The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

SBA to Lucy Stone

My Dear Lucy

I hope you are better, yes quite well. We were indeed very sorry that you could not be at our temperance Convention. The meetings passed off well considering the material we had, Samuel J. May, Lucy Stone & C. I. H. Nichols[1] all were absent, Antoinette L. Brown was our stay. Miss Clark, Bloomer Vaughan & Albro, were the speakers, no man of any celebrity indentified himself with us. I made no speech, was the Financier—took by means of collections & memberships $90. Antoinettes address in the Capitol was a grand one, the friends felt that she outdid herself even. If we could only have had Lucy's speech in the Church Friday evening.[2] Your letters to L. Mott[3] & self did not come until the a.m. of the 22d— We hoped until the last moment. I enclose Mrs. Stanton's Appeal, the paragraph on Divorce[4] is calling down the condemnation of our pious presses, Political papers, who have nothing to say against divorcing such as Cassey & Archy— Uncle Tom & Aunt Chloe,[5] but horrified at the idea of allowing the wife of a bloated drunkard, to be released.[6] Antoinette & I are going to New York & the intermediate cities next week—   A. will tell you what a plan we now have on foot— [7]  Yours Truly in haste 

Susan B. Anthony

ALS, Blackwell Papers, DLC. Antoinette L. Brown to L. Stone on same sheet.
    [1.] Clarina Irene Howard Nichols (1810-1885) was an early advocate of married women's legal rights and a pioneer in journalism. Raised in Vermont, she spent her early married life in Herkimer, New York, where she ran a seminary while raising three children. About 1839 she left her first husband, returned to Vermont, and began to write for the Windham County Democrat in Brattleboro. Divorced in 1843, she married George W. Nichols, publisher of the Democrat, and bore one more child. She spoke about the need for legal reform at the First National Woman's Rights Convention and became a temperance lecturer. In 1854 she settled in Kansas and was a leader of the territory's woman's rights movement. (Notable American Women; "Reminiscences by Clarina I. Howard Nichols," in History, 1:171-200; Gambone, "The Forgotten Feminist of Kansas.")
    [2.] The women convened at Albany's State Street Baptist Church on 21 January, at the end of a week of temperance meetings in the city. While a crowd at the church considered resolutions, Amelia Bloomer and Emily Clark delivered petitions with 28,000 names to the assembly and spoke briefly. In the evening, Attilia Albro and Bloomer conducted a meeting at the church, and SBA and Antoinette Brown went to the Assembly Chamber. There, "the cloak room, the lobbies and the galleries were at an early hour packed with a solid mass of human beings, and many were outside in the halls, unable to crowd inside the doors" to hear Brown's two-hour address. SBA read ECS's appeal, goading legislators who "hug the delusion" that they represent women, to "at least permit us, from time to time, to tell you of our wants and needs." (Lily, 1 February 1853, Albany Evening Journal, 21 January 1853, Carson League, 27 January 1853, and New York Daily Tribune, 24 January 1853, all in Film, 7:507-15.)
    [3.] That is, Lydia Mott.
    [4.] It read in part: "Suppose we have the Maine Law to-day— you have then disposed of all intoxicating drinks: but you have, still, the animal natures— the morbid appetites for stimulants and excitement entailed on generation after generation, which will work themselves out in some direction. But, back up the Maine Law by the more important one on Divorce, and you make a permanent reform, in so regulating your laws on marriage, that the pure and noble of our sex may be sustained by the power of Government in dissolving all union with gross and vicious natures." (New York Daily Tribune, 24 January 1853, Film, 7:513-14.)
    [5.] A reference to the forced separation of slaves in two novels. Cassy and Archy are the principal characters in The Slave: or, Memoirs of Archy Moore, by Richard Hildreth, published in 1838. Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe appear in Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), published in March 1852.
    [6.] In 1852, a select committee of the assembly advocated liberalizing New York's divorce laws but could not agree on a rule about divorce for drunkenness that would not be "liable to wanton abuse." Instead it proposed to increase the court's discretion in granting divorce in "cases of peculiar hardship and inconvenience wherein a divorce is manifestly proper"; its aim was to "embrace every proper case of gross and confirmed habitual drunkenness." This bill and a similar one introduced into the assembly on 26 January 1853 both died. ("Report of the Committee on the Judiciary, on the Subject of Divorce," New York Assembly Documents, 2 March 1852, No. 73; Journal of the New York Assembly, 26 January, 2 March 1852, pp. 127, 390, and 26 January, 1 March 1853, pp. 157, 398.)
    [7.] The plan was Lydia Mott's, to hold a woman's rights convention at Albany. In her addition to this letter, Antoinette Brown also explained her intention "to speak a few times with Miss Anthony on the Maine Law. She is a driving business woman." The time stretched into weeks. Joined on the first leg of their tour [Map] by Amelia Bloomer, they held meetings in New York City, worked their way northward through Poughkeepsie, Hudson, and Troy, and headed west to Utica and home. After a short break in mid-March, they lectured in Rochester, Lockport, and Buffalo at the end of the month. (History, 1:490-91; Bloomer, Amelia Bloomer, 98-113; and Film, 7:525-59, 565-67, 573-87.)