Cherry Street Meeting, Philadelphia, March 31, 1850
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Cherry Street Meeting, 1850 81 13. For some Americans and Europeans, the violence of the Terror served as an example that equality must have limits. In his lecture, Dana stated that the French Revolution had produced “political rights for women in common with men . . . an infidel spirit . . . [that] is alive again” (“Woman,” 3). 14. Henry Peter Brougham, Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778–1868), British reformer. LM had first met the British author Harriet Martineau (1802–76) in 1836, when Martineau toured the United States. Martineau’s Society in America was published in 1837. 15. LM quotes from Introduction to American Law by Judge Timothy Walker (1806– 56), published in 1837 (235, 236, 244, 245). 16. Elisha Powell Hurlbut (1807–89), Essays on Human Rights and Their Political Guaranties with additions from George Combe (1845, 1848, 1853). William Blackstone’s compilation of the English common law held that husband and wife were “one person in law” and that person was the husband. Hurlbut was elected a judge of New York’s Supreme Court in 1847. He rejected English common law in favor of inalienable individual rights. His radical reading of legal history, influenced by phrenology, significantly influenced the arguments of woman’s rights advocates. See Gordon, 1:86. 17. The 1848 Married Woman’s Property Act in New York allowed married women to retain any real and personal property that they owned before marriage and to keep any gifts to them thereafter. Pennsylvania followed in April 1848, with a similar law (Gordon, 1:68; Palmer, 239). 18. In England women often worked sixteen hours a day for only a few shillings per week. In France, the socialist Robert Dale Owen wrote approvingly that women worked in offices, omnibuses, dry goods stores, and post offices (“The Needle Women of London,” The World We Live In, August 3, 1844, 116; “Situation of Women in France,” The Beacon, February 25, 1843, 113). 19. William Peter (1788–1853) was the husband of Sarah Worthington Peter, who was active in women’s education in Philadelphia (Palmer, 226). 20. Episcopal bishop Alonzo Potter of Philadelphia (1800–1865). See note 7, above, regarding the October convention. 21. In January Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) had received her M.D. from Geneva Medical College in New York. 22. Quoted verbatim from Nathaniel Parker Willis, “Minute Philosophies,” in Inklings of Adventure (1836), 2:236. Cherry Street Meeting, Philadelphia, March 31, 1850 Whene’er I take my walks abroad How many poor I see, What shall I render to my God For all his gifts to me. Not more than others I deserve, Yet God has given me more; For I have food while others starve Or beg from door to door. How many children in the street Half naked I behold, While I am clothed from head to feet, And covered from the cold. 82 Cherry Street Meeting, 1850 While some poor creatures scarce can tell, Where they may lay their head, I have a home wherein to dwell, And rest upon my bed. While others early learn to swear And curse, and lie, and steal, Lord I am taught thy name to fear, And do thy holy will. Are these thy favours day by day To me above the rest. Then let me love thee more than they And try to serve thee best. This poetic hymn composed by Watts and committed to memory by many a child contains but the idea that is inculcated in the religious training of most of the children of the age.1 It is the kind of praise and thanksgiving which are offered from most of the pulpits not only in Christendom but we may safely presume in the world. How far such thanksgiving and such language is befitting us, how far it is in accordance with the more enlightened revelations of truth and justice it is for us to consider. This morning as I took my seat at our breakfast table with only my husband present, I remarked that I did not know that we need pause long for the spirit of thanksgiving, that my heart and soul were poured out in Figure 5. Cherry Street Meetinghouse, built 1828. (Courtesy of the Friends Historical Library , Swarthmore College) Cherry Street Meeting, 1850 83 daily continued thanksgiving and praise for blessings and enjoyments; but that I could not feel that it would be right to return thanks for anything like peculiar blessings or special favors; for indeed my heart at times smote me with the...