restricted access Women’s Rights Convention, City Hall, Syracuse, New York, September 8–10, 1852
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syracuse wr convention, 1852 95 1. LM here addressed the seventh resolution, which stated that in “demanding” equality with men, women did not seek “separate advantages, or in any apprehension of conflicting interests between the sexes” (Proceedings, 31). 2. Quaker minister Joseph Dugdale (1810–96) urged husbands to write wills leaving all property to the surviving wives, and as an example quoted the will of Martin Luther (1483–1546). Luther wrote that he was leaving his estate to Katharina von Bora Luther (1499–1552) because “‘she has always conducted herself towards me, lovingly, worthily and beautifully, like a pious, faithful and noble wife’” (Proceedings, 27). 3. Writing LM on June 20, 1840, Irish Member of Parliament (Whig) Daniel O’Connell (1775–1847) stated that the convention’s fear of ridicule “was an unworthy, and indeed, a cowardly motive” and praised the prominent role of American women in the antislavery movement (Palmer, 77–78). 4. The letter of British reformer John Bowring (1792–1872) to WLG had been published in the December 25, 1840, Liberator (Palmer, 237). 5. LM served as vice-president of the women’s rights convention in Worcester in October 1851. “The Enfranchisement of Women” by the British writer Harriet Taylor Mill (1807–58) praised the work of the 1850 Worcester convention and stated that women were indeed the intellectual equals of men (Westminster Review, July 1851, reprinted in New York Tribune, July 18, 1851; see Palmer, 209). The convention adopted, along with others, the seventh resolution (Proceedings, 31). Women’s Rights Convention, City Hall, Syracuse, New York, September 8–10, 1852 [September 8, Morning Session] As the question on the adoption of the report was about being put, Mrs. MOTT arose and stated, that as there might be objections to her appointment, she desired that the vote on each officer might be taken separately. The Chairman (Mrs. [Paulina Wright] DAVIS) put the question accordingly, and the entire audience, with the exception of her husband [JM], voted that Mrs. MOTT should preside. The President and other officers, who also were unanimously elected, having taken their seats, the President remarked, that she was unpractised in parliamentary proceedings, shrinking ever from such positions, and was therefore quite unprepared for anything like a suitable speech. She invoked, however, great and heartfelt attention to the business before them, dispensing with all egotism or self-display. She referred also to the success that had attended this movement in the past—to the respect with which the press had spoken of our proceedings —and the favor of the public generally. She suggested some things, relative to the proprieties of the present meeting—its business, &c. She said, let it not be supposed, because certain preliminaries had been entered into, that therefore the entire responsibility rested upon a few—but enjoined upon all to take their liberty, and each to feel free to act as moved by his, or her, present convictions. * * * * Mrs. MOTT thought differently from Mrs. N., that woman’s moral feelings were more elevated than man’s.1 She thought that with the same opportunities for development, there would probably be about an equal manifestation of virtue. 96 syracuse wr convention, 1852 [September 8, Afternoon Session] E. OAKES SMITH2 presented the following Resolution, offered by LUCRETIA MOTT: Resolved, That as the imbruted slave, who is content with his own lot, and would not be free if he could, if any such there be, only gives evidence of the depth of his degradation—so the woman who is satisfied with her inferior condition, averring that she has all the rights that she wants, does but exhibit the enervating effects of the wrongs to which she is subjected. The above was laid on the table, for further consideration. [September 8, Evening Session] LUCRETIA MOTT took the stand, and spoke at considerable length. She cited several examples to prove that women were equal in strength to men and superior in industry. It was impossible, she said, for one man to have arbitrary power over another, without becoming despotic. She did not expect our friend to see how woman is robbed. Women were to feel it. Slave-owners did not perceive themselves oppressors , but slaves did. GERRIT SMITH alluded to one woman, whom our friend would call out of her sphere.3 If he believes in the Bible, he must acknowledge that Deborah, a mother in Israel, arose by divine command and led the armies of Israel. She also referred to the wife of Heber, the Kenite, who...