Account of the Great Meeting at the Tabernacle, at which women delegates were expelled
WOMAN AND TEMPERANCE. GREAT MEETING AT THE TABERNACLE
THE EXPULSION OF FEMALE DELEGATES FROM BRICK CHURCH CHAPEL.
MISS LUCY STONE'S SPEECH.
A WHOLE WORLD'S CONVENTION PROMISED.
A grand Temperance demonstration was held in the Broadway Tabernacle on Saturday evening. There could not have been less than three thousand persons present. The body of the house, the aisles, the galleries, and the seats usually occupied by the choir, were all filled, and the greatest enthusiasm prevailed throughout the entire evening.
The meeting was organized with the following persons as officers:
President, SUSAN B. ANTHONY, of New-York.
C. C. Burleigh, Conn.
Harriet K. Hunt, Mass.
E. M. Davis, Pennsylvania.
Francis D. Gage, Mo.
Ashby Pierce, Oregon.
R. T. Robinson, Vermont.
Melissa J. Driggs, Indiana.
Thomas Garret, Del.
Angeline G. Weld, N. J.
Hannah M. T. Cutler, Ill.
These persons took their seats upon the stage at 8 o'clock, amid loud and long-continued applause. Quiet being at last restored, the President Miss ANTHONY, came forward and said:
FRIENDS--The object which has called us here this evening has been so thoroughly advertised, that I deem it a waste of time to make any further explanation. I have the pleasure of introducing to you Miss EMILY CLARK, of Le Roy, New-York, who, during the past year, has been an efficient agent of the Women's State Temperance Society, and who persented in person to the Legislature the great Petition signed by 28,000 women of the State. [Applause.]
Miss CLARK then came forward and made a statement of the doings of the WOMEN'S STATE TEMPERANCE SOCIETY; after which
Dr. J. E. SNODGRASS, of Baltimore, made a short speech.
The President then introduced to the audience
Lucy STONE, of Brookfield, who presented a review of the proceedings of certain male Delegates at the meeting held in the Brick Church Chapel on Thursday morning, May 12, by which the regularly appointed Delegates of an efficient State Temperance Society were rejected, because they were Women. Miss STONE spoke substantially as follows:
The speaker who preceded me said he did not dream, coming up from a slave-holding state, that, when we met in Brick Church Chapel the other morning, to call a World's Temperance Convention, that any such issue would take place. It is not for me to say that I dreamed of, or thought of. We were there as those who have a deep interest in the cause of Temperance. We went there without any claim beyond that allowed us by the call; and when a noble man nominated noble women to serve on a Committee, throughout the audience were heard cries of "Order!" and motions to "adjourn." Women, they said, had no business there. Women! the sisters of those who were the wives of drunkards. Women! the sisters of those who were the daughters of drunkards. Women! the sisters of those who, by all natural ties, were bound to men who despised them, and had involved them in ruin; these Women were there, and were told by Doctors of Divinity that it was no place for them! [Applause.] We didn't moot the question of Women's Rights; we simply asked that when the whole world came together Women should be recognized as part of the world, and have a right to meet in council with our brothers there. And one grey-haired Minister, the Rev. Dr. Hewitt, who, if he is present, will not be ashamed to have me repeat, what he said, if he was not ashamed to say it, began discussing the question of Woman's Rights--and said, it was "improper," &c, for woman to take part in these proceedings; quoted Paul--said, that all usage was against us; that it was not easy for him to change from what he has always thought and taught. I know it is not easy for an old man, who has not kept this soul open to God's sun-shine and rain-drops, to change. But if he did not believe we had any right, there he should not in the call, have invited friends of Temperance to come together. On the Committee for Credentials, was Rev. Mr. Higginson, of Massachusetts. And when I say this gentleman has been the warmth to the heart and the guide to the head of the Temperance cause there, its friends will not feel that I do him any discredit. He came there at the call, but declined to serve on a committee that could not recognize his sister as well as himself. [Applause.] Mr. Higginson is a "manly man"--a man, who, when a parish were displeased at his faithful preaching, and he knew he was right, gave up his charge, and left the place, scorning pulpit and salary, rather than relinquish his principles to the will of the people. He had learned that there is more than place and honor in human existence. He knew that to abide by the Right was the truest wealth. He declined to serve on the committee. A man, whose name I did not learn, said he hoped the reason of his declining would not be entered in the Secretary's Report. There is hope for that man; for, when a man has shame left, there is a string that may be pulled by which he may be reclaimed. [Applause.]
