feel they have not
been fairly treated.

In May, 1881, the first volume of our History appeared; it was an
octavo, containing 871 pages, with good paper, good print, handsome
engravings, and nicely bound. I welcomed it with the same feeling of
love and tenderness as I did my firstborn. I took the same pleasure in
hearing it praised and felt the same mortification in hearing it
criticised. The most hearty welcome it received was from Rev. William
Henry Channing. He wrote us that it was as interesting and fascinating
as a novel. He gave it a most flattering notice in one of the London
papers. John W. Forney, too, wrote a good review and sent a friendly
letter. Mayo W. Hazeltine, one of the ablest critics in this country, in
the New York _Sun_, also gave it a very careful and complimentary
review. In fact, we received far more praise and less blame than we
anticipated. We began the second volume in June. In reading over the
material concerning woman's work in the War, I felt how little our
labors are appreciated. Who can sum up all the ills the women of a
nation suffer from war? They have all of the misery and none of the
glory; nothing to mitigate their weary waiting and watching for the
loved ones who will return no more.

In the spring of 1881, to vary the monotony of the work on the history,
we decided to hold a series of conventions through the New England
States. We began during the Anniversary week in Boston, and had several
crowded, enthusiastic meetings in Tremont Temple. In addition to our
suffrage meetings, I spoke before the Free Religious, Moral Education,
and Heredity associations. All our speakers stayed at the Parker House,
and we had a very pleasant time visiting together in our leisure hours.
We were received by Governor Long, at the State House. He made a short
speech, in favor of woman suffrage, in reply to Mrs. Hooker. We also
called on the Mayor, at the City Hall, and went through Jordan & Marsh's
great mercantile establishment, where the clerks are chiefly young
girls, who are well fed and housed, and have pleasant rooms, with a good
library, where they sit and read in the evening. We went through the
Sherborn Reformatory Prison for Women, managed entirely by women. We
found it clean and comfortable, more like a pleasant home than a place
of punishment.

Mrs. Robinson, Miss Anthony, and I were invited to dine with the Bird
Club. No woman, other than I, had ever had that honor before. I dined
with them in 1870, escorted by "Warrington" of the Springfield
_Republican_ and Edwin Morton. There I met Frank Sanborn for the first
time. Frank Bird held about the same place in political life in
Massachusetts, that Thurlow Weed did in the State of New York for forty
years. In the evening we had a crowded reception at the home of Mrs.
Fenno Tudor, who occupied a fine old residence facing the Common, where
we met a large gathering of Boston reformers. On Decoration Day, May 30,
we went to Providence, where I was the guest of Dr. William F. Channing.
We had a very successful convention there. Senator Anthony and
ex-Governor Sprague were in the audience and expressed great pleasure,
afterward, in all they had heard. I preached in Rev. Frederick
Hinckley's church the previous Sunday afternoon.

From Providence I hurried home, to meet my son Theodore and his bride,
who had just landed from France. We decorated our house and grounds with
Chinese lanterns and national flags for their reception. As we had not
time to send to New York for bunting, our flags--French and
American--were all made of bright red and blue cambric. The effect was
fine when they arrived; but, unfortunately, there came up a heavy
thunderstorm in the night and so drenched our beautiful flags that they
became colorless rags. My little maid announced to me early in the
morning that "the French and Americans had had a great battle during the
night and that the piazza was covered with blood." This was startling
news to one just awakening from a sound sleep. "Why, Emma!" I said,
"what do you mean?" "Why," she replied, "the rain has washed all the
color out of our flags, and the piazza is covered with red and blue
streams of water." As the morning sun appeared in all its glory, chasing
the dark clouds away, our decorations did indeed look pale and limp, and
were promptly removed.

I was happily surprised with my tall, stately daughter, Marguerite
Berry. A fine-looking girl of twenty, straight, strong, and sound,
modest and pleasing. She can walk miles, sketches from nature with great
skill and rapidity, and speaks three languages. I had always said to my
sons: "When you marry, choose a woman with a spine and sound teeth;
remember the teeth show the condition of the bones in the rest of the
body." So, when Theodore introduced his wife to me, he said, "You see I
have followed your advice; her spine is as straight as it should be, and
every tooth in her head as sound as ivory." This reminds me of a young
man who used to put my stoves up for the winter. He told me one day that
he thought of getting married. "Well," I said, "above all things get a
wife with a spine and sound teeth." Stove pipe in hand he turned to me
with a look of surprise, and said: "Do they ever come without spines?"

In July, 1881, sitting under the trees, Miss Anthony and I read and
discussed Wendell Phillips' magnificent speech before the Phi Beta Kappa
Society at Harvard College. This society had often talked of inviting
him, but was afraid of his radical utterances. At last, hoping that
years might have modified his opinions and somewhat softened his speech,
an invitation was given. The elite of Boston, the presidents and college
professors from far and near, were there. A great audience of the wise,
the learned, the distinguished in State and Church assembled. Such a
conservative audience, it was supposed, would surely hold this radical
in check. Alas! they were all doomed, for once, to hear the naked truth,
on every vital question of the day. Thinking this might be his only
opportunity to rouse some liberal thought in conservative minds, he
struck the keynote of every reform; defended labor strikes, the
Nihilists of Russia, prohibition, woman suffrage, and demanded
reformation in our prisons, courts of justice, and halls of legislation.
On the woman question, he said:

"Social science affirms that woman's place in society marks the
level of civilization. From its twilight in Greece, through the
Italian worship of the Virgin, the dreams of chivalry, the justice
of the civil law, and the equality of French society, we trace her
gradual recognition, while our common law, as Lord Brougham
confessed, was, with relation to women, the opprobrium of the age
of Christianity. For forty years earnest men and women, working
noiselessly, have washed away the opprobrium, the statute books of
thirty States have been remodeled, and woman stands, to-day, almost
face to face with her last claim--the ballot. It has been a weary
and thankless, though successful struggle. But if there be any
refuge from that ghastly curse, the vice of great cities, before
which social science stands palsied and dumb, it is in this more
equal recognition of women.

"If, in this critical battle for universal suffrage, our fathers'
noblest legacy to us and the greatest trust God leaves in our
hands, there be any weapon, which, once taken from the armory, will
make victory certain, it will be as it has been in art, literature,
and society, summoning woman into the political arena. The literary
class, until within half a dozen years, has taken no note of this
great uprising; only to fling every obstacle in its way.

"The first glimpse we get of Saxon blood in history is that line of
Tacitus in his 'Germany,' which reads, 'In all grave matters they
consult their women.' Years hence, when robust Saxon sense has
flung away Jewish superstition and Eastern prejudice, and put under
its foot fastidious scholarship and squeamish fashion, some second
Tacitus from the valley of the Mississippi will answer to him of
the Seven Hills: 'In all grave questions, we consult our women.'

