restricted access Yardleyville, Pennsylvania, September 26, 1858
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Yardleyville, Pennsylvania, 1858 127 1. Lucy Stone considered the event as a “day of congratulations.” She recounted the advances in women’s property rights in the New England states, New York, and the Midwestern states in such a short time (Proceedings, 4–5). 2. Ernestine Rose later spoke on this topic (Proceedings, 35). 3. Along with John Stuart Mill (1806–73), the novelist George Eliot (1819–80) served as assistant editor of the Review. 4. In a letter to LM of June 20, 1840, O’Connell had stated these privileges (Pennsylvania Freeman, September 17, 1840). William Howitt (1792–1879), a British Quaker, had written to WLG that the exclusion of women at the 1840 London Convention because they were considered “heretics” contradicted Quaker doctrine (Palmer, 236–37). 5. Stone stated that Lord Henry Brougham had presented a petition to Parliament signed by Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Harriet Martineau, among others. The date was March 1856 (Proceedings, 6; Gordon, 1:371). 6. LM may have meant the works by Richard Edgeworth (1744–1817), which his daughter, the British novelist Maria Edgeworth (1767–1849), had helped write: Practical Education (1798) and Professional Education (1809). Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent was published anonymously in 1800, but she soon acknowledged authorship (Elizabeth Harden, Maria Edgeworth [Boston: Twayne, 1984], 24, 95). 7. A young man identified as Mr. Leftwich, a theological student from Virginia, queried whether the women’s rights claimed in this convention “were founded on Nature or Revelation.” He stated that the “test” of a claim must be “its universality” and women’s rights did not pass this test. “Woman was not fitted for the pulpit, the rostrum, or the law court,” he contended. “God gave her a mild, sweet voice, fitted for the parlor . . . let her be content with the holy and beautiful position assigned to her by her Maker” (Proceedings , 36–39). 8. Catharine Beecher’s father was the Presbyterian minister Lyman Beecher (1775– 1863). 9. The convention passed the resolution unanimously (Proceedings, 84; see also Faulkner, 157; Palmer, 254–55). Yardleyville, Pennsylvania, September 26, 18581 ‘The kingdom of God is within us,’ and Christianity will not have performed its office in the earth until its professors have learned to respect the rights and privileges of conscience, by a toleration without limit, a faith without contention. This is the testimony of one of the modern writers.2 And have we not evidence, both from our own religious records, and those of all the worshippers of all ages, that there has been this divine teaching acknowledged, in some way or another— that there is a religious instinct in the constitution of man, and that, according to the circumstances of his birth, of his education, of his exercise of his free agency, has this religious essence grown, and brought forth similar fruits, in every age of the world, among all peoples? This has been likened, by various figures, emblems, parables, to things without us and around us. It has been variously interpreted, variously explained; for no nation has a spiritual language, exclusively such. We must therefore speak of our spiritual experiences in language having reference to spiritual things. And we find this has been the case, especially in the records of the Jews, the scriptures of Israel, and what are called ‘Christian scriptures.’ They abound in emblems and parables. 128 Yardleyville, Pennsylvania, 1858 This divine illumination is called ‘the spirit.’ It is said that ‘God breathed into man life,’ a spirit, his ‘own image,’ which is spiritual, and he became a living soul. The after writers acknowledge this divine spirit —‘Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct us.’ An idea has prevailed that the immortality of this spirit was not understood till about eighteen hundred years ago; but if we read the old scriptures intelligently, we shall find the acknowledgment of its eternity, as well as its divine nature. ‘Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.’ And these same writers, even though they were very much clouded, and the clearness of their views obscured by traditions, so that when Jesus came among them, he said, ‘they made the word of God of none effect by their traditions ’; yet, the far-seeing among them acknowledged that these obscurities must pass away, and that the time should come when the divine light should be more clearly understood, ‘when thou shalt hear a voice behind thee saying, This...