The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

SBA to Lucy Stone

Dear Lucy:

Where are you, and why are you so long silent? We have had a most glorious hearing before our Assembly Committee, the one to whom was referred our Petition for the Just and Equal Rights of Women.[1] All the members, save one, are quite liberally disposed. Mr. Channing and Mrs. Rose were the only members of our committee who could be present at the hearing. Nettie was pre-engaged at Cleveland and Pittsburg that week, and S. J. May engaged in discussing the Trinity question with Rev. Luther Lee.[2] Mrs. Rose made one of her very best arguments. I enclose the written statements as published in the Tribune
After the presentations of the statement to the Senate by Channing, Mrs. R. and Mr. C. made good arguments— as good as they could under the circumstances. The Senate Committee were very frivolous and wanting in common politeness.[3] I read the document presented to the Assembly Committee. Mrs. Rose followed with an hour's close argument. We expected Mr. C. to follow her, but he thought best that the impression made by Mrs. R. should not be marred.
Nettie is to be here to-morrow and give her Bible Argument on the 9th inst. I enclose a notice from the papers,[4] also an editorial that appeared in yesterday's Register from which you can judge the agitation here.[5] The Evening Journal published an extract of Mrs. Rose's Hartford Bible Convention speech, and commented upon it.[6] The Knickerbocker replied, and asked if Mr. Dawson in speaking of the Political career of Thomas Jefferson, would allude to his having been the bosom friend of Thomas Paine. They thought it unjust to apply one rule to men and another to women.— [7] Dawson could find no fault with a word that Mrs. R. uttered here.
I send you an editorial from the Knickerbocker in reply to the Register. Lucy do write me here in care of L. Mott. I shall be here until the middle of next week, when I leave for Washington in company with Mrs. Rose who is going first to speak on the Nebraska Question as deduced from human rights, and then upon Woman's Rights. I go to do the outside work, she being unable to attend to it.
Lucy is not this a wonderful time— and era long to be remembered? How is your health? Are you recovered from your exhaustion? A letter from Nettie says she is better but hoarse yet. Lucy I have let down some of my dresses and am dragging around with long skirts. It is humiliating to my good sense of cleanliness and comfort. In love

S. B. A.

Transcript in hand of I. P. Boyer, Blackwell Papers, DLC.
    [1.] The assembly's select committee, chaired by James L. Angle, met on the afternoon of March 2 to hear arguments in support of the women's petitions for just and equal rights. SBA opened the hearing with an enumeration of twenty specific revisions needed in the laws, and Ernestine Rose spoke to justify the changes. (Albany Argus, 3 March 1854, and New York Daily Tribune, 7 March 1854, Film, 7:1014-24.)
    [2.] Luther Lee (1800-1889), of Syracuse, was a leading Methodist minister and first president of the antislavery Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America. He preached the sermon at Antoinette Brown's ordination in 1853. He and Samuel J. May held public debates for eleven evenings and published their arguments in Discussion on the Doctrine of the Trinity, Between Luther Lee, Wesleyan Minister, and Samuel J. May, Unitarian Minister (1854). (Dictionary of American Biography; National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 25:101-2; Eliot, Heralds of a Liberal Faith, 3:244.)
    [3.] In support of the petitions for equal suffrage, William Channing and Ernestine Rose presented a short statement from the February meeting to the senate's select committee on March 1. The Evening Journal described their appearance "before theSenate Committee of Bachelors"; "The only effect produced was— a determination more fixed than ever, in the minds of the Committee, to remain Bachelors in the event of the success of the movement. And who could blame them?" (Albany Evening Journal, 2 March 1854, and New York Daily Tribune, 7 March 1854.)
    [4.] The Albany Evening Journal, 7 March 1854, announced that Antoinette L. Brown would give her "Bible argument in favor of Woman's equality with Man" at Association Hall on March 9. The event probably fell within the lecture series that SBA arranged.
    [5.] After condemning the "propagandists of women's rights" in "short petticoats and long-legged boots" as "unsexed women, who make a scoff of religion, who repudiate the Bible and blaspheme God," the editorial attacked Ernestine Rose as an immigrant who exploited American liberty by "her efforts to obliterate from the world the religion of the Cross— to banish the Bible as a textbook of faith, and to overturn social institutions that have existed through all political and governmental revolutions from the remotest time." (Albany State Register, 6 March 1854.)
    [6.] The Journal reprinted Rose's argument at the meeting called by abolitionists and spiritualists to discuss the social impact of belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible, held in Hartford, Connecticut, in June 1853. (Albany Evening Journal, 21 February 1854; Liberator, 17 June 1853.)
    [7.] A distinguished journalist and devout Baptist from Scotland, George Dawson (1813-1883) was Thurlow Weed's associate editor at the Journal. Pertinent issues of the Albany Knickerbocker cannot be found. The point is that Thomas Paine (1737-1809), pamphleteer of the American Revolution, was, like Ernestine Rose, a freethinker. (National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 2:204; Howell and Tenney, County of Albany, N.Y., 360-64.)