Document 4B: "Meeting of Delegates to a World's Temperance Convention" and "The Seceding Temperance Delegates," New York Daily Tribune, May 13, 1853, p. 6.


   Tribune editor Horace Greeley was an advocate of many antebellum reform movements including those for temperance and woman's rights. His paper unsurprisingly reported on both the planning meeting and that of the "seceding" delegates at length.

   About fifty supporters of woman's rights gathered to condemn the actions of the majority of the delegates at the planning meeting and to call for a World Temperance Convention that would be open equally to all. (See Document 4D) Those attending were a kind of "Who's Who" of radical reform. In addition to Higginson, Stone, Anthony, and Kelley Foster, those in attendance included Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison "and other notables," in the words of the Tribune.

[p. 6]


   Agreeably to a call previously, a number of the friends of Temperance met yesterday morning in the Lecture Room of the Brick Church, with a view to adopt the necessary preliminaries to hold a grand World's Convention in the City of New York, some time during the continuance of the World's Fair. The meeting was called to order by E. M. Jackson, Corresponding Secretary of the State Central Committee of Pennsylvania, who moved the Hon. A. C. Barstow, Mayor of Providence, to the Chair, which was carried nem. con,; upon which, the Rev. George Duffield, Jun., of Philadelphia, and the Rev. R. S. Crampton, of Rochester, New York, were appointed to act as Secretaries. After prayer by the Rev. Dr. Hewett:
Rev. John Marsh, of New York, moved that all gentlemen present, who were friends of Temperance, be admitted as delegates.
Dr. Trall, of New York, stated that there were delegates present from the Women's State Temperance Society, and moved that the word "ladies" be inserted in the motion offered by Mr. Marsh, which was carried unanimously.
The motion as amended was then adopted, and the names of the gentlemen and ladies present were collected by the Secretaries, and enrolled by States. Those holding credentials also handed them in to the Secretaries.

   Hon. Neal Dow, of Maine; Hon. Zimri Howe, of Vt.; Rev. Dr. Hewitt, of Conn.; Rev. T. W. Higginson, of Mass.; Rev. John Marsh, of N. Y.; E. W. Jackson, of Penn.; Hon. T. B. Segur, of N. H.; Dr. Snodgrass, of Md.; Gen. Cocke, of Va.; Isaac Trescott, of Ohio; John Arbuckle, of Prince Edward's Island; and Mr. Seeley, of New-Brunswick, were appointed a Business Committee.

   Mr. Higginson, of Massachusetts, one of the above-named Committee, rose and said--That as women were very properly acting as delegates in the Convention, they should be represented on the Committee, and moved that Miss Susan B. Anthony, of Rochester, be admitted a member of the above named Committee.

   Dr. Hewett hereupon arose and said, that in certain parts of the country women had received a good deal of celebrity and notoriety. He did not mean to disparage them; but it was quite sufficient for his purpose merely to state that he was not prepared to give to women that prominent place in arranging the affairs of mankind which hitherto was the province, and was given to others. It was with very great hesitation, and not without a sacrifice of feeling, that he was induced to take the stand he was determined upon in relation to the subject now before the convention. His years, and the place he had occupied in the great work of temperance, betrayed some of the relics of a former age; and he was not prepared to acquiesce in any such invasion as would tend to interfere with the settled laws of society "revolution was one thing and reformation was another."

   Rev. Mr. Fowler, of Utica, hoped the motion of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Higginson) would not be pressed. If so, and it prevailed, those ladies, as well as others, should be appointed.

   Mr. Higginson was proceeding to reply, when he was interrupted by cries of "Out of order," "Lay the motion on the table," and loud demonstrations of disapprobation, when the following were handed in by Mrs. Lydia F. Fowler, of New York. The names of the other ladies were Miss Mary S. Rich, Miss Emily Clark, of Le Roy, N. Y.; Miss Anthony, of Rochester; Mrs. Mary Vaughn, Oswego; Lucy Stone, Mass; and Abby K. Foster, Mass. Their unexpected presence created quite a sensation. The following is a copy of the credentials of Mrs. Fowler:
Seneca Falls, N. Y., April 25, 1853.
To Mrs. Lydia F. Fowler:-
At a meeting of the Executive Committee of "Woman's New York Temperance Society," held at Seneca Falls on the 23d instant, you were appointed a delegate to attend the meeting called by Neal Dow, to be held in your city on the 12th May, to make arrangements for holding a World's Temperance Convention in New York some time during the World's Fair.
AMELIA BLOOMER, Corresponding Secretary.

