The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

Lucy Stone to SBA

Dear Susan

Yours of the 28th ult came duly—  Thank you for it—  But Susan d[ear?] you must be sure and work moderately, but I am afraid you dont know what moderation is. T'will be a great pity for you to lose those "10 years younger," and the extra 19 lbs. If you work at all, you will see so much to do, that you wont stop for yourself. Suffrage is sure to come to women, God will wait for it, and so may you, working only when you can, in justice to yourself.
You are in debt too, for Aunt Fanny, & the tracts—  Well if your plan adopted at Saratoga, does not help you out (I mean that of writing to Gerrit Smith & others able & willing to make offerings to the cause) I will try and send you something tho' my lectures have paid very little this winter comparatively—  I am glad Aunt F. has done so well,— hope she has got procured "lots" of subscribers petitioners—
I hope you will not have another meeting at Albany when they are presented—  It seems to me, that the cause will gain just as much—  Our labor is not with the Legislators, but with those who make legislators—
I gave three lectures in Hamilton Ohio, last week, and set petitions for suffrage, in brisk circulation—  Mrs. Swift[1] will do something at it, so much at least, as to get them before the assembly— and the newspapers will tell of it, and people will talk & think, and that will be this year's gain—  Somewhere in the future the full equality awaits us—
I feel very proud of Mrs. Stanton's letter to Gerrit Smith— [2]  She is so strong and noble! If the Una ever goes out, when we have a new paper Mrs. Stanton must be editor. Gerrit Smith's letter, in some respects is unworthy of him—  He had the blues when he wrote it—  He puts effect for cause—  Our dress is a consequence of our being what we are. When woman in her essential self, is larger than her dress— it will take the proper dimensions—  I understand all that you feel about resuming the long skirts—  We ought to have been richer than to do it, but I go every now and then, a long walk in the short skirt, and hope to keep up the habit—  When we go from here, to a little retired home, I am going to wear trowsers & jacket for work, at home, "See if I dont"—  I cant write my tract until it gets warmer—  The thermometer at noon, is 10 degrees below zero. All my ideas are froze— you will have to wait—  Tell Aunt F. that I accept her love, as large as a turnip, but that does not answer my long letter from Wisconsin—  Is your anti slavery course of lectures doing well?[3] Douglass has not had so much sense in his paper since it started, as was in Mrs. Stanton's letter—  Is'nt it fine to see how our northern men vote for Banks?[4] What a good speech Phillips made at Plymouth![5] With much love

Lucy Stone

[in margin on first page] My husband would send love, but he is down at the store—  I wish you had a good husband too—  It is a great blessing
ALS, Blackwell Papers, DLC. Bracketed letters obscured by ink blot.
    [1.] The History of Woman Suffrage gives her name as Adeline T. Swift, when quoting from coverage of the national convention at Cincinnati in 1855 and describing Ohio's campaign for woman's rights in the winter of 1860 and 1861. A different Mrs. Swift, Sarah F. Swift, took part in the Ohio movement in 1850 and 1851. In 1857 women's petitions produced modest results; a new law regarding married women's rights passed early in the year. (History, 1:164, 168; The Woman's Rights Almanac For 1858 [Worcester, Mass., n.d.], 8-13, 16-17 ; Warbasse, Changing Legal Rights of Married Women, 265-66.)
    [2.] In his long, rambling, and, as ECS noted, despondent letter, Gerrit Smith explained "why I have so little faith in" the woman's rights movement. "[I]t is not in the proper hands; and . . . the proper hands are not yet to be found." To achieve woman's independence would be the most difficult of all reforms. Yet "the mass of women" were "content in their helplessness and poverty and destitution of rights," while their leaders donned "a dress, which imprisons and cripples them," "that both marks and makes their impotence." Smith conceded "that the dress of woman is not the primal cause of her helplessness and degradation." It was, however, "the outgrowth and symbol" of "false doctrines and sentiments"; if women would reject their irrational costume, they could present themselves to men as equals. In a public letter to Smith, ECS responded that only one who had never personally experienced the "degradation of women" could "suppose the mass of women contented," and asserted that women themselves had faith in their ability "to accomplish a final triumph over all adverse surroundings." She agreed that woman's dress was "a badge of degradation," but argued that "a true marriage relation has far more to do with the elevation of woman than the style and cut of her dress." (G. Smith to ECS, 1 December 1855, and ECS to G. Smith, 21 December 1855, Film, 8:323-26, 330-31; also in History, 1:836-42.)
    [3.] SBA organized a course of lectures during the winter that brought William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker, and Wendell Phillips to Corinthian Hall. (SBA to Amy K. Post, 1 October 1855, and W. L. Garrison to SBA, 1 March 1856, Film, 8:290-93, 385-88; History, 1:666; Anthony, 1:135, 140, 142; Garrison, Letters, 4:380-81.)
    [4.] In the Thirty-fourth Congress, election of the Speaker of the House became a contest over slavery, when Nathaniel Prentiss Banks declared repeal of the Missouri Compromise an act of dishonor and galvanized southern opposition. After 132 ballots Banks became Speaker in early February. President of the Massachusetts constitutional convention in 1853, Banks (1816-1894) was elected to Congress the same year and became governor in 1858. During the Civil War, he was a major general of volunteers in the Union army and returned to Congress in 1865. (Biographical Dictionary of the American Congress, 1774-1971; Dictionary of American Biography; History, 3:9-10.)
    [5.] At the Pilgrim Society's dinner in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on 21 December. (Liberator, 28 December 1855.)