Worcester Women's History Project

Call

A CONVENTION

Will be held at Worcester, Mass., on the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of October next, (agreeably to appointment by a preliminary meeting held at Boston, on the thirtieth of May last,) to consider the great question of Woman's Rights, Duties, and Relations; and the Men and Women of our country who feel sufficient interest in the subject, to give an earnest thought and effective effort to its rightful adjustment, are invited to meet each other in free conference, at the time and place appointed.

The upward tending spirit of the age, busy in a hundred forms of effort for the world's redemption from the sins and sufferings which oppress it, has brought this one, which yields to none in importance and urgency, into distinguished prominence. One half of the race are its immediate objects, and the other half are as deeply involved, by that absolute unity of interest and destiny which nature has established between them.

The neighbor is near enough to involve every human being in a general equality of rights and community of interests; but, Men and Women, in their reciprocities of love and duty are one flesh and one blood -- mother, wife, sister, and daughter come so near the heart and mind of every man that they must be either his blessing or his bane. Where there is such mutuality of interests, such an interlinking of life, there can be no real antagonism of position and action. The sexes should not, for any reason or by any chance, take hostile attitudes towards each other, either in the apprehension or amendment of the wrongs which exist in their necessary relations; but they should harmonize in opinion and co-operate in effort, for the reason that they must unite in the ultimate achievement of the desired reformation.

Of the many points now under discussion and demanding a just settlement, the general question of Woman's Rights and Relations comprehends these: Her Education, Literary, Scientific , and Artistic; Her Avocations, Industrial, Commercial , and Professional; Her Interests, Pecuniary, Civil, and Political; in a word Her Rights as an Individual, and her Functions as a Citizen.

No one will pretend that all these interests, embracing, as they do, all that is not merely animal in a human life, are rightly understood or justly provided for in the existing social order. Nor is it any more true that the constitutional differences of the sexes, which should determine, define, and limit the resulting differences of office and duty, are adequately comprehended and practically observed.

Woman has been condemned for her greater delicacy of physical organization to inferiority of intellectual and moral culture, and to the forfeiture of great social, civil, and religious privileges. In the relation of marriage she has been ideally annihilated, and actually enslaved in all that concerns her personal and pecuniary rights; and even in widowhood and single life, she is oppressed with such limitation and degradation of labor and avocation as clearly and cruelly mark the condition of a disabled caste. But, by the inspiration of the Almighty, the beneficent spirit of reform is roused to the redress of these wrongs. The tyranny which degrades and crushes wives and mothers, sits no longer lightly on the world's conscience; the heart's home-worship feels the stain of stooping at a dishonored altar; Manhood begins to feel the shame of muddying the springs from which it draws its highest life; and Womanhood is everywhere awakening to assert its divinely chartered rights, and to fulfil its noblest duties. It is the spirit of reviving truth and righteousness which has moved upon the great deep of the public heart and aroused its redressing justice; and, through it, the Providence of God is vindicating the order and appointments of his creation.

The signs are encouraging; the time is opportune. Come, then, to this Convention. It is your duty, if you are worthy of your age and country. Give the help of your best thought to separate the light from the darkness. Wisely give the protection of your name and the benefit of your efforts to the great work of settling the principles, devising the method, and achieving the success of this high and holy movement.


[Editorial Note: 89 individuals signed the Call, according to Harriet H. Robinson, Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement, 2nd ed., Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883, Appendix D. They were:
Massachusetts: Lucy Stone, William H. Channing, Harriet K. Hunt, A. Bronson Alcott, Nathaniel Barney, Eliza Barney, Wendell Phillips, Ann Greene Phillips, Adin Ballou, Anna Q.T. Parsons, Mary H.L. Cabot, B.S. Treanor, Mary M. Brooks, T.W. Higginson, Mary E. Higginson, Emily Winslow, R. Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, Charles F. Hovey, Sarah Earle, Abby Kelley Foster, Dr. Seth Rogers, Eliza F. Taft, Dr. A.C, Taft, Charles K. Whipple, Mary Bullard, Emma C. Goodwin, Abby H. Price, Thankful Southwick, Eliza J. Kenney, Louisa M. Sewall, Sarah Southwick.

Rhode Island: Sarah H. Whitman, Thomas Davis, Paulina Wright Davis, Joseph A. Barker, Sarah Brown, Elzabeth B. Chace, Mary Clarke, John L. Clarke, George Clarke, Mary Adams, George Adams.

New York: Gerrit Smith, Nancy Smith, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Catharine Wilkinson, Samuel J. May, Charlotte C. May, Charlotte G. Coffin, Mary G. Taber, Elizabeth S. Miller, Elizabeth Russell, Stephen S. Smith, Rosa Smith, Joseph Savage, L.N. Fowler, Lydia Fowler, Sarah Smith, Charles D. Miller.

Pennsylvania: William Elder, Sarah Elder, Sarah Tyndale, Warner Justice, Jane G. Swisshelm, Charlotte Darlington, Simon Barnard, Lucretia Mott, Myra Townsend, Mary Grew, Sarah Lewis, Sarah Pugh, Huldah Justice, William Swisshelm, James Mott, W.S. Pierce, Hannah Darlington, Sarah D. Bernard.

Maryland: Eliza Stewart.

Ohio: Elizabeth Wilson, Mary A. Johnson, Oliver Johnson, Mary Cowles, Maria L. Giddings, Jane Elizabeth Jones, Benjamin S. Jones, Lucius A. Hine, Sylvia Cornell.]


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