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[Senate Report No. 686. Forty-seventh ('ongress, first session.)

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

JUNE 5, 1882.-Ordered to be printed.

Mr. Lapham, from the Committee on Woman Suffrage, submitted the following report (to accompany S. Res. 60):

The Select Committee on Woman Suffrage, to whom was referred Senate resolution No. 60, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to secure the right of suffrage to all citizens without regard to sex, having considered the same, respectfully report:

'The gravity and importance of the proposed amendment must be obvious to all who have given the subject the consideration it demands.

A very brief history of the origin of this movement in the United States and of the progress made in the cause of female suffrage will not be out of place at this time.

A World's Anti-Slavery Convention was held in London on the 12th of June, 1810, to which delegates from all the organized societies were invited. Several of the American societies sent women as delegates. Their credentials were presented, and an able and exhaustive discussion was had by many of the leading men of America and Great Britain upon the question of their being admitted to seats in the convention. They were allowed no part in the discussion. They were denied seats as delegates; and, by reason of that denial, it was determined to hold conventions after their return to the United States, for the purpose of asserting and advocating their rights as citizens, and especially the right of suffrage.

Prior to this, and as early as the year 1836, a proposal had been made in the Legislature of the State of New York to confer upon married women their separate rights of property. The subject was under consideration and agitation during the eventful period which preceded the constitutional convention of New York in the year 1816, and the radical changes made in the fundamental law in that year. In 1848 the first act" for the more effectual protection of the property of married women was passed by the Legislature of New York and became a law. It passed by a vote of 93 to 9 in the assembly and 23 to 1 in the senate. It was subsequently amended so as to authorize women to engage in business on their own account and to receive their own earnings.

This legislation was the outgrowth of a bill prepared several years before under the direction of the Hon. John Savage, chief justice of the supreme court, and of the Hon. John C. Spencer, one of the ablest lawyers in the State, one of the revisers of the statutes of New York, and afterwards a Cabinet officer.

Laws granting separate righis of property, and the right to transact business similar to those adopted in New York, have been enacted IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,

January 22, 1913. Ordered, That Senate Report Numbered Six hundred and eightysix, and part two of said report (Forty-seventh Congress, first session); Senate Report Numbered Three hundred and ninety-nine, and part two of said report (Forty-eighth Congress, first session); House of Representatives Report Numbered One thousand three hundred and thirty (Forty-eighth Congress, first session); Senate Report Numbered One thousand one hundred and forty-three, and views of minority (Fifty-second Congress, second session); and “Hearings before a Joint Committee of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Woman Suffrage of the Senate on Woman Suffrage,'" be printed as a Senate document. Attest:

CHARLES G. BENNETT,

Secretary.

2

[ Senate Report No. 686. Forty-seventh ('ongress, first session. )

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

JUNE 5, 1882.--Ordered to be printed.

Mr. Lapham, from the Committee on Woman Suffrage, submitted the following report (to accompany S. Res. 60):

The Select Committee on Woman Suffrage, to whom was referred Senate resolution No. 60, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to secure the right of suffrage to all citizens without regard to sex, having considered the same, respectfully report:

The gravity and importance of the proposed amendment must be obvious to all who have given the subject the consideration it demands.

A very brief history of the origin of this movement in the United States and of the progress made in the cause of female suffrage will not be out of place at this time.

A World's Anti-Slavery Convention was held in London on the 12th of June, 1810, to which delegates from all the organized societies were invited. Several of the American societies sent women as delegates. Their credentials were presented, and an able and exhaustive discussion was had by many of the leading men of America and Great Britain upon the question of their being admitted to seats in the convention. They were allowed no part in the discussion. They were denied seats as delegates; and, by reason of that denial, it was determined to hold conventions after their return to the United States, for the purpose of asserting and advocating their rights as citizens, and especially the right of suffrage.

Prior to this, and as early as the year 1836, a proposal had been made in the Legislature of the State of New York to confer upon married women their separate rights of property. The subject was under consideration and agitation during the eventful period which preceded the constitutional convention of New York in the year 1816, and the radical changes made in the fundamental law in that year. In 1848 the first act" for the more effectual protection of the property of married women” was passed by the Legislature of New York and became a law. It passed by a vote of 93 to 9 in the assembly and 23 to 1 in the senate. It was subsequently amended so as to authorize women to engage in business on their own account and to receive their own earnings.

This legislation was the outgrowth of a bill prepared several years before under the direction of the Hon. John Savage, chief justice of the supreme court, and of the Hon. John C. Spencer, one of the ablest lawyers in the State, one of the revisers of the statutes of New York, and afterwards a Cabinet officer.

Laws granting separate rights of property, and the right to transact business similar to those adopted in New York, have been enacted in many, if not in most, of the States, and may now be regarded as the settled policy of American legislation on the subject.