"If the Alps, piled in cold and silence, be the emblem of
despotism, we joyfully take the ever restless ocean for ours, only
pure because never still. To be as good as our fathers, we must be
better. They silenced their fears and subdued their prejudices,
inaugurating free speech and equality with no precedent on the
file. Let us rise to their level, crush appetite, and prohibit
temptation if it rots great cities; intrench labor in sufficient
bulwarks against that wealth which, without the tenfold strength of
modern incorporations, wrecked the Grecian and Roman states; and,
with a sterner effort still, summon woman into civil life, as
re-enforcement to our laboring ranks, in the effort to make our
civilization a success. Sit not like the figure on our silver coin,
looking ever backward.

"'New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.
Lo! before us gleam her watch fires--
We ourselves must pilgrims be,
Launch our _Mayflower_, and steer boldly
Through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the future's portal
With the past's blood-rusted key.'"

That Harvard speech in the face of fashion, bigotry, and
conservatism--so liberal, so eloquent, so brave--is a model for every
young man, who, like the orator, would devote his talents to the best
interests of the race, rather than to his personal ambition for mere
worldly success.

Toward the end of October, Miss Anthony returned, after a rest of two
months, and we commenced work again on the second volume of the History.
November 2 being election day, the Republican carriage, decorated with
flags and evergreens, came to the door for voters. As I owned the house
and paid the taxes, and as none of the white males was home, I suggested
that I might go down and do the voting, whereupon the gentlemen who
represented the Republican committee urged me, most cordially, to do so.
Accompanied by my faithful friend, Miss Anthony, we stepped into the
carriage and went to the poll, held in the hotel where I usually went to
pay taxes. When we entered the room it was crowded with men. I was
introduced to the inspectors by Charles Everett, one of our leading
citizens, who said: "Mrs. Stanton is here, gentlemen, for the purpose of
voting. As she is a taxpayer, of sound mind, and of legal age, I see no
reason why she should not exercise this right of citizenship."

The inspectors were thunderstruck. I think they were afraid that I was
about to capture the ballot box. One placed his arms round it, with one
hand close over the aperture where the ballots were slipped in, and
said, with mingled surprise and pity, "Oh, no, madam! Men only are
allowed to vote." I then explained to him that, in accordance with the
Constitution of New Jersey, women had voted in New Jersey down to 1801,
when they were forbidden the further exercise of the right by an
arbitrary act of the legislature, and, by a recent amendment to the
national Constitution, Congress had declared that "all persons born or
naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they
reside" and are entitled to vote. I told them that I wished to cast my
vote, as a citizen of the United States, for the candidates for United
States offices. Two of the inspectors sat down and pulled their hats
over their eyes, whether from shame or ignorance I do not know. The
other held on to the box, and said "I know nothing about the
Constitutions, State or national. I never read either; but I do know
that in New Jersey, women have not voted in my day, and I cannot accept
your ballot." So I laid my ballot in his hand, saying that I had the
same right to vote that any man present had, and on him must rest the
responsibility of denying me my rights of citizenship.

All through the winter Miss Anthony and I worked diligently on the
History. My daughter Harriot came from Europe in February, determined
that I should return with her, as she had not finished her studies. To
expedite my task on the History she seized the laboring oar, prepared
the last chapter and corrected the proof as opportunity offered. As the
children were scattered to the four points of the compass and my husband
spent the winter in the city, we decided to lease our house and all take
a holiday. We spent a month in New York city, busy on the History to the
last hour, with occasional intervals of receiving and visiting friends.
As I dreaded the voyage, the days flew by too fast for my pleasure.



Having worked diligently through nearly two years on the second volume
of "The History of Woman Suffrage," I looked forward with pleasure to a
rest, in the Old World, beyond the reach and sound of my beloved Susan
and the woman suffrage movement. On May 27, 1892, I sailed with my
daughter Harriot on the _Chateau Leoville_ for Bordeaux. The many
friends who came to see us off brought fruits and flowers, boxes of
candied ginger to ward off seasickness, letters of introduction, and
light literature for the voyage. We had all the daily and weekly papers,
secular and religious, the new monthly magazines, and several novels. We
thought we would do an immense amount of reading, but we did very
little. Eating, sleeping, walking on deck, and watching the
ever-changing ocean are about all that most people care to do. The sail
down the harbor that bright, warm evening was beautiful, and, we
lingered on deck in the moonlight until a late hour.

I slept but little, that night, as two cats kept running in and out of
my stateroom, and my berth was so narrow that I could only lie in one
position--as straight as if already in my coffin. Under such
circumstances I spent the night, thinking over everything that was
painful in my whole life, and imagining all the different calamities
that might befall my family in my absence. It was a night of severe
introspection and intense dissatisfaction. I was glad when the morning
dawned and I could go on deck. During the day my couch was widened one
foot, and, at night, the cats relegated to other quarters.

We had a smooth, pleasant, uneventful voyage, until the last night,
when, on nearing the French coast, the weather became dark and stormy.
The next morning our good steamer pushed slowly and carefully up the
broad, muddy Gironde and landed us on the bustling quays of Bordeaux,
where my son Theodore stood waiting to receive us. As we turned to say
farewell to our sturdy ship--gazing up at its black iron sides
besprinkled with salty foam--a feeling of deep thankfulness took
possession of us, for she had been faithful to her trust, and had borne
us safely from the New World to the Old, over thousands of miles of
treacherous sea.

We spent a day in driving about Bordeaux, enjoying the mere fact of
restoration to _terra firma_ after twelve days' imprisonment on the
ocean. Maritime cities are much the same all the world over. The forests
of masts, the heavily laden drays, the lounging sailors, the rough
'longshoremen, and the dirty quays, are no more characteristic of
Bordeaux than New York, London, and Liverpool. But Bordeaux was
interesting as the birthplace of Montesquieu and as the capital of
ancient Guienne and Gascony.

But I must not forget to mention an accident that happened on landing at
Bordeaux. We had innumerable pieces of baggage, a baby carriage, rocking
chair, a box of "The History of Woman Suffrage" for foreign libraries,
besides the usual number of trunks and satchels, and one hamper, in
which were many things we were undecided whether to take or leave. Into
this, a loaded pistol had been carelessly thrown. The hamper being
handled with an emphatic jerk by some jovial French sailor, the pistol
exploded, shooting the bearer through the shoulder. He fell bleeding on
the quay. The dynamite scare being just at its height, the general
consternation was indescribable. Every Frenchman, with vehement
gestures, was chattering to his utmost capacity, but keeping at a
respectful distance from the hamper. No one knew what had caused the
trouble; but Theodore was bound to make an investigation. He proceeded
to untie the ropes and examine the contents, and there he found the
pistol, from which, pointing upward, he fired two other bullets. "Alas!"
said Hattie, "I put that pistol there, never dreaming it was loaded."
The wounded man was taken to the hospital. His injuries were very
slight, but the incident cost us two thousand francs and no end of
annoyance. I was thankful that by some chance the pistol had not gone
off in the hold of the vessel and set the ship on fire, and possibly
sacrificed three hundred lives through one girl's carelessness. Verily
we cannot be too careful in the use of firearms.