   The other document read as follows:
At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the "Woman's New York Temperance Society," held on the 23d inst, the following persons were appointed as delegates to attend a meeting to be held in new York city, on 12th May, for the purpose of making arrangements for a World's Temperance Convention, some time during the World's Fair, viz:-Mrs. E. F. Ellet, Mrs. Horace Greeley, Mrs. L. F. Fowler, Miss Mary Rich, Miss Emily Clark, (Le Roy, N. Y.,) and Susan B. Anthony. .......... S. B. ANTHONY,
Secretary Woman's State Temperance Society.

   The question on Mr. Higginson's motion to receive the name of Miss Anthony was then put from the chair, and negatived, amid some excitement, when Mr. Thompson, of Mass, rose and said this was a "World's Temperance Convention," and the great portion of the world had to be represented, if they desired it understood that this was World's Convention at all. He would, therefore, move a reconsideration, and to take the motion from the table.

   Mr. Higginson here rose, and requested to have his name stricken out from the list appointed to act as a business committee. He would give his reasons if permitted to do so.

   The convention voted by a small majority not to receive Mr. Higginson's resignation and the committee retired.

   Hon. Bradford R. Wood, of Albany, then moved that the convention do adjourn sine die, for there is party here who are abound to run this affair right straight into the ground, and they came here for that express purpose, and no other; but on request, he withdrew the motion, and moved that a Committee on Credentials be appointed.

   Rev. John Chambers, Hon. Bradford R. Wood, and Dr. Condit were appointed such committee.

   Rev. Mr. Marsh--Let the matter be referred to the committee just selected, and they can then report.

   Mr. Higginson--I am not here, Mr. Chairman, as a gentleman or as a lady, but as a friend of temperance; and that committee is not a fair representation of the friends of temperance, when you exclude women, who have attended here in compliance with your call. He thought that in a World's Convention woman should be represented, otherwise it would be only a Semi-World's Convention. The ladies present have done good work in the cause in this city, through the State of New York, and in the Assembly. He felt the they were entitled to have an equal voice in the proceedings.

   Rev. Mr. Fowler, of Utica--I hope the gentleman will be excused from serving, as he desire it.

   Chairman--I should be sorry if he did. He a very active member, and did a great deal to bring about this convention.

   Mrs. Abby K. Foster here rose, amid considerable confusion and cries of order. She said: Mr. Chairman, (cries of "Order," Sit down," I claim the privilege. "Order, order.") I hope, sir, that this is to be no sectarian test. ("Order" from different parts of the room, and cries of "We don't want to hear your remarks.") I hope that gentlemen will allow me to express my opinions, as I only take the liberty to express my views.
Rev. Dr. Hewett here rose to order, and Chairman requested Mrs. Foster to take her place. The excitement was considerably increased by this personal rencontre in the meeting, upon which Joseph A. Dugdale, a Quaker, rose, and denounced the proceeding of the Convention with much indignation. He requested that his name should be expunged, as they had excluded the women from the Convention.

   Col. E. L. Snow stated that he received much support and encouragement from the ladies, when in the Assembly, and he felt that what they had in their hearts to do for the cause they should be allowed to do without hindrance.

   Rev. J. B. Wakely and others also spoke in flavor of the ladies being represented on the committee.

   Mr. Thompson (Mass.) here made a separate motion; he moved that the name of Miss Lucy Stone be added to the committee.

   Miss Emily Clark, of Leroy, New York, here rose to second the motion, amid much confusion and alternate cries of "order," hear her," "hear her," "order," order." Miss C. Still holding on to floor.

   Chairman--If that motion is put, I shall certainly resign. I honor women as much as most men, but I am opposed to their taking part in such proceedings as these.

   Mr. Wood--I move that we adjourn, it we are to be subjected to such interruptions as these.

   Mr. Wheeler, of New York--I move that we proceed without any further interruptions, and that the speakers be restricted to ten minutes upon the floor while speaking. I also move that no speaker be allowed to address the meeting more than once without the consent of the convention.

   Mr. Armstrong, of Saratoga, wished to know if this convention was to be considered a deliberative body or a delegated body?

   Mr. Chairman referred to the minutes, and the requisition calling the meeting was at the same time read, showing that the friends of temperance were invited, upon which other names were handed in.

   Mrs. Foster again took the floor, and made an effort to be heard, but was repeatedly interrupted, and obliged to resume her seat amid much confusion; she then joined the part of the convention who supported the women, who had congregated by this time pretty strong at one side of the room.

   Rev. Mr. Buckhart here rose, and stated that he was opposed to the entire proceedings before the convention, since its opening to-day. He was opposed to women interfering with matters out of their own sphere.
Mrs. Foster was about to reply and was opposed, when Mr. Higginson again rose to press his motion, and moved that it be adopted.