After the enactment of the first law in New York, as before stated, and in the month of July, 1848, the first convention demanding suffrage for women was held at Seneca Falls in said State. The same persons who had been excluded from the World's Convention in London were prominent and instrumental in calling the meeting and in framuing the declaration of sentiments adopted by it, which, after reciting the unjust limitations and wrongs to which women are subjected, closed in these words:

Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half of the people of this country and their social and religious degredation; in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the pen in our behalf. We hope this convention will be followed by a series of conventions embracing every part of the country.

The meeting also adopted a series of resolutions, one of which was in the following words:

Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.

This declaration was signed by 70 of the women of western New York, among whom was one or more of those who addressed your committee on the subject of the pending amendment, and there were present participating in and approving of the movement a large number of prominent men, among whom were Elisha Foot, a lawyer of distinction, and since that time Commissioner of Patents, and the Hon. Jacob Chamberlain, who afterwards represented his district in the other house.

From the movement thus inaugurated conventions have been held from that time to the present in the principal villages, cities, and capitals of the various States, as well as the Capital of the Nation.

The first national convention upon the subject was held at Worcester, Mass., in October, 1850, and had the support and encouragement of many leading men of the Republic, among whom we name the following: Gerritt Smith, Joshua R. Giddings, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John G. Whittier, A. Bronson Alcott, Samuel J. May, Theodore Parker, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Elizur Wright, William J. Elder, Stephen S. Foster, Horace Greeley, Oliver Johnson, Henry Ward Beecher, Horace Mann.

The fourth national convention was held at the city of Cleveland, in Ohio, in October, 1853. The Rev. Asa Mahan, president of Oberlin College, and Hon. Joshua R. Giddings were there. Horace Greeley and William Henry Channing addressed letters to the convention. The letter of Mr. Channing stated the proposition to be that the

Right of suffrage be granted to the people universally, without distinction of sex, and that the age for attaining legal and political majority be made the same for women as for men.

In 1857 Hon. Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, then governor of Ohio, recommended to the legislature a constitutional amendment on the subject, and a select committee of the senate made an elaborate report, concluding with a resolution in the following words:

Resolved, That the judiciary committee be instructed to report to the senate a bill to submit to the qualified electors, at the next general election for senators and representatives, an amendment to the constitution, whereby the elective franchise shall be extended to the citizens of Ohio without distinction of sex.

During the same year a similar report was made in the Legislature of Wisconsin. From the report on that subject we quote the following:

We believe that political equality will, by leading the thoughts and purposes of the sexes to a just degree into the same channel, more completely carry out the designs of nature. Woman will be possessed of a positive power, and hollow compliments will be exchanged for well-grounded respect, when we see her nobly discharging her part in the great intellectual and moral struggle of the age that wait their solution by a direct appeal to the ballot box. Woman's power is at present poetical and unsubstantial; let it be practical and real. There is no reality in any power that can not be coined into votes.

The effect of these discussions and efforts has been the gradual advancement of public sentiment toward conceding the right of suffrage without distinction of six. In the Territories of Wyoming and Utah, full suffrage has already been given. In regard to the exercise of the right in the Territory of Wyoming, the present governor of that Territory (Hon. John W. Hoyt), in an address delivered in Philadelphia, on the 3d of April, of the present year, in answer to a question as to the operation of the law, said:

First of all, the experience of Wyoming has shown that the only actual trial of woman suffrage hitherto made a trial made in a new country where the conditions would not happen to have been exceptionally favorable-has produced none but the most desirable results. And surely none will deny that in such a matter a single ounce of experience is worth a ton of conjecture.

But since it may be claimed that the sole experiment of Wyoming does not afford a sufficient guaranty of general expediency, let us see whether reason will not furnish a like answer. The great majority of women in this country already possess sufficient intelligence to enable them to vote judiciously on nearly all questions of a local nature. I think this will be conceded. Secondly, with their superior quickness of perception, it is fair to assume that when stimulated by a demand for a knowledge of political principles—such a demand as a sense of the responsibility of the voter would create--they would not be slow in rising to at least the rather low level at present occupied by the average masculine voter. So that, viewing the subject from an intellectual standpoint merely, such fears as at first spring up drop away, one by one, and disappear.

But it must not be forgotten that a very large proportion of questions to be settled by the ballot, both those of principle and such as refer to candidates, have in them a moral element which is vital. And here we are safer with the ballot in the hands of woman; for her keener insight and truer moral sense will more certainly guide her aright--and not her alone, but also, by reflex action, all whose minds are open to the influence of her example. The weight of this answer can hardly be overestimated. In my judgment, this moral consideration far more than offsets all the objections that can be based on any assumed lack of an intellectual appreciation of the few questions almost wholly commercial and economical.

Last of all, a majority of questions to be voted on touch the interests of woman as they do those of man. It is upon her finer sensibilities, her purer instincts, and her maternal nature that the results of immorality and vice in every form fall with more crushing weight.

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