Rev. Mr. Thompson, of Mass., moved that Lucy Stone on that committee; to which Mr. Barstow, of Providence, immediately said--"I won't put such a motion--I will not preside over such a meeting!" I hope he is here to-night to see that I am telling the truth. [Laugher.] Mr. Thomson insisted, but was ruled down. The committee did not think it was within the call of the Convention to allow women to be heard. Mr. Higginson said that
[p. 67]he wrote the resolution that called the meeting together, and he would never have put his pen to the paper if he had dreamed that women were to be excluded. But he was not allowed to proceed; was ruled out of order, and gagged down, as was every one who claimed equal rights for delegates, irrespective of sex. The Committee on Credentials was then appointed by the Chairman, entirely from those known to be on one side, contrary to the universal usage of legislative bodies, and giving no chance for a minority report. That committee, after having received the credentials of women, as well as men, reported that it was not the intention of the signers of the call to admit women as delegates, and they would not be received, when it was manifestly such as they could call only a semi-World's Convention, and that no justice could be had at their hands. Mr. Higginson entered his protest against the unworthy proceedings in the name of us all, and invited those who were in favor of a Whole World's Convention--a convention that should know neither sex nor color, neither kindred nor tongue, nor nation, to meet at Dr. Trall's and make arrangements for it. Accordingly, next September that convention shall be held. [Applause.] From the decision at the Brick Church Chapel, we appeal to the world; and we can wait for their verdict. After we left the Brick Church, Mr. Barstow, who said we were "out of our place," proved the truth of this (if the papers reported him correctly), by using language which he should have been ashamed to have spoken in the ears of decency. [Applause.] The next evening at Metropolitan Hall, he said: "God has placed woman in the moral world where he has the sun in the physical world, to enlighten, regulate and cheer." And when we went to this meeting, instead of recognizing her "sun light," he only called her a candle, and put his bushel over it. [Great applause.] "Woman," said he, "is the sun, to regulate, enlighten, and cheer." And when you come to look at the fact, to see what kind of "regulation" he means, it is the regulation subject to his order. One man said: "we value woman, and we could not do without her." When we went to Metropolitan Hall, I found how they value us--namely, just as they value their horses, or their oxen, for the work they can get out of us. [Laughter.] At that convention, when there came to be a resolution voted upon, Dr. Patten said, that he hoped gentlemen and ladies would all vote." Yes, they valued us there, because we could give strength to their resolutions. And we were also told that our contributions were highly valued! So after having voted us out of the Brick Church--after having insulted every man's mother and sister--they came to Metropolitan Hall, and asked ladies to contribute in their behalf! Yes, this is the way they value us, to raise funds to pay their salaries--and what other bills I don't know. [Applause.] Mr. Barstow seemed desirous of giving credit to Rhode Island, for the noble manner in which she received Roger Williams, after his banishment from Massachusetts; but, Mr. Barstow, who admires toleration, would gag the mouths of half the world; he builds the tombs of the old prophets, and digs the graves of the new. [Applause.] Mr. Hewitt tried to prove from the Bible when the "scum" was gone, for so they called us, although they sometimes tell us we are angels--he tried to prove that women should not speak or
[p. 68]engage in the work of men. Whatever is fit for any body to do, is fit for woman to do; and whoever can do it well has God's certificate to do it. (Enthusiastic applause.) I presume I look upon no person here who has not seen the face of the drunkard's wife or daughter, who, when the fire had gone out on her hearth-stone, the light of hope in her should presented indeed a spectacle for the pity and sympathy of the world. I saw the wife of a drunkard, who was so cruelly beaten by her husband, that she was blackened all over with blows; that woman, when telling her sad tale of woe to a friend, spite of herself, found the big tear drops rolling down her cheeks, and the great grief of her heart in vain endeavoring to find utterance. This woman, and others in her circumstances, comes to the Brick Church, and asks to be saved from this brutal treatment, from these cruel blows; but Mayor Barstow says, in reply to her, you cannot sit in this body; and Dr. Hewitt tells her she is out of her place. The daughter of the drunkard, in the person of her representative, comes to that convention, and says, as one drunkard's daughter did say:--
Go feel what I have felt,
Go bear what I have borne,
Sink 'neath the blow a father dealt
And the cold world's proud scorn;
Then suffer on from year to year,
Thy sole relief the scorching tear.
Go kneel as I have knelt,
Implore, beseech, and pray:
Strive the besotted heart to melt,
The downward course to stay,
Be dashed with bitter curse aside,
Your prayers burlesqued, your tears defied.
Go weep as I have wept,
O'ver a loved father's fall,
See every promised blessing swept,
Youth's sweetness turned to gall,
Life's fading flowers strewed all the way,
That's brought me up to woman's day.
Go see what I have seen,
Behold the strong man bow,
With gnashing teeth--lips bathed in blood,
And cold and livid brow
Go catch his withering glance, and see
There mirrored, his soul's misery.
Go on to thy mother's side,
And her crushed bosom cheer,
Thy own deep anguish hide,
Wipe from her cheek the tear;
Mark her worn frame and withered brow,
The grey that streaks her dark hair now!
With fading frame and trembling limb,
And trace the ruin back to him
Whose plighted faith in early youth,
Promised eternal love and truth,
[p. 69]But who forsworn, hath yielded up
That promise to the cursed cup;
And led her down through love and light
And all that made her prospects bright;
And chained her there, 'mid want and strife,
That lowly thing, a drunkard's wife;
And stamped on childhood's brow so mild,
That withering blight, the drunkard's child!
