Editorial Note: The following account of the Convention's first day was almost certainly written by the editor and publisher of the Spy, John Milton Earle. Sarah Earle, who called the Convention to order, was his wife. The story did not mention his wife's key role. It does provide some information about the size of the crowds seeking to attend and about the newspaper rivalries of the day.
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The Massachusetts Spy, October 30, 1850 (P. 2)
The Convention called "to consider the question of Woman's Rights, Duties, and Relations, assembled at Brinley Hall, Wednesday morning, and was temporarily organized by the appointment of Joseph C. Hathaway, of New York, as Chairman, and Eliza J. Kenney of Salem, as Secretary. A Committee was then appointed on the permanent organization, which retired, and, subsequently, reported the following list of officers:
For President,
PAULINA W. DAVIS, of Providence.
For Vice Presidents,
Wm. H. Channing of New York; Sarah Tyndale, of Pennsylvania
For Secretaries
Hanah M. Darlington, Joseph C. Hathaway, of New York.
The report was accepted and the officers therein named duly appointed.
A vote was then passed, instructing the same committee to nominate a Business Committee, which duty was subsequently performed, and the persons reported were constituted the Business Committee.
On taking the chair, the President read an address, in which the objects which ought to claim the attention of the Convention were set forth, and the means of their accomplishment discussed. The address was elaborate, evincing much and deep reflection, and was written with great clearness and even elegance of style. As a mere literary compostion, it was very creditable to the author.
Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, took the stand, and alluding to some remarks in the address of the President, expressed a fear that they might be considered as not taking a stand sufficiently high and decided, and urged that the whole truth in relation to the disabilities and wrongs under which women suffer, should be plainly, freely, and yet kindly spoken.
When the Business Committee were out, letters were read from Elizur Wright, Editor of the Boston Chronotype, and E.A. Lakins, L.A. Hine, and Elizabeth Wilson, all, we believe of Ohio, expressing severally the interest felt in the objects of the Convention.
In the afternoon, the business committee reported a resolution which opened the whole subject matter, for which the convention was convened, for discussion. Very able speeches were made by several members of the convention, the first of which was read by Abby Price of Hopedale, in this county, and another, extemporaneous, by Mrs. Rose of New York, who we learn, was by birth a Polish Jewess. Both were decidedly good speeches, and no one could listen to them without respect for the talents of the speakers, whatever they might think of the merits of the cause. The latter [the Rose speech] was a strong, compact, and lucid argument delivered in a manner that few practised public speakers can equal. At dusk the convention adjourned till evening.
During the afternoon the Hall was densely crowded, and numbers went away for want of accommodation. An attempt was made to procure the City hall for the evening, but the lamps had been removed for the purpose of putting up gas fixtures.
This body continued its sessions at Brinley Hall Thursday, through the day and evening. The Hall was crowded, even in the morning session, and great interest was manifested in the proceedings throughout. We have known no convention or other public meeting held in this city, where all the exercises were conducted with more decorum or in better spirit, or where the whole of the speaking has been more uniformly able and unobjectionable. We confess ourselves agreeably disappointed in this respect, for we had not looked for such a display of forensic talent as we witnessed in the female speakers especially. We presume that some of the addresses will be published, and we regret that there was not a good phonographic reporter present, for some of the speeches which were the most effect, because entirely impromptus, and called forth by the incidents of the moment, were well worthy of being reported, and no abridged sketch can do justice to them.
We can say no less than this, in justice to the convention, and we are the more ready to say it, as we have seen an exceedingly scurrillous article upon the subject in the Boston Mail. The article is a very poor imitation of Bennett's Herald, exhibiting all the low vulgarity of that print without any of its wit or humor. It is an article which no man with the feelings of a gentleman could have written, and which no paper with any regard to its character with respectable people, would have published. The Boston Journal gives a very fair report of the first days' proceedings. We understand that the Chronotype has done the same, but have not had the opportunity to examine it.