Bordeaux is a queer old town, with its innumerable soldiers and priests
perambulating in all directions. The priests, in long black gowns and
large black hats, have a solemn aspect; but the soldiers, walking lazily
along, or guarding buildings that seem in no danger from any living
thing, are useless and ridiculous. The heavy carts and harness move the
unaccustomed observer to constant pity for the horses. Besides
everything that is necessary for locomotion, they have an endless number
of ornaments, rising two or three feet above the horses' heads--horns,
bells, feathers, and tassels. One of their carts would weigh as much as
three of ours, and all their carriages are equally heavy.

It was a bright, cool day on which we took the train for Toulouse, and
we enjoyed the delightful run through the very heart of old Gascony and
Languedoc. It was evident that we were in the South, where the sun is
strong, for, although summer had scarcely begun, the country already
wore a brown hue. But the narrow strips of growing grain, the acres of
grape vines, looking like young currant bushes, and the fig trees
scattered here and there, looked odd to the eye of a native of New York.

We passed many historical spots during that afternoon journey up the
valley of the Garonne. At Portets are the ruins of the Chateau of
Langoiran, built before America was discovered, and, a few miles farther
on, we came to the region of the famous wines of Sauterne and
Chateau-Yquem. Saint Macaire is a very ancient Gallo-Roman town, where
they show one churches, walls, and houses built fifteen centuries ago.
One of the largest towns has a history typical of this part of France,
where wars of religion and conquest were once the order of the day. It
was taken and retaken by the Goths, Huns, Burgundians, and Saracens,
nobody knows how many times, and belonged, successively, to the kings of
France, to the dukes of Aquitaine, to the kings of England, and to the
counts of Toulouse. I sometimes wonder whether the inhabitants of our
American towns, whose growth and development have been free and
untrammeled as that of a favorite child, appreciate the blessings that
have been theirs. How true the lines of Goethe: "America, thou art much
happier than our old continent; thou hast no castles in ruins, no
fortresses; no useless remembrances, no vain enemies will interrupt the
inward workings of thy life!"

We passed through Moissac, with its celebrated organ, a gift of Mazarin;
through Castle Sarrazin, founded by the Saracens in the eighth century;
through Montauban, that stronghold of the early Protestants, which
suffered martyrdom for its religious faith; through Grisolles, built on
a Roman highway, and, at last, in the dusk of the evening, we reached
"the Capital of the South," that city of learning--curious, interesting
old Toulouse.

Laura Curtis Bullard, in her sketch of me in "Our Famous Women," says:
"In 1882, Mrs. Stanton went to France, on a visit to her son Theodore,
and spent three months at the convent of La Sagesse, in the city of
Toulouse." This is quite true; but I have sometimes tried to guess what
her readers thought I was doing for three months in a convent. Weary of
the trials and tribulations of this world, had I gone there to prepare
in solitude for the next? Had I taken the veil in my old age? Or, like
high-church Anglicans and Roman Catholics, had I made this my retreat?
Not at all. My daughter wished to study French advantageously, my son
lived in the mountains hard by, and the garden of La Sagesse, with its
big trees, clean gravel paths, and cool shade, was the most delightful

In this religious retreat I met, from time to time, some of the most
radical and liberal-minded residents of the South. Toulouse is one of
the most important university centers of France, and bears with credit
the proud title of "the learned city." With two distinguished members
of the faculty, the late Dr. Nicholas Joly and Professor Moliner of the
law school, I often had most interesting discussions on all the great
questions of the hour. That three heretics--I should say, six, for my
daughter, son, and his wife often joined the circle--could thus sit in
perfect security, and debate, in the most unorthodox fashion, in these
holy precincts, all the reforms, social, political, and religious, which
the United States and France need in order to be in harmony with the
spirit of the age, was a striking proof of the progress the world has
made in freedom of speech. The time was when such acts would have cost
us our lives, even if we had been caught expressing our heresies in the
seclusion of our own homes. But here, under the oaks of a Catholic
convent, with the gray-robed sisters all around us, we could point out
the fallacies of Romanism itself, without fear or trembling. Glorious
Nineteenth Century, what conquests are thine!

I shall say nothing of the picturesque streets of antique Toulouse;
nothing of the priests, who swarm like children in an English town;
nothing of the beautifully carved stone facades of the ancient mansions,
once inhabited by the nobility of Languedoc, but now given up to trade
and commerce; nothing of the lofty brick cathedrals, whose exteriors
remind one of London and whose interiors transfer you to "the gorgeous
East"; nothing of the Capitol, with its gallery rich in busts of the
celebrated sons of the South; nothing of the museum, the public garden,
and the broad river winding through all. I must leave all these
interesting features of Toulouse and hasten up into the Black
Mountains, a few miles away, where I saw the country life of modern

At Jacournassy, the country seat of Mme. Berry, whose daughter my son
Theodore married, I spent a month full of surprises. How everything
differed from America, and even from the plain below! The peasants, many
of them at least, can neither speak French nor understand it. Their
language is a patois, resembling both Spanish and Italian, and they
cling to it with astonishing pertinacity. Their agricultural implements
are not less quaint than their speech. The plow is a long beam with a
most primitive share in the middle, a cow at one end, and a boy at the
other. The grain is cut with a sickle and threshed with a flail on the
barn floor, as in Scripture times. Manure is scattered over the fields
with the hands. There was a certain pleasure in studying these old-time
ways. I caught glimpses of the anti-revolutionary epoch, when the king
ruled the state and the nobles held the lands. Here again I saw, as
never before, what vast strides the world has made within one century.

But, indoors, one returns to modern times. The table, beds, rooms of the
chateau were much the same as those of Toulouse and New York city. The
cooking is not like ours, however, unless Delmonico's skill be supposed
to have extended to all the homes in Manhattan Island, which is,
unfortunately, not the case. What an admirable product of French genius
is the art of cooking! Of incalculable value have been the culinary
teachings of Vatel and his followers.

