The Boston Daily Mail, Friday, October 25, 1850 (P.1)
(Reported for the Daily Mail.)
Grand Demonstrations of Petticoatdom at Worcester--The "Woman's Rights" Convention in Full Blast--Important and Interesting Report.
Mrs. Abby Kelly Foster could not endure to have the resolution pass unless she had a finger in the pie. She said her life was her best argument in connection with the movement; and as the bottom of it had not been found she would make a dive at it. Every woman was not able to go to the bottom of the well, for they were so enslaved, that they could not attempt the search. She said she appeared not as a woman, but as humanity itself. (Well, humanity has been called a lovely thing but -- that's all on this subject for present.) She continued to deny that girls were trained in schools, academies, churches or senates as human beings, but everything went to foment the sensual and debasing. Brother Channing's filthy speech received a very undeserving compliment. Woman's sphere, was then described to be anything else than the fallen star it is now recognized generally to be -- and no nebulous matter at all, but a fixed planet, where equality of rights, privileges and their exercise in social and political respects shone most conspicuously. This planetary system was claimed as the proper sphere of existence for woman kind. Its relation to the moon was not mentioned. A very excellent physiological lecture followed this definition, mixed up with phrenology, biology, and all the ologies, showing that women were, physically and mentally, the equals of men. In the love of power, rule and general influence she was also his equal, and he was superior to her in nothing but a tyranny which would be a justification for women to rise and cut men's throats. She came not into the meeting to mince words, but to speak plain; and what she had just said was plain enough in all conscience--as plain as--Ahem! Humanity in tights and humanity in flowing clothing were at issue, and force of arms was justifiable, and not unlikely to be arrived at soon. Women had a right to cut the throats of the men of Massachusetts who taxed them without their consent. She said she had the locomotive power in her organization, (and no one could doubt the share the tongue had in the distribution.) She also had the intelligence -- (no one could question that, but the quality was open to dispute.) She had the physical strength too, and that would be used to pull down the barrier between woman and her rights; (no one could doubt of the Amazonian temper and disposition of Abby.) She was perfectly right in saying she did not appear as a woman. There was little of a woman about her and very much of the tigress. Her poor hubby, she described, as a savage in unwhisperables -- which was a consequence of his going to educational institutions, et cetera, and women had as good right to go to such institutions as men -- therefore women had a right to cultivate the savage passions. Honor was paid to women so gifted with a sanguine propensity. Mademoiselle Jagelli was one instance. That women had a right to the Presidency, the fact of Queen Victoria reigning over the British, was alluded to as a noble example of the heaven-born right to wear the breeches, and rule with such rod--iron or cork, as might best please themselves. This about closed Abby's remarks, who was allowed to proceed and sit down without one word of applause.
Mr. C.C. Burley [Burleigh] spoke from behind an abominably arranged mass of whiskers and beard, consequently we could not allow ourselves to listen to him. The trouble the gentleman had in commencing his speech particularly struck us as being funny; but that the misty introduction should constitute soul and substance, Alpha and Omega, of said speech, was a curiosity in oratory that we never heard of only in the cure of a stuck oration -- some of which we have heard -- but never one with such pretence as Grizzly Burley's had. He closed with a lecture on Hydraulics, and a string of common-places regarding the philosophy of something or other that our spectacles could not see through. Very dirty, very diffuse, and very hairy was Grizzly Burley.
By the time Burley had sputtered his foolishness forth it was dark--very dark--as dark as was his arrangement of ideas and a movement at adjournment was made in the shape of a stampede for the door. As the last flicker of sunlight came in at the window and went out at the door, we closed our labors, as we had hoped, for a day; but a meeting was called for the evening, to be held at 7 o'clock. Adjourned.
The Conference was again called to order at half past 7 o'clock, and the business of talking was substituted for the more useful business of stocking darning.
Lucretia Mott desired speakers not to say that they would permit women to do so and so; women would do so and so just as they thought proper themselves, and in accordance with their rights -- all considerations social, civil and ecclesiastical to the contrary notwithstanding -- and this she would do on the foundation of her own just deserts and nothing else. Much more she said, and did not fail to give the priesthood a well merited rebuke because of the obstructions they always had thrown in the way of science, and did at present respecting the science of reforming the condition of woman. Her address was one of much power of argument, and was a fair match for that of Mrs. Rose, spoken in the afternoon. She gave Abby Kelly Foster fits on account of her "cut throat theory," which she said was not a justifiable one. Mrs. Foster was handsomely asked to retract; and people pricked up their ears in anticipation of a scene -- the rebuke was so pointed, and yet so gentle. Mrs. Mott would recommend moral suasion -- an appeal to the moral mind -- as a much more powerful weapon. A carnal weapon could never affect a spiritual deliverance from slavery, such as the emancipation of womankind was in truth. The boldness of Christianity was sufficient to attain the ends sought.
Mr. [sic] Abby Foster rose not to make a speech; but she could not rest easy till she spoke in vindication of women. She was in fault -- so said Mr. Phillips -- and he said the bitterest taunts came from them [women]. So said every slave holder; but what was the reason? Why, women dared not, as the slave dared not say, for fear of the cowhide, in presence of his master, that he was abused. Abby said that Phillips knew nothing about the matter, for her extensive experience had shewn her the contrary; and she actually perpetrated a very long, and a very manly speech, and she gave the priests Harry [slang term for Hell] for the share they had in woman's degradation. If Abby could be believed, the country was in an awful situation because of the horrible persecutions that women had to submit to. Caudledom had riz in internal shape, but weak policy had advised no public demonstration. Woman was wronged even by her advocates -- she said -- and the fact she demonstrated there and then on the spot, in terms of not overly gentle, or specially reasonable, or correctly logically; but everybody knows Abby. She said that there were women present who would sneer at what then was passing before them; but these were children of the present pulpit, not the petticoat one that was on the tapis [ready for immediate use], and would soon be set up. But woman was not to be believed when she sneered thus, for she gave expression to an altogether contrary sentiment to that her heart entertained. Abby sat down.