Worcester Women's History Project

Adin A. Ballou

[Editorial Note: Adin A. Ballou was the adolescent son of Adin Ballou, a founder of the Hopedale utopian community in 1841 and of the Universalist Church whose "Standard of Practical Christianity" he co-authored two years earlier. (See the on-line resources for a link to this text.) His son kept a diary and, when he died while still in his teens, the senior Ballou decided to publish it as a memorial. Adin A. was anything but a typical youth of the period. Spending his childhood in Hopedale guaranteed that. So his defense of the woman's rights cause can hardly be seen as typifying the views of other young men of the period. On the other hand, the attacks on the Worcester Convention by the "ladies" of his boarding house were typical of the views of many women, as several of the speakers at the Convention themselves conceded.]

[P.110] "Saturday, Oct. 26 [1850]. A rainy day; no Shakespeare this evening. Made a failure in Geometry, this morning, before half a dozen Juniors. The lesson was so easy, I thought I understood it. Truly, 'there have been more battles lost by despising an enemy than by inferiority of force.' We are now on review of nearly all our lessons. The hard study for the term is chiefly over; i.e. for those who understood their lessons as they went [p. 111] through them. Mr. Boyden felt sorry for my failure, I am sure; and I heard of his saying that all my difficulty arose from getting confused. That was infinitely better than to think me absolutely ignorant. He is very considerate, and seems inclined to look with a pretty lenient eye on my failures generally. Had some talk this evening with him on Government. I take no pains to conceal my convictions and opinions on any of these points. He could not see why our Hopedale people should not vote in town affairs. He wondered what could be done in quelling an insurrection, without using deadly weapons. All [of] which I answered, after my fashion, and we parted. Had a long talk too, with the ladies at my boarding place, about 'Women's Rights,' occasioned by the recent Woman's Rights Convention at Worcester; they taking the offensive, I the defensive. If I am not thought the rankest hot-head, I am greatly mistaken!" [italics in original]

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