   Chairman---If so I will not preside over the Convention.

   The committee who had been appointed to examine the credentials of Delegates, hereupon returned from their deliberations, and presented their report. The Chairman reported that the committee were unanimous in favor of not receiving the "Women Delegations." This gave rise to a second debate, more exciting by far than the first, and brought Mr. Higginson again to the floor. He said, the Committee had excluded the names of several ladies, and he wished to know the particular ground. He supposed the design was--

   Mr. Wood (the Chairman of the Committee)--The grounds we took were to exclude all women. The Committee were unanimously of opinion that it was not intended by those who called this meeting that female delegates should be received, that their credentials should be disregarded, and that otherwise the roll should remain as completed by the Secretary.

   Mr. Higginson--I know something about this call, as it originated by a resolution from myself, which I offered at the Massachusetts State Convention. I certainly never would have dreamed of setting my hand to pen such a resolution or propose it, if I considered that women were to be excluded from this meeting. (Loud and continued applause from the "woman" side of the house.) It is not the matter of "woman's rights" we are considering, or have to consider, at all. It is the question as to whether this is to be considered a meeting of the friends of temperance. Are these women not the friends of temperance? Are they not advocates of temperance? Then why exclude them? Let us but exclude them, and then they have a right--

   Mr. Condit, of New Jersey, here rose and called the gentleman to order.

   Mr. Bradford Wood--I move that the gentleman be heard for five minutes longer.

   Mr. Higginson here resumed the floor, and continued:-I did not speak at first to this question at all. I have no desire to throw a firebrand into this meeting. I have only made one speech on the "woman question." After some further remarks on a point of order, Mr. H. moved to amend the report of the Committee on Credentials.

   Chairman--The question before the Convention is, first, shall the report be accepted?

   Mr. Fowler, of Utica, then moved the previous question.

   Col. Snow considered it out of order thus to cut off debate. He claimed to be heard for a short time. He would only occupy the floor--

   Mr. Fowler, pressed his motion.

   Chairman--The motion before the chair is, that the report of the committee to decide upon the qualification of members be accepted.

   A Member--The question on the amendment should be first taken.

   The question was then taken, when there appeared ayes 22, nays 36.

   Mr. Fowler, again rose, and moved the previous question.

   Mr. Thompson, of Massachusetts--I appeal from the decision of the Chair. This will entitle me to a hearing at once, and the gentlemen know it. I don't want to discuss this woman question at all. I want to have that part of the report so amended as to allow the intentions of the 5,000 people who met at the Massachusetts Convention, and who were the originators of this convention, to be carried out. That committee wanted but the truth, and they should not send forth a lie, before the country. (Confusion, and cries of "order.") I only want to have the report amended in consistency with the truth.

   Mr. Crampton (the Secretary)--I should be glad to know, is it to these 5,000 persons that we are to attribute the calling of this meeting?

   Mr. Wood rose to order. The entire proceedings were out of order. Gentlemen had to bow to the will of the majority.

   Mr. Thompson had no objection to have the majority decide.

   Mr. Wood--The report of the committee decided that it was not contemplated that women were to be included.

   Mr. Williams here rose to order, amid general cries of "adjourn," "order," and much confusion, when Mr. Wood moved the "previous question."

   Col. Snow here called for the reading of the call of the meeting. Objected to. The question, on the original motion, that the report be adopted, was then put and carried--ayes 34, noes 21.

   Mr. Higginson moved that the Convention do adjourn, to meet again at half past three o'clock P.M. He considered that in this meeting the "World's Convention" had disfranchised half the world by excluding the women. Mr. H. subsequently withdrew his motion.

   Mr. Jackson--The gentleman stood up to make a speech, and surely he does not mean to skulk away, and not listen to a reply. (Sensation, and cries of "order.")

   Dr. Humphrey--Mr. Chairman, I consider this day's proceedings altogether both disorderly and disgraceful--I have never witnessed anything like it before.

   Mr. Higginson rose to explain.

   Mr. Jackson begged pardon, as he misunderstood the gentleman. (Confusion, and loud cries of "adjourn.") I move, continued Mr. J., that as the gentleman (Mr. Higginson) has had the floor all the morning, that we adjourn forthwith to Metropolitan Hall, and as there is to be such a scene, we may as well at once have a regular "set-to." (Laughter and applause.)

   The Chairman--Does the gentleman (Mr. Higginson) press his motion to adjourn?

   Mr. Higginson (amid renewed excitement)--Yes.

   The question was then up and lost.

   Dr. Marsh then moved to proceed to take up the regular business.

   The motion prevailed.