One of the sources of amusement, during my sojourn at Jacournassy, was
of a literary nature. My son Theodore was then busy collecting the
materials for his book entitled "The Woman Question in Europe," and
every post brought in manuscripts and letters from all parts of the
continent, written in almost every tongue known to Babel. So just what I
came abroad to avoid, I found on the very threshold where I came to
rest. We had good linguists at the chateau, and every document finally
came forth in English dress, which, however, often needed much altering
and polishing. This was my part of the work. So, away off in the heart
of France, high up in the Black Mountains, surrounded with
French-speaking relatives and patois-speaking peasants, I found myself
once more putting bad English into the best I could command, just as I
had so often done in America, when editor of _The Revolution_, or when
arranging manuscript for "The History of Woman Suffrage." But it was
labor in the cause of my sex; it was aiding in the creation of "The
Woman Question in Europe," and so my pen did not grow slack nor my hand

The scenery in the Black Mountains is very grand, and reminds one of the
lofty ranges of mountains around the Yosemite Valley in California. In
the distance are the snow-capped Pyrenees, producing a solemn beauty, a
profound solitude. We used to go every evening where we could see the
sun set and watch the changing shadows in the broad valley below.
Another great pleasure here was watching the gradual development of my
first grandchild, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, born at Paris, on the 3d of
May, 1882. She was a fine child; though only three months old her head
was covered with dark hair, and her large blue eyes looked out with
intense earnestness from beneath her well-shaped brow.

One night I had a terrible fright. I was the only person sleeping on
the ground floor of the chateau, and my room was at the extreme end of
the building, with the staircase on the other side. I had frequently
been cautioned not to leave my windows open, as someone might get in.
But, as I always slept with an open window, winter and summer, I thought
I would take the risk rather than endure a feeling of suffocation night
after night. The blinds were solid, and to close them was to exclude all
the air, so I left them open about a foot, braced by an iron hook. A
favorite resort for a pet donkey was under my window, where he had
uniformly slept in profound silence. But one glorious moonlight night,
probably to arouse me to enjoy with him the exquisite beauty of our
surroundings, he put his nose through this aperture and gave one of the
most prolonged, resounding brays I ever heard. Startled from a deep
sleep, I was so frightened that at first I could not move. My next
impulse was to rush out and arouse the family, but, seeing a dark head
in the window, I thought I would slam down the heavy sash and check the
intruder before starting. But just as I approached the window, another
agonizing bray announced the innocent character of my midnight visitor.
Stretching out of the window to frighten him away, a gentleman in the
room above me, for the same purpose, dashed down a pail of water, which
the donkey and I shared equally. He ran off at a double-quick pace,
while I made a hasty retreat.

On August 20, I returned to Toulouse and our quiet convent. The sisters
gave me a most affectionate welcome and I had many pleasant chats,
sitting in the gardens, with the priests and professors. Several times
my daughter and I attended High Mass in the cathedral, built in the
eleventh century. Being entirely new to us it was a most entertaining
spectacular performance. With our American ideas of religious devotion,
it seemed to us that the people, as well as the building, belonged to
the Dark Ages. About fifty priests, in mantles, gowns, and capes, some
black, some yellow,--with tinseled fringes and ornamentation,--with all
manner of gestures, genuflections, salutations, kneelings, and burning
of incense; with prayers, admonitions, and sacraments, filled the altar
with constant motion.

A tall man, dressed in red, wheeled in a large basket filled with bread,
which the priests, with cups of wine, passed up and down among those
kneeling at the altar. At least half a dozen times the places at the
altar were filled--chiefly with women. We counted the men,--only
seven,--and those were old and tremulous, with one foot in the grave.
The whole performance was hollow and mechanical. People walked in,
crossed themselves at the door with holy water, and, while kneeling and
saying their prayers, looked about examining the dress of each newcomer,
their lips moving throughout, satisfied in reeling off the allotted
number of prayers in a given time. The one redeeming feature in the
whole performance was the grand music. The deep-toned organ, whose
sounds reverberated through the lofty arches, was very impressive.

The convent consisted of three large buildings, each three stories high,
and a residence for the priests; also a chapel, where women, at their
devotions, might be seen at various hours from four o'clock in the
morning until evening. Inclosed within a high stone wall were beautiful
gardens with fountains and shrines, where images of departed saints, in
alcoves lighted with tapers were worshiped on certain days of the year.

Such were our environments, and our minds naturally often dwelt on the
nature and power of the religion that had built up and maintained for
centuries these peaceful resorts, where cultivated, scholarly men, and
women of fine sensibilities, could find rest from the struggles of the
outside world. The sisters, who managed this large establishment, seemed
happy in the midst of their severe and multifarious duties. Of the
undercurrent of their lives I could not judge, but on the surface all
seemed smooth and satisfactory. They evidently took great pleasure in
the society of each other. Every evening, from six to eight, they all
sat in the gardens in a circle together, sewing, knitting, and chatting,
with occasional merry bursts of laughter. Their existence is not, by
many degrees, as monotonous as that of most women in isolated
households--especially of the farmer's wife in her solitary home, miles
away from a village and a post office. They taught a school of fifty
orphan girls, who lived in the convent, and for whom they frequently had
entertainments. They also had a few boarders of the old aristocracy of
France, who hate the Republic and still cling to their belief in Popes
and Kings. For the purpose of perfecting herself in the language, my
daughter embraced every opportunity to talk with all she met, and thus
learned the secrets of their inner life. As Sister Rose spoke English, I
gleaned from her what knowledge I could as to their views of time and
eternity. I found their faith had not made much progress through the
terrible upheavals of the French Revolution. Although the Jesuits have
been driven out of France, and the pictures of Saints, the Virgin Mary,
and Christ, have been banished from the walls of their schools and
colleges, the sincere Catholics are more devoted to their religion
because of these very persecutions.

Theodore, his wife, and baby, and Mr. Blatch, a young Englishman, came
to visit us. The sisters and school children manifested great delight in
the baby, and the former equal pleasure in Mr. Blatch's marked attention
to my daughter, as babies and courtships were unusual tableaux in a
convent. As my daughter was studying for a university degree in
mathematics, I went with her to the Lycee, a dreary apartment in a
gloomy old building with bare walls, bare floors, dilapidated desks and
benches, and an old rusty stove. Yet mid such surroundings, the
professor always appeared in full dress, making a stately bow to his
class. I had heard so much of the universities of France that I had
pictured to myself grand buildings, like those of our universities; but,
instead, I found that the lectures were given in isolated rooms, here,
there, and anywhere--uniformly dreary inside and outside.

