And a series, by Wendell Phillips, declaratory of woman's rights to representation, and all other political and social rights of the masculine gender.
The Convention met, pursuant to adjournment, at half-past nine this morning. Present--Generalisimo [sic] Lucretia Mott, Abby Kelly, [William Lloyd] Garrison, [Wendell] Phillips and company, looking as solemn and important as a court martial.
The leading orator to-day, was Mrs. [Harriet K.] Hunt, of Boston--a regular brick. She spoke chiefly upon the superior capacity of woman for the study and practice of medicine; probably from the fact that every old woman in the country is a quack doctor, and always ready, with her all healing nostrums of sage tea, yarbs, salves, and lotions. And she was also of the opinion, (from the tenor of her argument) that woman was adapted in a superior degree to wrangle with lawyers--to delve into matters of science--and to conduct the affairs of legislation in the most splendid style. In regard to science, she sustained the argument of sister [Ernestine] Rose, yesterday, in which the scientific capacity of woman was proved from the fact, that a young lady had discovered a comet, with the aid of a telescope.
After which, various letters were read from sympathizers who had wisely resolved to stay at home, and throw the burden of the expenses of this convocation upon those enthusiastic disciples, possessed of more money than brains.
Mrs. Ball, of Worcester, next rose in vindication of a proper compensation for the labors and employments of women, and in the course of her argument, she pounced upon Mr. Charles C. Burleigh, for some distinctions which he made yesterday in reference to the pay and the employment of the two sexes. In discussing this subject Mrs. Ball applied the broomstick with great vigor against the despotism of man, in his extortions upon the labor of woman. Master Burleigh attempted a defence; but, to the infinite satisfaction of Mrs. Mott, he was compelled to surrender, amid the applause and laughter of the assemblage.
Mrs. Johnson [M.A.W. Johnson?], of [Salem?] Ohio--Notwithstanding the prevailing odor of infidelity in the Convention, a sentiment of skepticism so strong, that, with several reverend gentlemen present, and a host of venerable ladies ambitious of elevating their sex to the cabinet and the camp, the usual form of opening their proceedings with prayer was dispensed with--notwithstanding this prevailing odor of infidelity, the lady from Ohio argued from Scripture the equality of woman with man, in all the rights and privileges which he socially enjoys.
The meeting then took a recess till two o'clock, when
Dr. [William Andrus] Alcott, of Mass., proceeded to bring in the aid of medical science to the vindication of the sex. Her physical training, under the present state of society, enfeebled all her energies. With the same unrestricted privileges of exercise, and with the same enjoyments of mental education as man, her mind and body would be brought to its proper vigorous, beautiful, and healthy organization. The doctor's argument, altogether, was the most rational of the whole concern, and was only irrational and ridiculous in being mixed up with the rant, cant, and rubbish of socialism and infidelity of this lunatic asylum.
Mrs. Mott, the great Ajax of the sisterhood, with her wiry, nervous organization, and a head as hard as iron and as true as steel, followed on the same theme, exhibiting a wonderful power of philosophy in respect to the causes of the feebleness of woman, physically and mentally. Of course, this feebleness was only attributable to the despotism of man, which debases woman beyond all endurance.
Mrs. Sojourner Truth, (a lady of color, doubtless of New England origin, from the Puritanical title she has the honor to bear) next came forward. And why not? In a convention where sex and color are mingled together in the common rights of humanity, Dinah, and [Charles C.] Burleigh, and Lucretia [Mott], and Frederick Douglas, are all spiritually of one color and one sex, and all on a perfect footing of reciprocity. Most assuredly, Dinah was well posted up on the rights of woman, and with something of the ardor and the odor of her native Africa, she contended for her right to vote, to hold office, to practice medicine and the law, and to wear the breeches with the best white man that walks upon God's earth.
After this windfall, the Convention took another recess, (the women must have their tea) and met again in the evening, and wound up the affairs of the Convention by adopting the resolution of Mr. Channing, that they would not cease their efforts to secure for woman her political, legal and social equality with man. The organization of the society continues in full force, and the agitation is to be prosecuted till it succeeds or fizzles out.
This motley organization is one of the rank excesses of our redundant and abounding happiness. Our country and our institutions are like an overteeming fertile soil--base weeds and noxious garbage grow up with its delicious fruits, and poison the otherwise healthy and vigorous atmosphere. It is for public opinion to root them out before they run to seed.
In defining the character of this Convention, it would be invidious to discriminate between knavery and sincere fanaticism. We are satisfied that there were amiable women among the delegates under the absurd delusion that the millennium can only be brought about by their assuming the breeches, and the control of the political caucuses, the polls, the militia musters, the fire companies, and Congress and the White House. But there was a remarkable omission in all their proceedings. Not a baby, among all the three or four hundred women present, was seen--not a whisper, or an insinuation, that babies are necessary to the preservation of society, did we hear. That important branch of the subject was dodged entirely. And till some practical substitutes for the laws of the Creator are proposed, the Woman's Rights Convention is destined to stumble over the cradle.
It is due to the Convention to say, that its proceedings were conducted with order; and that horrible, fanatical, absurd, and infidel as were their doctrines, they were open to all the world, and that outsiders, if so disposed, were at perfect liberty to answer them on the spot. On the other hand, such monstrous sentiments, not an individual present, apart from the Convention, seemed to consider entitled to any other considerations than those of pity and disgust.