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possibility of man's being “jostled," or woman's being insulted, at the polls. Are men jostled at the church door, at the theatre entrance, or at the ticket office ? Or are women insulted there? Is there any more chance of jostling or insulting at the polls than at any of these places ? On the contrary, are not the chances less at the polls than anywhere else? I refer now, of course, to this country alone. How long would it take an American public to discover that a woman with temerity enough to “jostle” a man, or a man foolish enough to insult a woman there, was grossly outraging the highest prerogative of American citizenship?
All sympathy bestowed upon women who may be told they must vote, and all talk about how very difficult it would be in this case “ to make the horse drink,” are entirely wasted. We do not tell even men in this country : “ You must vote." It is made their privilege to exercise the right of franchise. All true Americans then look upon this right as a duty which they perform with greater or less conscientiousness. Nearly all others are drawn to the polls by the wiles of the politician who needs the votes, or by the wealth of the rich who crave office and influence. It needs no very close study of human nature to predict which, under such circumstances, will perform most faithfully the patriotic duty, the woman or the man. If the woman does not come out ahead in that race, she will fall short of the just expectations of mankind, and belie her past history. The trouble with her now is that she does not clearly see what her duty demands. She occupies the position of a child who does not want to take medicine which will do her good, because it looks bad or tastes bad, and man is doing everything in his power to confirm her in the notion that her instincts and prejudices are well founded. She does not know what a power for good this ballot is. She has been so well taken care of in this country that she cannot imagine herself any better off, and is perfectly willing to think that this state of things will last forever, and that no retrogression is possible. If you invite attention to the fact of the large number of ignorant votes which go towards creating the law-making power under which she lives, her only thought apparently is the dread of coming in contact with the dirty, ignorant casters of those votes when she may be called upon to go to the polls; and in this thought she is industriously encouraged by political man,
who does not desire to increase a class of votes which he
not be able to influence, and knows he cannot buy.
What the result would be is not quite so much a matter of conjecture as the Bishop of Albany appears to think, for the problem of woman suffrage has already been partially solved, and the solation is growing in strength day by day, as the conviction becomes forced on the community where the experiment is in process of trial, that the ballot in the hands of woman, so far from being an evil, is a positive blessing. The fear, in those communities, that a few thousand votes deposited by fallen women can hold the balance of power in an election against the many, many more thousands of women who are alive to the full importance of the franchise privilege, is no longer felt. Such fears need no longer excite the apprehensions of theorists carried away by the
enormous and awful probability of a vote that might turn the tide of an election, purchasable by the highest bidder.” Let those who entertain such apprehensions rest easy. The man who should win his election by the purchase of such a vote would be speedily relegated to the walks of private life by the votes of women whose duty it would then be doubly strong to cast them. It is rather dangerous and illogical to draw a conclusion “ through an imaginary premise,” and that is exactly the pit I fear the Bishop of Albany fell into when he declared it to be a fact " that to multiply suffrage means to multiply every kind of vote by two." Such is not the fact. Experience in woman suffrage does not show it. Our knowledge of woman nature tends to prove directly the reverse.
There is, it may safely be asserted, no one question in which women have a greater interest than that governing the sale of liquor. In the abuse of liquor no class in the world suffers as do women. Will it be contended by any one conversant with the facts that if woman is given the ballot each “kind of vote" on this question would be simply multiplied " by two”? Does not our knowledge on the subject lead us to directly the opposite conclusion ? Some years ago a crusade was started in a section of this country, by women, against liquor selling. They could not use the ballot in the question, for they did not possess it, and the men voters who (mis)represented them did not agree with them in their views. They therefore adopted a novel plan and proceeded to organize a campaign of prayer against the evil.
Did it succeed ? No. Every kind of ridicule was thrown upon the scheme, and the touching appeals to the Lord of Hosts were met by jeers, hootings, and derision.
Passing through a Western town at the time, I witnessed a sight which went far towards convincing me of the justice of the cause of woman suffrage. Near the depot where the train stopped I was startled at the sight of a group of women quietly kneeling in front of a liquor saloon, and evidently engaged in offering up a prayer in accordance with the resolutions they had formed to try and abate & nuisance which directly affected them, their husbands, brothers, and sons.