The first day we called on Professor Depesyrons. After making all our
arrangements for books and lectures, he suddenly turned to my daughter,
and, pointing to the flounces on her dress, her jaunty hat, and some
flowers in a buttonhole, he smiled, and said: "All this, and yet you
love mathematics?" As we entered the court, on our way to the Lycee and
inquired for the professor's lecture room, the students in little groups
watched us closely. The one who escorted us asked several questions, and
discovered, by our accent, that we were foreigners, a sufficient excuse
for the novelty of our proceeding. The professor received us most
graciously, and ordered the janitor to bring us chairs, table, paper,
and pencils.

Then we chatted pleasantly until the hour arrived for his lecture. As I
had but little interest in the subject, and as the problems were
pronounced in a foreign tongue, I took my afternoon nap. There was no
danger of affronting the professor by such indifference to his
eloquence, as he faced the blackboard, filling it with signs and figures
as rapidly as possible; then expunging them to refill again and again,
without a break in his explanations; talking as fast as his hand moved.
Harriot struggled several days to follow him, but found it impossible,
so we gave up the chase after cubes and squares, and she devoted herself
wholly to the study of the language. These were days, for me, of perfect
rest and peace. Everything moved as if by magic, no hurry and bustle,
never a cross or impatient word spoken. As only one or two of the
sisters spoke English, I could read under the trees uninterruptedly for
hours. Emerson, Ruskin, and Carlyle were my chosen companions.

We made several pleasant acquaintances among some Irish families who
were trying to live on their reduced incomes in Toulouse. One of these
gave us a farewell ball. As several companies of the French army were
stationed there, we met a large number of officers at the ball. I had
always supposed the French were graceful dancers. I was a quiet "looker
on in Vienna," so I had an opportunity of comparing the skill of the
different nationalities. All admitted that none glided about so easily
and gracefully as the Americans. They seemed to move without the least
effort, while the English, the French, and the Germans labored in their
dancing, bobbing up and down, jumping and jerking, out of breath and red
in the face in five minutes. One great pleasure we had in Toulouse was
the music of the military band in the public gardens, where, for half a
cent, we could have a chair and enjoy pure air and sweet music for two

We gave a farewell dinner at the Tivollier Hotel to some of our friends.
With speeches and toasts we had a merry time. Professor Joly was the
life of the occasion. He had been a teacher in France for forty years
and had just retired on a pension. I presented to him "The History of
Woman Suffrage," and he wrote a most complimentary review of it in one
of the leading French journals. Every holiday must have its end. Other
duties called me to England. So, after a hasty good-by to Jacournassy
and La Sagesse, to the Black Mountains and Toulouse, to Languedoc and
the South, we took train one day in October, just as the first leaves
began to fall, and, in fourteen hours, were at Paris. I had not seen the
beautiful French capital since 1840. My sojourn within its enchanting
walls was short,--too short,--and I woke one morning to find myself,
after an absence of forty-two years, again on the shores of England, and
before my eyes were fairly open, grim old London welcomed me back. But
the many happy hours spent in "merry England" during the winter of
1882-83 have not effaced from my memory the four months in Languedoc.



Reaching London in the fogs and mists of November, 1882, the first
person I met, after a separation of many years, was our revered and
beloved friend William Henry Channing. The tall, graceful form was
somewhat bent; the sweet, thoughtful face somewhat sadder; the crimes
and miseries of the world seemed heavy on his heart. With his refined,
nervous organization, the gloomy moral and physical atmosphere of London
was the last place on earth where that beautiful life should have ended.
I found him in earnest conversation with my daughter and the young
Englishman she was soon to marry, advising them not only as to the
importance of the step they were about to take, but as to the minor
points to be observed in the ceremony. At the appointed time a few
friends gathered in Portland Street Chapel, and as we approached the
altar our friend appeared in surplice and gown, his pale, spiritual face
more tender and beautiful than ever. This was the last marriage service
he ever performed, and it was as pathetic as original. His whole
appearance was so in harmony with the exquisite sentiments he uttered,
that we who listened felt as if, for the time being, we had entered with
him into the Holy of Holies.

Some time after, Miss Anthony and I called on him to return our thanks
for the very complimentary review he had written of "The History of
Woman Suffrage." He thanked us in turn for the many pleasant memories
we had revived in those pages, "but," said he, "they have filled me with
indignation, too, at the repeated insults offered to women so earnestly
engaged in honest endeavors for the uplifting of mankind. I blushed for
my sex more than once in reading these volumes." We lingered long,
talking over the events connected with our great struggle for freedom.
He dwelt with tenderness on our disappointments, and entered more fully
into the humiliations suffered by women, than any man we ever met. His
views were as appreciative of the humiliation of woman, through the
degradation of sex, as those expressed by John Stuart Mill in his
wonderful work on "The Subjection of Women." He was intensely interested
in Frances Power Cobbe's efforts to suppress vivisection, and the last
time I saw him he was presiding at a parlor meeting where Dr. Elizabeth
Blackwell gave an admirable address on the cause and cure of the social
evil. Mr. Channing spoke beautifully in closing, paying a warm and
merited compliment to Dr. Blackwell's clear and concise review of all
the difficulties involved in the question.

Reading so much of English reformers in our journals, of the Brights,
McLarens, the Taylors; of Lydia Becker, Josephine Butler, and Octavia
Hill, and of their great demonstrations with lords and members of
Parliament in the chair,--we had longed to compare the actors in those
scenes with our speakers on this side of the water. At last we met them
one and all in great public meetings and parlor reunions, at dinners and
receptions. We listened to their public men in Parliament, the courts,
and the pulpit; to the women in their various assemblies; and came to
the conclusion that Americans surpass them in oratory and the conduct of
their meetings. A hesitating, apologetic manner seems to be the national
custom for an exordium on all questions. Even their ablest men who have
visited this country, such as Kingsley, Stanley, Arnold, Tyndall, and
Coleridge, have all been criticised by the American public for their
elocutionary defects. They have no speakers to compare with Wendell
Phillips, George William Curtis, or Anna Dickinson, although John Bright
is without peer among his countrymen, as is Mrs. Besant among the women.
The women, as a general rule, are more fluent than the men.

I reached England in time to attend the great demonstration in Glasgow,
to celebrate the extension of the municipal franchise to the women of
Scotland. It was a remarkable occasion. St. Andrew's immense hall was
packed with women; a few men were admitted to the gallery at half a
crown apiece. Over five thousand people were present. When a Scotch
audience is thoroughly roused, nothing can equal the enthusiasm. The
arrival of the speakers on the platform was announced with the wildest
applause; the entire audience rising, waving their handkerchiefs, and
clapping their hands, and every compliment paid the people of Scotland
was received with similar outbursts. Mrs. McLaren, a sister of John
Bright, presided, and made the opening speech. I had the honor, on this
occasion, of addressing an audience for the first time in the Old World.
Many others spoke briefly. There were too many speakers; no one had time
to warm up to the point of eloquence.

