The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


SBA to Martha Coffin Wright

Dear Mrs. Wright

It is determined to hold a series of Anti-Slavery Conventions in New York during January— and that Auburn shall be one point of attack— [1]
The speakers to be Parker Pillsbury, A. M. Powell, Marius R. Robinson[2]— (and S. B. Anthony Door Keeper in the house of the Lord)—  Now what say you—  Can Auburn be moved by such a host of the valiant soldiers of the Cross—
But to the business— Thurs. & Frid. Jan. 12, 13 are the days I have appropriated to Auburn—  The meetings to be p.m.'s and Evenings at 2 and 7 Oclock—  If you can get the Court House, would it not be well— or is the best Hall, the best place—  I leave the matter to your judgement—  I would like to make the expenses as small as may be— and still serve the best interests of the cause— secure the greatest numbers of people—
So soon as you have secured Hall & let me know, I will send you form of notice for papers— then I will get all the Bills struck off here & Express them those for Auburn to you— the expense will be much less—  I think to make the watchword of the Conventions and the bills— The Irresistible Conflict— [3]
If there is serious objection to those days & evenings— let me know forthwith and I will try and arrange for other days— still those will be most convenient—
Let me know name of Hall, and all your thought by earliest moment— [4]  Truly yours

S. B. Anthony

[P.S.]
I was at the Union meeting last night—[5]  It was the richest scene imaginable— all their patriotism turned to Republican Capital—  and the whole was capital—  The poorest, coldest comfort did the Union savers get, poor fellows—  Just three women there— in company with Parker Pillsbury—
ALS, Garrison Papers, MNS-S.
    [1.] The meetings marked resumption of campaigning for a personal liberty law. Named to the State Personal Liberty Committee earlier in the fall, SBA organized and spoke in the tour that began at Lockport on 5 January 1860, continued eastward to arrive at Albany for the state antislavery meeting on 30 January, and resumed in February and March. (Film, 9:513-14, 517-20; Liberator, 18 November 1859.)
    [2.] Marius Racine Robinson (1806-1878) was a Lane Seminary student who withdrew in 1834 and stayed in Ohio. He taught classes for African Americans in Cincinnati, helped James Birney edit the Philanthropist, lectured for the American Anti-Slavery Society, and in 1851 took over as editor of the Anti-Slavery Bugle. He married Emily Rakestraw, a fellow teacher, in 1836, and she shared the editorial duties at the Bugle. She was active in Ohio's woman's rights movement. He retired from the paper early in 1859. (Garrison, Letters, 4:164n; Nye, "Marius Robinson,"138-54 .)
    [3.] Intentionally or not, SBA altered the memorable words of William Seward's speech in October 1858, the "Irrepressible Conflict."
    [4.] Martha Wright booked Corning Hall in Auburn for the dates SBA requested. (M. C. Wright to SBA, 31 December 1859, Film, 9:429-31.)
    [5.] On October 16, 1859, John Brown (1800-1859) and his small army of abolitionists, financed by prominent abolitionists like Gerrit Smith, seized the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia with the goal of liberating and arming slaves. Brown was defeated and captured by the United States Cavalry two days later and tried and executed by the state of Virginia for murder, treason, and conspiracy on December 2, 1859. Following this raid, Northern moderates convened "Union meetings" in many cities to demonstrate their opposition to extremism and disunionism and reassure the South. (Potter, Impending Crisis, 380-81; Rochester Union and Advertiser, 29 December 1859.)