The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


SBA to Lucy Stone

Dear Lucy:

I rejoice with you that the New York meetings are over, & I rejoice too that they were so good. If the reports are to be relied on, you made two most convincing speeches.[1]
When it rained so, last Monday night, I was at Syracuse, & had all sorts of sorry feelings lest your meeting would be so small as to disinspirit you; & when Sarah Pellet[2] brought me the Tribune on Tuesday p.m., I read the report most eagerly & joyously, I can assure you. Nettie & I had a meeting in Syracuse Tuesday night, the 26th, one in Utica Wednesday the 27th, both good— Mrs. Bloomer not in company.[3] Nettie & I both said over & over again that we felt as happy that Lucy had done s[uch] a glorious work in Metropolitan Hall, as though we ourselves had been the instruments. I am very, very glad you went to New York. Those speeches were not only spoken to the thousands in the Metropolis, but are carried to the remotest parts of this nation, & will in a few days be wafted across the Atlantic & be read by vast numbers of the inhabitants of the old world. Verily, those lectures have been given to the whole civilized world. I know something of the exhaustion you are now suffering, after such intense excitement, & really hope you may be able to take some quiet rest. Nature demands it at your hands. Lucy, do live a long life. There is a vast deal of work for you to do; therefore be prudent, that you may have strength to accomplish it.
I have a letter from Mrs. Fowler.[4] She says you express some doubts about being at our annual meeting.[5] Mrs. Stanton desires me to say to you that she hopes you will not fail to be here. She wants to write you; but oh dear, Lucy, what can she do with five children & two raw Irish girls—  Nettie & I staid all night with her last Thursday night. They got into a discussion on the divorce question. I think the right of divorce can be most clearly proved. Now, Lucy, do come, & if you can manage to stay after our meeting, I will get you up some meetings here that shall be profitable both spiritually & pecuniarily. One thing I want to say is, don't let money hinder you from coming. Trust me that you shall be compensated for your time.
Some of our "Little Fry," as Mrs. Stanton calls them, wish to stave off the divorce question, & we of course are the more anxious to have those present who can discuss it fully & ably. Mr. Channing is with us.[6] I am going to the city to hear him lecture on the Clergy & their influence, this eve.
Tuesday a.m. [3 May] I hope you will attend the Anniversary on the 11th inst., & also the meeting of Temperance Delegates on the 12th, & help us Tem. women claim our right to be represented in the World's Temperance Convention.[7] I expect the brothers will feel very much disturbed at our presence. Surely there is no peace for them until woman's equality is fully recognized.
I shall be at the annual meeting in N. York. If you are there, you can learn my whereabouts at the office of Fowler & Wells, 131 Nassau St.[8]
I do wish I could make you feel how important it is that you be at our Temperance Convention June 1.
I saw your friend Mr. Dewey a few days since. He wished me to say to you that they should be happy to have you come on in time to make them a visit before the meeting— but do come, Lucy. I hope to see you "face to face" in New York, then I can explain matters to you.
We intend to place our society on higher ground, admit all on terms of perfect equality.[9]
I leave home tomorrow or next day, & shall stop a few days in Washington Co. previous to going to N.Y. I look to the Antislavery friends to sustain us in a our claim that woman shall be represented at the World's Convention. Were it not for the hope of their presence, I should shrink from going into that meeting. Your Constitutional Convention comes off the 5th inst.[10] I hope your winter's labors may not have been in vain, but that Mass. will take the lead in granting to woman her equality. Yours truly,

Susan B. Anthony.