   Mr. Dow hereupon moved that the report be adopted, and offered a resolution that the Convention meet in this city on the 6th of September next, and that it continue for four days. A committee of arrangements was then proposed by Mr. D., to consist of one from each State, pending which,

   Mr. Williams, of Mass., moved to strike out the name of Mr. Higginson.

   The Rev. Mr. Duffield, one of the secretaries, was here called upon to offer some remarks. He said he felt particularly unpleasant from the proceedings of the day, and was of opinion that Philadelphia, in the great State of Pennsylvania, would be a far better place to hold the Convention than in New York.

   Mr. Snow opposed--New York was designated in the call.

   The Chairman sustained Mr. Snow.

   Mr. Higginson then requested to have his name stricken from the roll, and hoped that the minority would withdraw and meet at 2 P.M. at Dr. Trall's Institute, No. 15 Laight st., to carry out their duty as Delegates. Rev. J. W. Higginson, Dr. R. T. Trall, Abby K. Foster, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Lydia F. Fowler, Emily Clark, Mary C. Vaughan, E. L. Baldwin and others of the minority then withdrew.
The ladies then demanded their credentials, through Mrs. Lydia F. Fowler. As temperance missionaries, they will unquestionably be sustained in their future movements, as they divided the meeting yesterday with success. A large body of friends accompanied them.

   The Committee appointed to issue the call for a Convention were as follows:
B. D. Peck, Ms.;-Jones, N. H.; Hon. Thomas E. Powers, Vt.; Rev. Mr. McCurdy, Mass; Hon. A. C. Barstow, R. I.; Hon. Reuben H. Walworth, N. Y.;
T. B. Segur, N. J.; E. W. Jackson, Pa.; Jno. W. Evans, Del.; Christian Keener, Md.; Gen. Cocke, Va.; W. C. Knight, Mich; Gen S. F Cary, Ohio; E.
Hannakman, Ind.; Mr. Rucker, Ill.; Rev. Jno. Gridley, Wis.; Rev. A. Bullard, D. D., Mo.; Judge O'Neill, N. C., with power to complete the representation from other States.

   Dr. Townsend then moved that the expenses of the ladies who had been induced to attend on the call of the meeting, be defrayed by the meeting.

   (Cries to Order.) The Doctor stated, as his reason for making the motion, that these women had come, some of them, from the Western part of the State, and other distant places, to attend this meeting, that they had been outraged, as well as deceived by this whole transaction, and that he thought the least thing the Convention could do would be to pay their expenses.

   Col. E. L. Snow, of New York, followed with some remarks pointedly condemning the action of the Convention in expelling women.

   Mr. J. W. Oliver, of New York, begged his friend, Dr. Townsend, to withdraw his motion as not desired by the ladies themselves.

   Dr. Townsend remarked that he had accomplished his purpose, of entering his earnest protest against the outrage which he considered the Convention had committed upon some of the most noble-souled co-workers in this cause in the land.

   A number of speeches followed from Messrs. Hewett, of Mass.; Jackson, Duffield, and Chambers, of Penn.; Oliver and Wood, of New York, and others. These gentlemen all defended the action of the Convention.

   Dr. Hewett quoted from Paul and other Scriptural authorities, which he claimed to be against women speaking in the Church, and in favor of asking her husband at home, &c. He would have nothing to do with the women.

   Rev. Mr. Chambers was particularly severe upon one of the excluded ladies, (Abby Kelly Foster) whose name he declined to give, charging her with outraging the proprieties of her sex, trampling the very Son of God under her blasphemous feet. For his part, he was glad these women were gone; they had thus gotten rid of the scum of the Convention.

   Much confusion prevailed at this stage of the proceeding.

   E. W. Jackson, of Penn., said he had known some of these women for twenty years. They were in the habit of disturbing the Anti-Slavery meetings in the same way, with their stuff and nonsense about "Women's Rights." They had come to this Hall, expressly, to do what they had attempted to-day. But he would inform the gentleman over the way, (Dr. Townsend.) that they had not come to New York to attend this Convention, but other Conventions with which their names would be found associated. He was very severe upon the expelled ladies, and received warm applause from the majority.

   The President of the Convention, (Mr. Barstow of R. I.,) followed in some remarks of equal severity. He referred to "women in breeches" as a disgrace to their sex, &c. He did not know what such women were good for. He believed they were never productive in anything but mischief. (Laughter and cheers.)

   The discussion was here closed by the final withdrawal of Dr. Townsend's motion to pay the expenses of the rejected female delegates.

   A collection to pay the keeper of the hall, and to defray other incidental expenses, was taken up, the President exhorting to liberality, and remarking that any surplus could go into the hands of Dr. Marsh, in aid of the American Temperance Union. The meeting then adjourned sine die.

back to top