Our system of conventions, of two or three days' duration, with long
speeches discussing pointed and radical resolutions, is quite unknown in
England. Their meetings consist of one session of a few hours, into
which they crowd all the speakers they can summon. They have a few tame,
printed resolutions, on which there can be no possible difference of
opinion, with the names of those who are to speak appended. Each of
these is read and a few short speeches are made, that may or may not
have the slightest reference to the resolutions, which are then passed.
The last is usually one of thanks to some lord or member of the House of
Commons, who may have condescended to preside at the meeting or do
something for the measure in Parliament. The Queen is referred to
tenderly in most of the speeches, although she has never done anything
to merit the approbation of the advocates of suffrage for women.

From Glasgow quite a large party of the Brights and McLarens went to
Edinburgh, where the Hon. Duncan McLaren gave us a warm welcome to
Newington House, under the very shadow of the Salisbury crags. These and
the Pentland Hills are remarkable features in the landscape as you
approach this beautiful city with its mountains and castles. We passed a
few charming days driving about, visiting old friends, and discussing
the status of woman on both sides of the Atlantic. Here we met Elizabeth
Pease Nichol and Jane and Eliza Wigham, whom I had not seen since we sat
together in the World's Anti-slavery Convention, in London, in 1840. Yet
I knew Mrs. Nichol at once; her strongly marked face was not readily

I went with the family on Sunday to the Friends' meeting, where a most
unusual manifestation for that decorous sect occurred. I had been told
that, if I felt inclined, it would be considered quite proper for me to
make some remarks, and just as I was revolving an opening sentence to a
few thoughts I desired to present, a man arose in a remote part of the
house and began, in a low voice, to give his testimony as to the truth
that was in him. All eyes were turned toward him, when suddenly a Friend
leaned over the back of the seat, seized his coat tails and jerked him
down in a most emphatic manner. The poor man buried his face in his
hands, and maintained a profound silence. I learned afterward that he
was a bore, and the Friend in the rear thought it wise to nip him in the
bud. This scene put to flight all intentions of speaking on my part lest
I, too, might get outside the prescribed limits and be suppressed by
force. I dined, that day, with Mrs. Nichol, at Huntly Lodge, where she
has entertained in turn many of our American reformers. Her walls have
echoed to the voices of Garrison, Rogers, Samuel J. May, Parker
Pillsbury, Henry C. Wright, Douglass, Remond, and hosts of English
philanthropists. Though over eighty years of age, she was still awake to
all questions of the hour, and generous in her hospitalities as of yore.

Mrs. Margaret Lucas, whose whole soul was in the temperance movement,
escorted me from Edinburgh to Manchester, to be present at another great
demonstration in the Town Hall, the finest building in that district. It
had just been completed, and, with its ante-room, dining hall, and
various apartments for social entertainments, was by far the most
perfect hall I had seen in England. There I was entertained by Mrs.
Matilda Roby, who, with her husband, gave me a most hospitable
reception. She invited several friends to luncheon one day, among
others Miss Lydia Becker, editor of the _Suffrage Journal_ in that city,
and the Rev. Mr. Steinthal, who had visited this country and spoken on
our platform. The chief topic at the table was John Stuart Mill, his
life, character, writings, and his position with reference to the
political rights of women. In the evening we went to see Ristori in
'"Queen Elizabeth." Having seen her, many years before, in America, I
was surprised to find her still so vigorous. And thus, week after week,
suffrage meetings, receptions, dinners, luncheons, and theaters
pleasantly alternated.

The following Sunday we heard in London a grand sermon from Moncure D.
Conway, and had a pleasant interview with him and Mrs. Conway at the
close of the session. Later we spent a few days at their artistic home,
filled with books, pictures, and mementos from loving friends. A
billiard room, with well-worn cues, balls, and table--quite a novel
adjunct to a parsonage--may, in a measure, account for his vigorous
sermons. A garden reception to Mr. and Mrs. Howells gave us an
opportunity to see the American novelist surrounded by his English

Soon after this Mr. Conway asked me to fill his pulpit. I retired
Saturday night, very nervous over my sermon for the next day, and the
feeling steadily increased until I reached the platform; but once there
my fears were all dissipated, and I never enjoyed speaking more than on
that occasion, for I had been so long oppressed with the degradation of
woman under canon law and church discipline, that I had a sense of
relief in pouring out my indignation. My theme was, "What has
Christianity done for Woman?" and by the facts of history I showed
clearly that to no form of religion was woman indebted for one impulse
of freedom, as all alike have taught her inferiority and subjection. No
lofty virtues can emanate from such a condition. Whatever heights of
dignity and purity women have individually attained can in no way be
attributed to the dogmas of their religion.

With my son Theodore, always deeply interested in my friends and public
work, I called, during my stay in London, on Mrs. Grey, Miss Jessie
Boucherett, and Dr. Hoggan, who had written essays for "The Woman
Question in Europe"; on our American minister (Mr. Lowell), Mr. and Mrs.
George W. Smalley, and many other notable men and women. By appointment
we had an hour with the Hon. John Bright, at his residence on
Piccadilly. As his photograph, with his fame, had reached America, his
fine face and head, as well as his political opinions, were quite
familiar to us. He received us with great cordiality, and manifested a
clear knowledge and deep interest in regard to all American affairs.
Free trade and woman suffrage formed the basis of our conversation; the
literature of our respective countries and our great men and women were
the lighter topics of the occasion. He was not sound in regard to the
political rights of women, but it is not given to any one man to be
equally clear on all questions. He voted for John Stuart Mill's
amendment to the Household Suffrage Bill in 1867, but he said, "that was
a personal favor to a friend, without any strong convictions as to the
merits of what I considered a purely sentimental measure."

We attended the meeting called to rejoice over the passage of the
Married Women's Property Bill, which gave to the women of England, in
1882, what we had enjoyed in many States in this country since 1848.
Mrs. Jacob Bright, Mrs. Scatcherd, Mrs. Elmy, and several members of
Parliament made short speeches of congratulation to those who had been
instrumental in carrying the measure. It was generally conceded that to
the tact and persistence of Mrs. Jacob Bright, more than to any other
person, belonged the credit of that achievement. Jacob Bright was at the
time a member of Parliament, and fully in sympathy with the bill; and,
while Mrs. Bright exerted all her social influence to make it popular
with the members, her husband, thoroughly versed in Parliamentary
tactics, availed himself of every technicality to push the bill through
the House of Commons. Mrs. Bright's chief object in securing this bill,
aside from establishing the right that every human being has to his own
property, was to place married women on an even plane with widows and
spinsters, thereby making them qualified voters.

