The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


Dear Susan,

I will gladly do all in my power to aid you. Work down this way, then you come & stay with me, & Miss Clarke with Mrs Bloomer & I will assist you in getting up such a lecture as you desire. We will get up a meeting here & do what we can to advance the interests of the society. I think that you & Mrs Hallowell[2] & I have as good a right to infuse what we choose of the radical principle into the proceedings of the society, as the miserable time serving conservatives have to infuse their principles of policy & expediency. I think that address of Mrs V. is altogether too small,[3] too mamdy pamdy[4] to go forth from any society claiming the view we as a society do. Let the thing drop. I will address the women of the state as an individual, in due time, but this is between us. I am not astonished at what you write me of Mrs Gould.[5] The church is the great engine of oppression in our day, & you will always find church members truckling & politic. If my address would serve you as a kind of skeleton for a lecture I will send it to you & you can fill out the heads, more fully.[6] I am hoping to hear a good account of Miss Clarke, I have no doubt a little practice will make you an admirable lecturer. I will go to work at once & write you the best lecture I can. Dress loose, take a great deal of exercise & be particular about your diet, & sleep enough, the body has great effect upon the mind. In your meetings if attacked be good-natured & cool, for if you are simple & truth loving no sophistry can confound you.
Try & get subscribers for the Lily wherever you go, & make Mrs B. pay you something for your trouble. I will talk to her about you as an agent for the Lily, she needs an agent & you see you could easily attend to that in your meetings. I have a book just adapted to your wants a prize essay on Temperance going over the whole ground, which I will send you if you tell me where, or keep it until you come. I send you the report of the Temperance anniversary, read it closely & you will see that many are already prepared to carry this question into the churches. You will see in Clarke of Boston & Brainard of Philadelphia, the idea hinted at.[7] Shall our society lead or follow public sentiment,—I say lead. Have [sideways in margin] you read Emerson's speech to Kossuth?— read it & note what h[e] says of majorities.—[8]  good night


ALS, Papers of ECS, NPV. Letter in brackets torn from margin. Paragraphs rearranged and combined with others to create text dated 2 April 1852 in Stanton, 2:38-42, Film, 7:189.
    [1.] Written after SBA became an agent of the temperance society, this letter no doubt responds to a description of her tour and falls after May 25. In Film, it appears after May 23.
    [2.] Mary H. Post Hallowell (1823-1913) served on the executive committee of the temperance society. The stepdaughter of Amy Post, Mary married William R. Hallowell (1816-1882), a Quaker businessman from Philadelphia, and they stayed in Rochester. In 1848 she accompanied Post to the first woman's rights convention in Seneca Falls and signed the Declaration of Sentiments. Like other members of her family, Mary Hallowell found her abolitionism and her commitment to woman's rights in conflict with the Genesee Yearly Meeting. She and William left the Society of Friends and joined Rochester's Unitarian church. For the rest of their lives, they remained local reformers. (Quaker Genealogy, 3:434; Peck, History of Rochester and Monroe County, 2:1243-44; Hewitt, Women's Activism and Social Change, 131, 162, 209, 214; research by Judith Wellman.)
    [3.] ECS refers to the speech Mrs. Mary C. Vaughan of Oswego delivered at the Rochester temperance convention, urging women to use their "moral power." Vaughan presided at the meeting of temperance women in Albany in January 1852 and was the first agent appointed by the women's temperance society in May. Though illness forced her to resign in June, she returned to the field in December 1852 and won election as president of the society at its first annual meeting in June 1853. A firm believer in restricting the leadership to women, she defeated ECS for the post. This Mary Vaughan is probably the same woman who became known as a writer, working with Anne McDowell on the Woman's Advocate, published in Philadelphia, and coauthoring Woman's Work in the Civil War (1867) with Linus P. Brockett. (Lily, May 1852, 15 June 1853, Film, 7:195ff, 714ff; Notable American Women, s.v. "McDowell, Anne.")
    [4.] ECS misspeaks. "Namby pamby," a nickname given to poet Ambrose Phillips (1671-1749), came to mean insubstantial or insipid.
    [5.] Sarah Thomas Seward Gould (?-1875), of Rochester, served on the executive committee of the temperance society. After studying at the Troy Female Seminary, she moved to Rochester in 1834 to open her own school for girls, Seward Seminary. When she married businessman and one-term mayor Jacob Gould in 1842, she left the seminary but retained her interest in education. With Gould's financial support she tried to open a women's college in 1852 and affiliate it with the University of Rochester. (Troy Female Seminary; McKelvey, Rochester: The Water-Power City, 269-71, 345; McKelvey, "Rochester Mayors," 4-5.)
    [6.] Probably her opening remarks at Rochester, which included actions that "will tell directly on" the cause. These were: that women separate themselves from drunkards, petition the legislature to gain custody of children, eliminate liquor from their households, agitate and educate, promote temperance in all things, honor labor in order to counter idleness and vice, and divert their donations away from foreign missions to projects meeting the needs of poor neighbors. SBA's address on June 17 shows signs of ECS's outline and examples (Lily, May 1852, also in History, 1:481-83; Carson League, 24 June 1852, Film, 7:269.)
    [7.] At the anniversary of the American Temperance Union, in New York City on 13 May 1852, Rufus W. Clarke decried a clergy who preached against sins of the past but not against sins of the present. They dared not tell their congregations, "Thou art the man." Thomas Brainerd defended the clergy's role in campaigns for the Maine law . It was their job to direct the people in their moral duties, even at the ballot box. (Journal of the American Temperance Union, 1 June 1852.)
    [8.] Transcendentalist philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) welcomed the exiled Hungarian leader, Louis Kossuth (1802-1894) to Concord, Massachusetts, on 11 May 1852 and cautioned him about growing popular. Since his arrival in the United States in December 1851, Kossuth's appeal for American support of a Hungarian republic had sparked intense political debate. Advocates of American intervention in Europe took up his cause, but abolitionists, who had championed Kossuth and the Hungarian uprising of 1848 as emblems of universal liberty, turned against him when he vowed to remain neutral about American slavery. In New England Kossuth was concluding his tour to great acclaim on, what Emerson called, "the pilgrimage of American liberty." After acknowledging the controversy that Kossuth had generated, Emerson said: "We are afraid you are growing popular, sir; you may be called to the dangers of prosperity. But hitherto you have had, in all countries and in all parties, only the men of heart. I do not know but you will have the million yet. Then, may your strength be equal to your day! But remember, sir, that everything great and excellent in the world is in minorities." (Kossuth, Kossuth in New England, 222-24.)