Woman's Rights Convention, New York City, May 10, 1866 including Address to Congress adopted by the Convention

The first Women's Rights Convention* after the war was held in the Church of the Puritans, New York, May 10th, 1866.

As the same persons were identified with the Anti-slavery and Woman's Rights Societies, and as by the Proclamation of Emancipation the colored man was now a freeman, and a citizen; and as bills were pending in Congress to secure him in the right of suffrage, the same right women were demanding, it was proposed to merge the societies into one, under the name of "The American Equal Rights Association," that the same conventions, appeals, and petitions might include both classes of disfranchised citizens. The proposition was approved by the majority of those present, and the new organization completed at an adjourned session. Though Mr. Garrison, with many other abolitionists, feeling that the Antislavery work was finished, had retired, and thus partly disorganized that Society, yet, in its executive session, Wendell Phillips, President, refused to entertain the proposition, on the ground that such action required an amendment to the constitution, which could not be made without three months previous notice. Nevertheless there was a marked division of opinion among the anti-slavery friends present.

At an early hour Dr. Cheever's church was well filled with an audience chiefly of ladies, who received the officers and speakers* of the Convention with hearty applause. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, President of the "National Woman's Rights Committee," called the Convention to order, and said:

We have assembled to-day to discuss the right and duty of women to claim and use the ballot. Now in the reconstruction is the opportunity, perhaps for the century, t base our government on the broad principle of equal rights for all. The representative women of the nation feel that they have an interest and duty equal with man in the struggles and triumphs of this hour.

CALL FOR THE ELEVENTH NATIONAL Woman's RIGHTS Convention-The Convention will be held in the City of New York, at the Church of the Puritans, Union Square, on Thursday, the 10th of May, 1866, at 10 o'clock. Addresses will be delivered by ERNESTINE L. ROSE, FRANCES D. GAGE, WENDELL PHILLIPS, THEODORE TILTON, ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, and (probably) LUCRETIA MOTT and ANNA E. Dickinson

Those who tell us the republican idea is a failure do not see the deep gulf between our broad theory and partial legislation; do not see that our Government for the last century has been but the repetition of the old experiments of class and caste. Hence, the failure is not in the principle, but in the lack of virtue of our part to apply it. The question now is do we have the wisdom and conscience, from the present upheavings of our political system, to reconstruct a government on the one enduring basis hat has never yet been tried -- EQUAL RIGHTS TO ALL

From the proposed class legislation in Congress, it is evident we have not yet learned wisdom from the experience of the past; for, while our representatives at Washington are discussing the right of suffrage for the black man, as the only protection to life, liberty and happiness, they deny that "necessity of citizenship" to woman, by proposing to introduce that word "male" into the Federal Constitution. In securing suffrage but to a another shade of manhood, we disfranchise fifteen million tax-payers, we come not one line nearer the republican ideal. Can a ballot In the hand of woman, and dignity on her brow, more unsex her than a scepter and a crown? Shall an American Congress pay less honor to the daughter of a President than a British Parliament to the daughter of a King? Should not our petitions command as respectful a hearing in a republican Senate as a speech of Victoria in the House of Lords ? Do we not claim that here all men and women are nobles - all heirs apparent to the throne ? The fact that this backward legislation has roused so little thought or protest from the women of the country but proves what some of our ablest thinkers have already declared that the greatest barrier to a government of equality was the aristocracy of its women. For, while woman holds an ideal position above man and the work of life, poorly imitating the pomp, heraldry, and distinction of an effete European civilization, we as a nation can never realize the divine idea of equality.

To build a true republic, the church and the honne must undergo the same we now see in the State ;-for, while our egotism, selfishness, luxury and ease are baptised in the name of 'Him whose life was a sacrifice, - while at the family altar we are taught to worship wealth, power and position, rather than humanity, it is vain to talk of a republican government: -- The fair fruits of liberty, equality and fraternity must be blighted in the bud, til cherished in the heart of woman. At this hour the nation need& and inspiration of a true womanhood infused into every vein and artery of its life; and, woman needs a broader. deeper education, such as pure religion and lofty patriotism alone can give. From the baptism of this second revolution should she not rise up with new strength and dignity, clothed in all those " rights, privileges and immunities" that shall best enable her to fulfill her highest duties to Humanity, her Country, her Family and Herself?

On behalf of the National Woman's Rights Central Committee,
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, President
SUSAN B. ANTHONY, Secretary.

New York (48 Beekman street), March 31, 1866.

It may not be known to all of you that, during the past year, thousands of petitions, asking the ballot for woman, have been circulated through the Northern States and sent to Congress. Once thanks are due to the Hon. James Brooks for his kindness in franking our petitions, and his skill in calling to them the attention of the nation. As we have lost this champion in the House, I trust his more fortunate successor will not dodge his responsibilities to his country women who are taxed but not re- presented. This should be a year of great activity among the women of this State. As New York is to have a constitutional convention in'67, it behooves us now to make an earnest demand, by appeals and petitions, to have the word " male" as well as " white " stricken from our Consti- tution.

SUSAN B. ANTHONY, presented several resolutions for consideration.

5. Resolved, That disfranchisement in a republic is as great an anomaly. If not cruelty, as slavery Itself. It is, therefore, the solemn duty Of Congress, in "guaranteeing a republican form of government to ever State of this Union," to see that there be no abridgement of suffrage among persons responsible to law, on account of color or sex.

6. Resolved, that the Joint Resolution and report of the " Committee of Fifteen" now before Congress, to introduce the word "male" into the Federal Constitution, are a desecration of the last will and testament of the Fathers, a violation of the spirit of republicanism, and cruel injustice to the women of this nation.

7. Resolved, That while we return our thanks to those members of Congress who, recognizing the sacred right of petition, gave our prayer for the ballot a respectful consideration, we also remind those who, with scornful silence laid them on the table, or with flippant sentImentality pretended to exalt us to the clouds, above man, the ballot and the work of life, that we consider no position more dignified and womanly than on an even platform with man worthy to lay the coner-stone of a republic In equality and justice.

8. Resolved, That we recommend to the women of the several States to petition their Legislatures to take the necessary steps to so amend their Legislatures to take the necessary steps to so amend their constitutions as to secure the right of suffrage to every citizen, without distinction of race, color or sex; and especially in those States that are soon to hold their constitutional conventions.

* Ernestine L. Rose, Wendell Phillips, John T. Sargeant, 0. B. Frothingham, Frances D. Gage, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Theodore Tilton, Lucretia Mott, Martha C. Wright, Stephen S. and Abbey Kelley Foster, Margaret Winchester and Parker Pillsbury.