restricted access Fifteenth Street Meeting, New York City, November 11, 1866
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Fifteenth Street Meeting, 1866 153 fully says that “man tells woman that obscurity is her true glory, insignificance her distinction, ignorance her law, and passive obedience the perfection of her nature,” and proceeds to state the effect of this erroneous and vicious teaching on the mind and powers of woman.7 Young women of America, I want you to make yourselves acquainted with the history of the Woman’s Rights movement, from the days of Mary Wollstonecraft.8 All honor to Mary Wollstonecraft. Her name was cast out as evil, even as that of Jesus was cast out as evil, and as those of the apostles were cast out as evil; but her name shall yet go forth and stand as the pioneer of this movement. I want to note the progress of this cause, and know now that Woman’s redemption is at hand, yea, even at the doors. (Applause.) PD Proceedings of the Eleventh National Woman’s Rights Convention (New York: Robert J. Johnston, 1866), 49–52, WASM 1. Stephen S. Foster proposed adjourning in order to “perfect an organization, and take such further measures for the prosecution of our cause as may then and there be deemed expedient” (Proceedings, 49). 2. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825–1911) was an African American orator and writer active in the antislavery, women’s rights, and temperance movements. 3. At the Eleventh National Woman’s Rights Convention, Stanton served as president; Frances Dana Gage (1808–84), an activist and author from Ohio, spoke on women’s gains in “Civil Rights” at the state level (Proceedings, 5, 43–44). 4. In her address, Stanton asked, “With such minds as Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, Garth Wilkinson, Victor Hugo, Ruskin and Mazzini, all writing up the dignity of man and Republican institutions, showing how order and beauty may come out of this confusion, and all alike pointing to woman, shall not woman herself put on a new virtue, dignity and courage, to meet the responsibilities the best minds of the age now press on her conscience?” (Proceedings, 13). Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) included a chapter on “The Rights of Women” in his Social Statics; or, the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified, and the First of Them Developed (London: John Chapman, 1851). As a Member of Parliament, John Stuart Mill advocated for women’s suffrage in 1866 and 1867 (Gordon, 2:70). Historian Henry Buckle (1821–62) delivered “The Influence of Women on the Progress of Knowledge” in 1858 (Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country [April 1858], 395–407). 5. Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904) was an Anglo-Irish writer and reformer. 6. Rosa Bonheur (1822–99) was a French artist. 7. This quote is from Woman and Her Master (London: Harry Colburn, 1840), published by Sydney Owenson (1783–1859) under her married name Lady Morgan. 8. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97) was the English author of Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Fifteenth Street Meeting, New York City, November 11, 1866 “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him.” Those who can thus, in silence, feel after and find Him who is not far from every one of us—for, as saith the apostle, “in Him, we live, and move, and have our being”— those need not make the harmony of sweet sounds to attune the heart to praise, 154 Fifteenth Street Meeting, 1866 melody, and thanksgiving; but, in this nearness of approach unto Him, they can feel with the psalmist, that they love His law, and it is their meditation both day and night. Now, this is a reality: it is no fancied mount of transfiguration, but it is an experience in which the desire is often felt: “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” The worship in spirit and in truth is the worship that is called for at our hands. It is a great privilege we have, it is true, to enter His courts with thanksgiving, and into His gates with praise, to acknowledge that the Lord is good, His mercy everlasting, and His truth enduring to all generations. But the worship which is required of us, is the active use of all our God-given powers, all our faculties, our intellectual as well as our nobler spiritual gifts. All these consecrated to God, to truth, to righteousness, to humanity, and acts in accordance with such consecration , constitute the worship which is needed, and very different from mere Sunday worship paid in...