The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


From the Diary of SBA [early November 1853][1]

During the three weeks following the National Woman's Rights Convention held at Cleveland, Oct. 5, 6 & 7th 1853,[2] I travelled through the Southern tier of Counties in N.Y. State, & held meetings in some eight or ten different villages. I talked upon the subject of Temperance.
One year previous to this Miss Emily Clark of LeRoy N.Y. had passed over the same ground, Lecturing upon the same subject, & had aided the Ladies of several of the villages in forming Womens Temperance Societies. In every place, except Elmira, those societies had never existed after the evening of their beginning. The reason given, by very nearly all the ladies with whom I conversed, for the failure of their societies, was womans want of time & money to meet their demands. Their Temperance meetings could be made interesting & useful to their members, or others, unless only by securing the attendance of persons who could speak to the edification of the People. Those of their own number who possessed ability to prepare essays, found they had not the command of the leisure hours necessary for their preparation. And to secure the attendance of speakers & Lecturers from abroad, required money & money they possessed not—  Thus as I passed from town to town was I made to feel the great evil of womans entire dependency upon man, for the necessary means to aid on any & every reform movement. Though I had long admitted the wrongs I never, until this time, so fully took in the grand idea of pecuniary & personal independence
It matters not how overflowing with benevolence toward suffering humanity maybe the heart of woman, it avails nothing so long as she possesses not the power to act in accordance with those prompting. Woman must have a purse of her own, & how can this be, so long as the wife is denied the right to her individual & joint earnings. Reflections like these, caused me to see & really feel that there was no true freedom for woman without the possession of all her property rights, & that these rights could be obtained through legislation only, & if so, the sooner the demand was made of the Legislature, the sooner would we be likely to obtain them—  This demand must be made by Petitions to the Legislature, & that too at its very next session—  How could the work be started, why, by first holding a Convention & adopting some plan of united action.
On my return to Rochester on the a.m. of Nov. 8th I dined at W. R. Hallowell's & then went directly to Mr. Channing, told of the work I had planned, he answered Capital, Capital, & forth[3]
Bound volume, SBA Papers, MCR-S.
    [1.] In the notebook that served as her diary in 1854 and her copybook thereafter, SBA wrote this incomplete statement about the end of her temperance work. Either she intended to explain the new work she launched with the state woman's rights convention in November and later detailed in the same book, or she drafted a speech. A summary of her remarks at the convention on 30 November 1853 covers the same ground. (Frederick Douglass' Paper, 16 December 1853, Film, 7:844ff.)
    [2.] With Antoinette Brown, Sarah Anthony Burtis, and William Lloyd Garrison for companions, SBA left Rochester on 4 October 1853 to attend the national convention. (Garrison, Letters, 4:258-61)
    [3.] The text ends here, at the bottom of a page.