Transcript in hand of A. S. Blackwell, Blackwell Papers, DLC. Letters in square brackets were torn at margin.
    [1.] Lucy Stone delivered her lectures, "Woman's Rights" and "The Legal Disabilities of Woman," at Metropolitan Hall on April 25 and 26. (New York Daily Tribune, 25, 26, 27 April 1853.)
    [2.] Sarah Pellet (1824-1898) grew up as a neighbor of Lucy Stone and followed her to Oberlin, where she completed her studies in 1851 and earned her degree in 1858. For several years after college she lived in New York and studied theology. She attended the women's temperance meeting at Seneca Falls in 1852, and joined SBA in campaigns for woman's rights, before going to California in the fall of 1854 to lecture for two years. Later she taught school and worked for a time as a reporter. (Woman's Journal, 28 May 1898; Lasser and Merrill, Friends and Sisters, 26-29, 122, 125, 142.)
    [3.] Brown and SBA held temperance meetings at Utica and Syracuse in late April. There are hints that after weeks of touring together SBA and Bloomer had a falling out. SBA's description of the disagreement is missing, but in response, Stone wrote: "I am sorry that Mrs. Bloomer has treated you so, but it takes everybody 40 years to get out of the wilderness, and we must be patient with those who have much of this pilgrimage yet to make." (L. Stone to SBA, 12 April 1853, and A. L. Brown to SBA, 14 April 1853, Film, 7:589, 591-94; Lasser and Merrill, Friends and Sisters, 130-31.)
    [4.] Lydia Folger Fowler (1822-1879) was a physician and health reformer who, in 1844, married the leading phrenologist, Lorenzo Niles Fowler, and became a part of the family firm, Fowlers and Wells. After several years of lecturing and writing about physiology for women and children, she enrolled in Central Medical College at Syracuse in 1849 and earned her degree in 1850, the second woman in the country to do so, after Elizabeth Blackwell. She became active in the temperance and woman's rights movements, while she built a medical practice in New York City. In 1863 she and her husband moved to England. (Lily, March 1852; Notable American Women.)
    [5.] The Women's New York State Temperance Society's annual meeting was scheduled to begin in Rochester on 1 June.
    [6.] William Henry Channing (1810-1884), of Boston, was a reformer, author, Unitarian clergyman, and a nephew of William Ellery Channing. His pursuit of a suitable and useful career had taken him to New York City, Cincinnati, Brook Farm, and back to Boston. He was elected a vice president of the woman's rights convention at Worcester in 1850, and at the meeting of 1851 he presented a report on woman's social relations. In 1852 Channing accepted a call to preach to the Rochester Unitarian Society, where he stayed until August 1854. He became, in that time, a staunch ally of the region's radical women, assisting in their woman's rights, temperance, and antislavery activities. Channing and his family settled in England from 1854 to 1861 and again after the Civil War. (Dictionary of American Biography; Frothingham, William Henry Channing, 254-76; History, 1:221-46, 509-10.)
    [7.] The American Anti-Slavery Society met on 11 May during anniversary week, and on the next day delegates from temperance societies met to plan a World's Temperance Convention in September. This meeting, which came to be known as "the Brick Church meeting," broke into a shouting match over the right of women to help with the planning. Supporters of the women withdrew to a nearby water-cure to organize "a World's Convention, which shall be true to its name." (Liberator, 27 May 1853, New York Daily Tribune, 16 May 1853, and Lily, 15 June 1853, all in Film, 7:703-9, 714-19.)
    [8.] The business offices of the publishing firm.
    [9.] Advocates of woman's rights criticized the society's requirement that its officers be women. At the woman's rights convention in Syracuse, when SBA called the society "an offspring of this movement." Catharine Stebbins disagreed. A society that "excluded men from becoming officers, or controlling the funds" was "not in accordance with the principles of this Convention." At the society's annual meeting in 1853, ECS called the requirement a temporary expedient, designed to awaken women to their responsibility. It had worked, she told the members; women had "learned how to stand and walk alone." But the majority of members disagreed that it met only a temporary need, defeated an amendment to the society's constitution that would open the leadership to men, and replaced ECS as president. (Proceedings of Woman's Rights Convention, 1852, 77-78; Lasser and Merrill, Friends and Sisters, 113-19; Lily, June 1853.)
    [10.] Stone lectured and circulated petitions for woman's rights in Massachusetts in advance of the constitutional convention that met from 4 May through 1 August 1853. (History, 1:247-54.)