The next day we went out to Barn Elms to visit Mr. and Mrs. Charles
McLaren. He was a member of Parliament, a Quaker by birth and education,
and had sustained, to his uttermost ability, the suffrage movement. His
charming wife, the daughter of Mrs. Pochin, is worthy of the noble
mother who was among the earliest leaders on that question--speaking and
writing with ability, on all phases of the subject. Barn Elms is a grand
old estate, a few miles out of London. It was the dairy farm of Queen
Elizabeth, and was presented by her to Sir Francis Walsingham. Since
then it has been inhabited by many persons of note. It has existed as an
estate since the time of the early Saxon kings, and the record of the
sale of Barn Elms in the time of King Athelstane is still extant. What
with its well-kept lawns, fine old trees, glimpses here and there of the
Thames winding round its borders, and its wealth of old associations, it
is, indeed, a charming spot. Our memory of those days will not go back
to Saxon kings, but remain with the liberal host and hostess, the
beautiful children, and the many charming acquaintances we met at that
fireside. I doubt whether any of the ancient lords and ladies who
dispensed their hospitalities under that roof did in any way surpass the
present occupants. Mrs. McLaren, interested in all the reforms of the
day, is radical in her ideas, a brilliant talker, and, for one so young,
remarkably well informed on all political questions.

It was at Barn Elms I met, for the first time, Mrs. Fannie Hertz, to
whom I was indebted for many pleasant acquaintances afterward. She is
said to know more distinguished literary people than any other woman in
London. I saw her, too, several times in her home; meeting, at her
Sunday-afternoon receptions, many persons I was desirous to know. On one
occasion I found George Jacob Holyoake there, surrounded by several
young ladies, all stoutly defending the Nihilists in Russia, and their
right to plot their way to freedom. They counted a dynasty of Czars as
nothing in the balance with the liberties of a whole people. As I joined
the circle, Mr. Holyoake called my attention to the fact that he was the
only one in favor of peaceful measures. "Now," said he, "I have often
heard it said on your platform that the feminine element in politics
would bring about perpetual peace in government, and here all these
ladies are advocating: the worst forms of violence in the name of
liberty." "Ah!" said I, "lay on their shoulders the responsibility of
governing, and they would soon become as mild and conservative as you
seem to be." He then gave us his views on co-operation, the only remedy
for many existing evils, which he thought would be the next step toward
a higher civilization.

There, too, I met some Positivists, who, though liberal on religious
questions, were very narrow as to the sphere of woman. The difference in
sex, which is the very reason why men and women should be associated in
all forms of activity, is to them the strongest reason why they should
be separated. Mrs. Hertz belongs to the Harrison school of Positivists.
I went with her to one of Mrs. Orr's receptions, where we met Robert
Browning, a fine-looking man of seventy years, with white hair and
mustache. He was frank, easy, playful, and brilliant in conversation.
Mrs. Orr seemed to be taking a very pessimistic view of our present
sphere of action, which Mr. Browning, with poetic coloring, was trying
to paint more hopefully.

The next day I dined with Margaret Bright Lucas, in company with John P.
Thomasson, member of Parliament, and his wife, and, afterward, we went
to the House of Commons and had the good fortune to hear Gladstone,
Parnell, and Sir Charles Dilke. Seeing Bradlaugh seated outside of the
charmed circle, I sent my card to him, and, in the corridor, we had a
few moments' conversation. I asked him if he thought he would eventually
get his seat. He replied, "Most assuredly I will. I shall open the next
campaign with such an agitation as will rouse our politicians to some
consideration of the changes gradually coming over the face of things
in this country."

The place assigned ladies in the House of Commons is really a disgrace
to a country ruled by a queen. This dark perch is the highest gallery,
immediately over the speaker's desk and government seats, behind a fine
wire netting, so that it is quite impossible to see or hear anything.
The sixteen persons who can crowd into the front row, by standing with
their noses partly through the open network, can have the satisfaction
of seeing the cranial arch of their rulers and hearing an occasional
paean to liberty, or an Irish growl at the lack of it. I was told that
this network was to prevent the members on the floor from being
disturbed by the beauty of the women. On hearing this I remarked that I
was devoutly thankful that our American men were not so easily
disturbed, and that the beauty of our women was not of so dangerous a
type. I could but contrast our spacious galleries in that magnificent
Capitol at Washington, as well as in our grand State Capitols, where
hundreds of women can sit at their ease and see and hear their rulers,
with these dark, dingy buildings. My son, who had a seat on the floor
just opposite the ladies' gallery, said he could compare our appearance
to nothing but birds in a cage. He could not distinguish an outline of
anybody. All he could see was the moving of feathers and furs or some
bright ribbon or flower.

In the libraries, the courts, and the House of Lords, I found many
suggestive subjects of thought. It was interesting to find, on the
frescoed walls, many historical scenes in which women had taken a
prominent part. Among others there was Jane Lane assisting Charles II.
to escape, and Alice Lisle concealing the fugitives after the battle of
Sedgemoor. Six wives of Henry VIII. stood forth, a solemn pageant when
one recalled their sad fate. Alas! whether for good or ill, women must
ever fill a large space in the tragedies of the world.

I passed a few pleasant hours in the house where Macaulay spent his last
years. The once spacious library and the large bow-window, looking out
on a beautiful lawn, where he sat, from day to day, writing his glowing
periods, possessed a peculiar charm for me, as the surroundings of
genius always do. I thought, as I stood there, how often he had
unconsciously gazed on each object in searching for words rich enough to
gild his ideas. The house was owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen
Winckworth. It was at one of their sociable Sunday teas that many
pleasant memories of the great historian were revived.

One of the most remarkable and genial women I met was Miss Frances Power
Cobbe. She called one afternoon, and sipped with me the five o'clock
tea, a uniform practice in England. She was of medium height, stout,
rosy, and vigorous-looking, with a large, well-shaped head, a strong,
happy face, and gifted with rare powers of conversation. I felt very
strongly attracted to her. She was frank and cordial, and pronounced in
all her views. She gave us an account of her efforts to rescue unhappy
cats and dogs from the hands of the vivisectionists. We saw her, too, in
her home, and in her office in Victoria Street. The perfect order in
which her books and papers were arranged, and the exquisite neatness of
the apartments, were refreshing to behold.