Perhaps they ought not to have been there. Perhaps that was not the way to bring about a reform. But it was the way they had concluded to try, and their method was entitled to a decent respect, even if none was felt by their chivalric representatives for the Power to whom their appeal was made.
The scene was a singular and novel one : the group of silent kneeling women; the lounging liquor-dealers looking on placidly from the doors and windows, and the crowd of men and boys gazing on. Suddenly the silence was broken by the sound of music approaching, and in a few moments a brass band, surrounded by a noisy rabble of boys, came sweeping round the corner of the street, halting close to the kneeling women. The band continued to play a loud, rollicking air, which drowned every other sound, as our train pulled out of the station.
The band, I presume, had a right to be in the street. It had a right also to play
" We'll never get drunk any more," or any other roistering tune its leader chose. But the outrage was none the less a great one, and one which never could or would have been perpetrated if these kneeling women and their sisters had possessed the right of franchise. Surely it will not be claimed by anybody that this is a case where chivalric representation would be of any service, or where, if the ballot were given to women, the prohibition or temperance vote would be simply multiplied by two."
In this matter of the franchise, if justice is the aim, why should we bestow the ballot upon ignorance and deny it to intelligence ?
Why bestow it upon one who, in this nineteenth century, proclaims, in the face of all evidence to the contrary,
that the sun revolves about the earth, because he is a man, and refuse it to one whose burning words in the cause of freedom have been translated into every living language on the face of the earth, because she is a woman?
When the war closed, many millions of men and women were made free. In order to enable them to protect their freedom, it was deemed necessary to place the ballot in the hands of the freemen.
It did not apparently matter so much about the women ; because, it is presumed, it was thought they could protect themselves or could lean upon the chivalry of the men. With all the power of the United States to back up the government, the black man had still for his protection to be endowed with the ballot. The women could get along without it, because they were women, The only qualifications were that the voter should be of age-and & man. It would have been well to add another qualificationthat he should be able to read and write.
The next time we extend the suffrage it is to be hoped we will not repeat the same mistake, but bestow on women who can read and write the right to cast a ballot. Once in possession of the franchise, it would be strange, indeed, if she did not make a better use of it than ignorance and degradation have ever succeeded in doing.
That the day for the enfranchisement of women in this country is coming cannot be doubted by any one capable of reading the very apparent signs which have been shown for some years past. One of the most remarkable of these signs is the desperate struggle those opposed to woman suffrage are making to prevent its accomplishment. Desperate struggles are not made against attacks less formidable and persistent than those which have been waged so long in favor of placing woman on the same legal level with man, by putting in her hand the only weapon competent for her protection. These attacks in favor of the right of franchise have been varied in their success, but as a whole the advance has been marked and such as to excite the apprehension of the opponents of the measure, who are driven to forecast all sorts of imaginary evils as sure to follow the inauguration of this new and “antried” system of voting.
JOHN GIBBON. VOL. CLXIII.-NO. 476. 7
SOUND MONEY THE SAFEGUARD OF LABOR.
BY THE HON. ROWLAND B. MAHANY.
The aavocates of silver iterate and reiterate one cry—that gold is the money of the bankers, but silver is the money of the people.
This misleading declaration is cunningly advanced to distort into an argument for silver the fact that, even when the metals circulate at a parity—that is, on an equality of values the gold coins being in the main of larger denominatious (usually five and ten dollar pieces), the silver dollars have a greater currency among the people, simply because of greater convenience in the making of change or the settlement of small transactions. This convenience becomes at once a secondary consideration when the value or purchasing power of silver is impaired.
This government is now on a gold basis; that is to say, the nation stands pledged to redeem all its debts or obligations in gold. This is not the result of arbitrary legislation on our part, but a necessity imposed by the demands of trade and commerce. Foreign purchasers of American products pay in gold, and foreign creditors demand settlements in the same metal.
How would the free and unlimited coinage of silver at the ratio of sixteen to one affect our business, and especially our industrial conditions ?
The advocates of silver ask the government of the United States to declare by law that sixteen ounces of silver are equal to one ounce of gold ; whereas it takes in the neighborhood of thirty-one ounces of silver to purchase an ounce of gold in any market of the world, American or European. We are, then, to discard our present gold standard, recognized and honored in every business center on earth, and to adopt a fiat standard, recognized nowhere at its stamped value, not even among ourselves.
Who would be the chief sufferer by such a policy?