And many drunkard's daughters with hearts like this, send Susan B. Anthony to plead her cause; but Mr. Fowler says, shall women pursue us everywhere? and he taunts her because she would speak of the wrongs she has suffered. In your city, last summer, a little boy was included by the enemy of his mother, to enter one of those numerous groggeries that are to be found in the Eleventh ward, and was made so drunk that life was not able to keep its place in the body. The mother took her boy in her arms, watched its life as it ebbed away--that mother robbed of her son by the demon of intemperance, sent Emily Clark here to ask, that when the world met together, she might be allowed to do something to save her young children; but the meeting at the Brick Church said, we won't have women among us. No matter, let her child die before her eyes; let her be the wife or daughter of a drunkard, she has no right there. But the whole meeting did not say that; the Rev. Mr. Thompson spoke in favor of equal rights, and I am glad to mention this and many other honorable exceptions. Neal Dow said that if the question had been brought up in Maine, our admission would have been certain. The delegate from New Brunswick said that if we were excluded, it would be only a Half World's Convention. [Cheers.] I am glad to see, by this applause, that disapprove of the calumnies there heaped upon us. They talked there, to be sure, something about their conscience, and said their conscience would not permit them to admit Women. This puts me in mind of the Indian's conscience. He was asked what he meant by conscience. "Oh!" said he laying his hand on his breast," there is something right in here that says, I won't." [Laughter.] The Major of Providence said he thought as much of women as most men do (Laughter.) If that is not a slander upon you, gentlemen, I am sorry. (Renewed laughter and applause.) And yet these men who exclude women are perpetually they think much of Women; not most men do--yet, they tell us we have no business to meddle in this cause, and will not accepts our assistance; and still they will tell you that they are Temperance men, Now--suppose this Tabernacle were on fire to-night, and that a women on the outside discovers the fire, and puts a ladder up to the windows, with real earnestness and sincerity, to save us inside. A. D. D. steps up and tells her it is very unwomanly, and tumbles down the ladder. Now, must he not be a crazy man who would prevent her from saving the building and the precious lives it contains? I say when a man sees thirty thousand drunkards go down to an unhonored grave every year; when he sees their wives and children; when he sees a society like ours, endeavoring to do away with those evils, and he says "No; let the widow wail on, and the child remain the child of a drunkard"--
[p. 70]what do you think of the sincerity of such a man? (Applause.) Whoever is the friend of a cause is glad of helpers from any source, and he who is true to his convictions as a temperance advocate, will ever accept the aid of children. He who is a real friend of the cause, will say welcome, thrice welcome to those who come to put out the fire that burns in the distillery, and destroys the lives of our brothers and husbands. Why this opposition, then, to women? Does it not come from those who are opposed to reform, and who would stay the progress of the race. They say that there is no precedent for Woman's interference in public affairs. Are we had nothing but what we have a precedent for? There was a time when we had no precedents for steam or railroads and, certainly, as there was no precedent from discoveries in her time, Isabella was a naughty fool to have assisted Columbus--for, had she not, American might never have been discovered, nor would we be disputing about precedents in a land which was discovered against all precedent. "My soul is not a palace of the past; I have no fear of what is called for by the instinct of the race." Whoever opens his ears, hears everywhere the cry for reform; it comes over the ocean from every village and hamlet of the Old World; the newspaper is scarcely dry, before the reform it records is followed on its heels by another; and while every reform is rendering woman more free, she shall not come to the World's Convention as a helper, if Barstow, who thinks "more of women than most men," can prevent her. I know there are men who are willing to ignore the existence of woman and her rights, making them inferior to their own; but they are not men who act in that way, and we will appeal from them to those who are willing to treat us justly, and to whom we shall not appeal in vain, when we show that there are sad hearts to be comforted, and erring minds to be reformed. Now, I say, men and women of New York, or from whatever quarter of the world you come, whether you like it or not--whether you say "God bless" or "God curse"--whether you give us the right hand of fellowship, or turn your back in scorn--whether you write us down as unwomanly women,, and unfit to live, or what you please; so long as there is one mother that leads by the hand a drunkard, and the child of a drunkard; so long as one tear-drop comes from her eye; so long as one man cannot feel enough reverence for his own soul to stay away from the wine cup, so long will we, in season and out of session, in highways and byways, in public and private places, wherever we can find an ear to hear, we will there speak; (tremendous applause) and no man, or set of men, no woman or set of women shall ever hinder us. (Repeated applause.) We reverence the opinions of age; we know the force of old customs; and while we bow before the gray-haired man, with deeper reverence do we bow before Him from whom came the golden rule, and to whom old age is accountable; and because we reverence Him, we are able to plant our feet upon that golden rule, and are not ashamed when you tell us it is a shame. A World's Convention--not Half a World's Convention--recognizing alike all that belong to the human family, that knows neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, will meet in this city next September