My daughter, having decided opinions of her own, was soon at
loggerheads with Miss Cobbe on the question of vivisection. After we had
examined several German and French books, with illustrations showing the
horrible cruelty inflicted on cats and dogs, she enlarged on the
hypocrisy and wickedness of these scientists, and, turning to my
daughter, said: "Would you shake hands with one of these
vivisectionists? Yes," said Harriot, "I should be proud to shake hands
with Virchow, the great German scientist, for his kindness to a young
American girl. She applied to several professors to be admitted to their
classes, but all refused except Virchow; he readily assented, and
requested his students to treat her with becoming courtesy. 'If any of
you behave otherwise,' said he, 'I shall feel myself personally
insulted.' She entered his classes and pursued her studies, unmolested
and with great success. Now, would you, Miss Cobbe, refuse to shake
hands with any of your statesmen, scientists, clergymen, lawyers, or
physicians who treat women with constant indignities and insult?" "Oh,
no!" said Miss Cobbe. "Then," said Harriot, "you estimate the physical
suffering of cats and dogs as of more consequence than the humiliation
of human beings. The man who tortures a cat for a scientific purpose is
not as low in the scale of beings, in my judgment, as one who sacrifices
his own daughter to some cruel custom."

As we were, just then, reading Froude's "Life of Carlyle," we drove by
the house where Carlyle had lived, and paused a moment at the door where
poor Jennie went in and out so often with a heavy heart. The book gives
a painful record of a great soul struggling with poverty and
disappointment; the hope of success, as an author, so long deferred and
never realized. His foolish pride of independence and headship, and his
utter indifference to his domestic duties and the comfort of his wife
made the picture still darker. Poor Jennie! fitted to shine in any
circle, yet doomed, all her married life, to domestic drudgery, instead
of associations with the great man for whose literary companionship she
had sacrificed everything.

At one of Miss Biggs' receptions Miss Anthony and I met Mr. Stansfeld,
M.P., who had labored faithfully for the repeal of the Contagious
Diseases Act, and had in a measure been successful. We had the honor of
an interview with Lord Shaftesbury, at one of his crowded "at homes,"
and found him a little uncertain as to the wisdom of allowing married
women to vote, for fear of disturbing the peace of the family. I have
often wondered if men see, in this objection, what a fatal admission
they make as to their love of domination.

Miss Anthony was present at the great Liberal Conference, at Leeds, on
October 17, 1882, to which Mrs. Helen Bright Clark, Miss Jane Cobden,
Mrs. Tanner, Mrs. Scatcherd, and several other ladies were duly elected
delegates from their respective Liberal Leagues. Mrs. Clark and Miss
Cobden, daughters of the great corn-law reformers, spoke eloquently in
favor of the resolution to extend Parliamentary suffrage to women, which
was presented by Walter McLaren of Bradford. As Mrs. Clark made her
impassioned appeal for the recognition of woman's political equality in
the next bill for extension of suffrage, that immense gathering of
sixteen hundred delegates was hushed into profound silence. For a
daughter to speak thus in that great representative convention, in
opposition to her loved and honored father, the acknowledged leader of
that party, was an act of heroism and fidelity to her own highest
convictions almost without a parallel in English history, and the effect
on the audience was as thrilling as it was surprising. The resolution
was passed by a large majority. At the reception given to John Bright
that evening, as Mrs. Clark approached the dais on which her noble
father stood shaking the hands of passing friends, she remarked to her
husband, "I wonder if father has heard of my speech this morning, and if
he will forgive me for thus publicly differing with him?" The query was
soon answered. As he caught the first glimpse of his daughter he stepped
down, and, pressing her hand affectionately, kissed her on either cheek.

The next evening the great Quaker statesman was heard by the admiring
thousands who could crowd into Victoria Hall, while thousands, equally
desirous to hear, failed to get tickets of admission. It was a
magnificent sight, and altogether a most impressive gathering of the
people. Miss Anthony, with her friends, sat in the gallery opposite the
great platform, where they had a fine view of the whole audience. When
John Bright, escorted by Sir Wilfrid Lawson, took his seat, the immense
crowd rose, waving hats and handkerchiefs, and, with the wildest
enthusiasm, gave cheer after cheer in honor of the great leader. Sir
Wilfrid Lawson, in his introductory remarks, facetiously alluded to the
resolution adopted by the Conference as somewhat in advance of the ideas
of the speaker of the evening. The house broke into roars of laughter,
while the Father of Liberalism, perfectly convulsed, joined in the
general merriment.

But when at length his time to speak had come, and Mr. Bright went over
the many steps of progress that had been taken by the Liberal party, he
cunningly dodged the question of the emancipation of the women of
England. He skipped round the agitation of 1867, and John Stuart Mill's
amendment presented at that time in the House of Commons; the extension
of the municipal suffrage in 1869; the participation of women in the
establishment of national schools under the law of 1870, both as voters
and members of school boards; the Married Women's Property Bill of 1882;
the large and increasing vote for the extension of Parliamentary
suffrage in the House of Commons, and the adoption of the resolution by
that great Conference the day before. All these successive steps toward
woman's emancipation he carefully remembered to forget.

While in London Miss Anthony and I attended several enthusiastic reform
meetings. We heard Bradlaugh address his constituency on that memorable
day at Trafalgar Square, at the opening of Parliament, when violence was
anticipated and the Parliament Houses were surrounded by immense crowds,
with the military and police in large numbers, to maintain order. We
heard Michael Davitt and Miss Helen Taylor at a great meeting in Exeter
Hall; the former on home rule for Ireland, and the latter on the
nationalization of land. The facts and figures given in these two
lectures, as to the abject poverty of the people and the cruel system by
which every inch of land had been grabbed by their oppressors, were
indeed appalling. A few days before sailing we made our last visit to
Ernestine L. Rose, and found our noble coadjutor, though in delicate
health, pleasantly situated in the heart of London, as deeply interested
as ever in the struggles of the hour.

A great discomfort, in all English homes, is the inadequate system of
heating. A moderate fire in the grate is the only mode of heating, and
they seem quite oblivious to the danger of throwing a door open into a
cold hall at one's back, while the servants pass in and out with the
various courses at dinner. As we Americans were sorely tried, under such
circumstances, it was decided, in the home of my son-in-law, Mr. Blatch,
to have a hall-stove, which, after a prolonged search, was found in
London and duly installed as a presiding deity to defy the dampness that
pervades all those ivy-covered habitations, as well as the neuralgia
that wrings their possessors. What a blessing it proved, more than any
one thing making the old English house seem like an American home! The
delightful summer heat we, in America, enjoy in the coldest seasons, is
quite unknown to our Saxon cousins. Although many came to see our stove
in full working order, yet we could not persuade them to adopt the
American system of heating the whole house at an even temperature. They
cling to the customs of their fathers with an obstinacy that is
incomprehensible to us, who are always ready to try experiments.
Americans complain bitterly of the same freezing experiences in France
and Germany, and, in turn, foreigners all criticise our overheated
houses and places of amusement.


Back to Full Books